She’s 70 years old, has a hull made of oregon and will arrive in Hobart a day or several after the likes of Ichi Ban and Wild Oats.
But don’t underestimate the classic yacht Solveig, a Halvorsen 36 footer. She has form, having been built by Lars Halvorsen (more famous for motor launches) for his sons Trygve and Magnus Halvorsen. They first raced her to Hobart in 1950 for fifth overall, came sixth in 1951 and eighth in 1952. She took line honours in 1953 for second overall and won the race in 1954.
The boat returned to these shores from Hawaii two years ago and is now owned by Sydney yachtswoman Annie Lawrence, of West Pymble, who has 15 Sydney Hobarts behind her, six as navigator. Lawrence, navigating, and skipper husband John Whitfeld have returned Solveig to offshore racing capability.
She says: “The problem I have with this boat is that she is a big unknown. Normally you get on a boat and open the navigation software, tell it what sort of boat you are on and it will predict where you are going to be down the track in three days given the weather forecast. It’s very hard to run the software when you don’t know the boat’s performance.”