Rolex Sydney Hobart - Loyal’s victory secret revealed

Peter ’Billy’ Merrington - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2011
Talking with Investec Loyal’s boat captain and crew boss Peter 'Billy' Merrington aboard the boat, moments after the International Jury dismissed the protest and I’m asking Billy what were the winning moves.

He starts to explain that it was a year’s worth of planning to make sure that they had the right skills for each phase of the race.


Firstly their full-bore heavy weather ocean racing experts kept the boat fast and in touch with Wild Oats XI through the tough phases of Bass Strait.

Then as the breeze died away the handover came to the brains trust, in navigator Stan Honey and tactician Michael Coxon, to negotiate some very tricky light airs to get ahead of Wild Oats.

Then finally when they had the advantage the America’s Cup specialists coming forward to manage the boat-on-boat racing across Storm Bay and up the river to seal victory.

So there you have it, the perfect team for a perfect result.

Until Billy’s phone rings and then the real secret weapon is revealed.

It’s Billy’s young daughter Tamsin, and she and Dad are clearly of the one mind, 'Yes, you’re right, it was the lucky elephant' Billy tells his daughter with a big smile on his face, referring to a tiny timber elephant that his daughter had bought at a $2 shop and handed to him on Boxing Day morning to take with him.

Victory can hang on such thin threads!