Keepit sailor lives her dream

LAKE Keepit Sailing Club member Denise Bruschweiler has achieved a lifelong dream, having competed in the 2012 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

The 57-year-old was over the moon to have completed the race and says her fellow crew members were fantastic.

The experience was "absolutely amazing", she said.

But she doesn't know if she'd ever do another Sydney-to-Hobart race.

"As I said, crew dynamics and the weather (were brilliant) I don't know if you could top it again," Ms Bruschweiler said.

The boat she competed on, Merit, is a 60-footer owned by Airlie Beach man Leo Rodriguez.

They were 20th overall, arriving at Constitution Dock, Hobart at 1.33am on Sunday.

They came third in their handicap division, behind Brindabella and Southern Excellence.

Their crew, headed by Mr Rodriguez, numbered 16.

The maxi Wild Oats 11 won line honours for the sixth time.

Ms Bruschweiler said there was no way the 60-footers could compete with the maxis (boats of 100 feet) "with all the bells and whistles".

Ms Bruschweiler said that was a "shame" because there were some smaller boats of only 30 feet in length still out there on their way to Hobart and, really, the race was as much about the smaller boats as the expensive maxis.

One maxi had had a $1 million refit before the race, she said.

Mr Rodriguez said he was impressed with Ms Bruschweiler's performance.

"She was great she fitted in with the boys and girls really well," he said.

"It's very physically challenging; I was very happy with the result."

He said the race had "a bit of everything from light winds to strong winds".

It was the fifth time he had raced Merit in the world-famous race.

The hairiest moment for the crew, Ms Bruschweiler said, was late on Thursday afternoon when they blew out a spinnaker under a 22-knot northerly.

"We were sailing under spinnaker for quite a while and we just broached," she said.

"The spinnaker went under the water and ripped at the top.

"That was a pretty exciting moment because the boat was leaning over quite a bit."

Saturday was also another "ripping yarn" type of experience.

"For the last 16 hours (before we got to Hobart) we hit a southerly," she said.

"It was blowing about 35 knots to start with and the maximum was 50 knots; we had to tack into it; there was a four-metre swell."

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