Thursday 29 December 1994

Went to the docks with Kev at 4.15am to see Tasmania and Brindabella battle it out for line honours in the Sydney to Hobart. There was plenty of entertainment during the next 90 minutes. Various people still high from the night before staggered around. Three guys found a rubber dinghy and headed out into the drink without a paddle. Two others climbed the sled on a pile-driver. A woman with the thickest, darkest nostril hairs I've ever seen drank from a plastic bottle of whisky and dry. 'He's insured! He's insured!' she gurgled as she pointed up at her partner high on the pile-driver. Windswept children blinked at the horizon. A grandmother shivered and lit another cigarette. A blond fisherman pissed into the harbour.

Then Tasmania came through from her last tack up the Derwent, the sun came up, the crowd roared, the spectator fleet roiled through the chop, helicopters wobbled above the twitching masts and the annus horribilis of phlegmatic captain-owner Bob Clifford turned sweet at last.