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All-Hungarian crew creates history in Rolex Sydney Hobart

All-Hungarian crew creates history in Rolex Sydney Hobart
2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race CYCA © Salty Dingo 2022 Must credit Salty Dingo. © Copyright Salty Dingo 2022

All-Hungarian crew creates history in Rolex Sydney Hobart

Balint and Agoston Sipos were overcome by emotion after hearing and witnessing the applause from shore after their all-Hungarian crew finished the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race today.

As they sailed into Hobart after finishing the 628 nautical mile race, they felt like winners; not crew members of the 29th boat to finish.
As crew of the Marten 68 Cassiopeia 68, the experience of the mandatory sail-by of the Princes Wharf 1 before turning to the docks to moor was unique.
"It was something that I have never experienced before," said Balint, the crew’s navigator, after Cassiopeia 68 finished at 1:51.16pm and in 3 days 0 hours 51 minutes 16 seconds.
Cassiopeia 68 crossed the line just ahead of another international entry, the JPK 11.80 Sunrise, from Britain, which 5 minutes 1 second later was the 30th finisher in 3 days 00 hours 56 minutes 17 seconds.
Agoston elaborated on what the onshore welcome meant to him and the crew, which was also the second all-Hungarian crew to finish the Sydney Hobart.
"We knew Hobart is the sailing capital in the southern hemisphere," Agoston said. "We knew sailing is a big thing here, but arriving is an experience that is second to none.
"The public gets involved by simply having lunch, beers, and cheering the finishing boats.
"We got the cheers like we were the champions. We finished 29th which is a good result for us but we got a cheer for a champion."
For Hungarian sailing, Cassiopeia 68’s finish – no matter the result – was hugely significant.
"It was important for Kristof [Nobilis], the boat owner, to be the second Hungarian team to complete the Sydney Hobart race," said Agoston.
"There was a previous attempt, but they had some difficulties to make it to Hobart. So that makes us the first," he said of Aron Ormandlaki’s M3 Team Hungary entry, which was dismasted early in the 2018 Rolex Sydney Hobart.
Cassiopeia 68’s finish was also a major milestone for the Sipos family, added Balint.
"We have been sailing for a very long time. Sailing is a family tradition," said Balint.
"Our grandfather started to sail back at the end of the Second World War.
"As kids we started to do competitive sailing which took us to this ocean racing experience."
Today’s celebrations aside, the journey south was still a tough one for the Hungarians.
"It was an interesting race and it's definitely a big achievement for ourselves," said Agoston.
"It [the Rolex Sydney Hobart] has been on our radar for a long time, to do in this race.
"Everybody warned us that this is a difficult one… and it was. Although, after the first day and a half, we seriously questioned that because the weather was very forgiving.
"It was warm. It was downwind. It gave us some time to adjust. Then it gradually built up.
"The last days we got the real Rolex Sydney Hobart experience with the difficult side of it.
"We had light winds … too much wind. We had ice falling from the sky. We had everything."
The Hungarians even had the chance to take on the smaller Sunrise in a thrilling match race to the Derwent River, where they overcame the British entrant in the last few miles.
"Most of the boats ahead of us finished before the weather changed," Agoston said.
"We had one big transition a day ago. The cold weather also challenged us.
"Then it stopped and that brought the fleet together a little bit. Then it was stationary for a couple of hours and suddenly Sunrise showed up.
"They are a much lighter boat, so they could get speed in the light air and pass us. We were a couple of metres away for some time, then the wind went up and we got speed again."
Which all begs the question: will the Rolex Sydney Hobart rookie brothers sail in the event again?
Balint pauses and smiles before answering: "It's too early [after the finish] to ask this question. But it was a great race. I enjoyed every minute of it. So, I would say, why not?"
Agoston was equally as uncommitted about the idea of racing the Sydney Hobart again.
"It depends on the time. If you asked me 30 hours ago definitely not," he said, laughing.
Rupert Guinness/RSYR Media