Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Wild Sea Is Still Calling Me; Ocean Race Survivor Rethinks Decision to Quit

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Wild Sea Is Still Calling Me; Ocean Race Survivor Rethinks Decision to Quit

Article excerpt

Byline: By Rhodri Phillips

A YACHTSMAN whose dream of winning a solo transatlantic race ended when his boat capsized is back on dry land - and says he is not striking his colours just yet.

Ross Hobson, 46, from Kirkley, near Ponteland, Northumberland, was winning his class in the 3,500-mile Route du Rhum race when a 60-knot gust capsized his boat Ideal Stelrad in five metre waves on November 7.

The dental lecturer was forced to spend eight hours in the dark on the upturned hull, 1,750 miles off the American coast, with no way to contact the coastguard, before he was rescued by a Spanish ship.

Mr Hobson, now back in the North-East, said at the time of his rescue he was considering giving up racing, after his wife Sally, 44, and their sons Peter, 19, and Simon, 17, spent anxious hours not knowing whether he was alive or dead.

But he told The Journal last night: "Potentially I will sail again, although probably not solo across the Atlantic, because of what my wife and family had to go through.

"They are not keen for me to go single-handed again, although I would consider racing in the waters around Britain and Ireland.

"It was frustrating following the rest of the race, watching guys I know finish, when it could have been me.

"I later found out, that in the position I was in and with the wind at my back, at the time the boat capsized, I would have been ahead of my class by 300 miles within the next 48 hours. I was that close to victory."

Mr Hobson had to abandon his 45ft trimaran, after 15 years of sailing together, but he said last night if he raced again he would opt for a larger, faster model. He said: "It was an awful moment having to say goodbye and she looked after me to the end, but I had been considering getting another yacht before the Route du Rhum race.

"We achieved a lot together, but it was time to get a more modern model. The 60-footers are much faster - like a Formula 1 car. They have a presence. That is what I would be looking at. …

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