Gavin Brady on racing maxi boats

The BMW Oracle helm was on board Stewart Thwaites' Konica Minolta when she broke in the Rolex Sydney Hobart
Between Christmas and New Year Gavin Brady was taking a holiday from his normal duty as helmsman for BMW Oracle Racing duties, but the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race was perhaps a holiday too far. Here Brady describes the hours and minutes that led to the structural failure and subsequent retirement of Konica Minolta, Stewart Thwaites’ water-ballasted 98ft maxi which at the time was leading the Boxing Day run south. "Stewart and I were both laughing early on in the race that if we could get line honours this would be our last Rolex Sydney Hobart," says Brady. "We’ve both won on handicap so to win line honours would complete it, and we could spend many Christmas dinners at home. But it looks like we’re going to have come back again." The dramatic incident occurred at around 0600 on 28 December. "When it happened, I was down with Stewart at the nav station, considering if we’d gone far enough into the beach for smooth water," Brady continues. "We went over the first wave, and thought 'I hope we don’t go over any more of those', and then 30 seconds later we went over another one and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it. The bow felt like it was facing the sky and I would probably say a good part of the keel was out of the water, and then there’s that lonely five seconds before the boat lands back in the water. You just hope that you may have a soft landing, but we had a hard one. We were fortunate we didn’t break the mast. The guys did a good job of unloading the boat, but when the boat gets 30 feet in the air, with 28 tonnes, there’s no such thing as a soft landing." The landing