When Mark Drobitko bought the green and orange yacht he will soon sail in the 628 nm Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race for the first time, he and his crew were immediately smitten.
After the Queenslander purchased the Beneteau First 40 in Southampton, England in 2016, because of its color, they thought it looked like fruit. So, they decided to name it ‘Fruit Salad’.
Trouble is, after they finished painting the name on it – albeit, over a few beers – Drobitko and his crew realized they had misspelt ‘Fruit Salad’ and had instead painted ‘Fruit Salid’.
As one of three boats he now owns, Fruit Salid 3 is what it is still named and will be seen as by all who watch the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet when it sets sail on December 26.
Drobitko, 50, laughs off the blunder. In fact, in his own words, he “owns it”. His response to anyone who calls him out on the spelling error is to say: “It’s all a bit of fun. Life is too short.”
It has even happened since his arrival at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.
“People will yell out, ‘You’ve spelt it wrong!’ And I reply: ‘Yeah … that’s right,’ and sail on.”
Fruit Salid 3 will also be one of 23 boats in the 93-strong fleet that will be sailed in the 628 nautical mile Rolex Sydney Hobart for the first time.
As for Fruit Salid 3’s potential? Drobitko is realistic but believes his crew of nine can work well to produce her very best, pending the conditions that he says, “might be right for us.
“We will closely monitor the First 40s because they are the same boat design. We’ll try do as well as we can against them,” he says. “Then we will focus on winning our division.
“It would be great to stand on the podium [in Hobart], but there are so many boats and factors in this race. There’s also a lot of professional sailors in the race too.
“We’re also mindful that it is not just the result that matters, but the journey there too.”
The 628 nm Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be the 76th edition in 2021 with a fleet of 94 boats that include three international entries. One hundred fifty seven teams set off in 2019 for the 75th edition, but since then the 2020 race was cancelled due to the pandemic and uncertainty has hovered this year.
From the start in Sydney Harbour, the fleet sails out into the Tasman Sea, down the south-east coast of mainland Australia, across Bass Strait (which divides the mainland from the island State of Tasmania), then down the east coast of Tasmania. At Tasman Island the fleet turns right into Storm Bay for the final sail up the Derwent River to the historic port city of Hobart.