A Derryman was the toast of the antipodes this Christmas when he skippered the HotelPlanner.com to victory over one of the world’s most prestigious yacht racing courses in Australia.
Sailor Conall Morrison was given a standing ovation at the official Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race prize-giving after not only skippering his team to its first race victory, in the Clipper 70 Class in the race but also for taking home the ‘Most Meritorious Performance’ award for the famous event.
The 35-year-old said: “It’s an awesome feeling, like a little kid’s dream come true. The whole team worked so hard during the race and all our time put into safety has paid off. I couldn’t be prouder and it’s a credit not only to the crew on board but for the entire HotelPlanner.com team.”
Not long after setting off from Sydney on Boxing Day HotelPlanner.com went to the assistance of another boat after being informed of a man overboard.
The crew successfully retrieved the man in the water within 15 minutes. It was an action that resulted in the team being awarded the Rani Trophy, for the ‘Most Meritorious Performance’, by the Governor of Tasmania, Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AM, and the Skipper’s actions were commended by the Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, John Markos. Despite the time lost, HotelPlanner.com caught up with the Clipper Race fleet and was the tenth of eleven Clipper 70s to cross the line in Hobart after racing for 3 days, 4 hours, 31 minutes and 7 seconds, however the team emerged as the victor after redress was taken into account.