Family bonds forged on the high seas

The Wenham family have been spending their Boxing days doing exactly that.


Throwing their relationship into the deepest of ends.

It all started nearly four decades ago when Paul and his son Andrew embarked on their first Sydney to Hobart yacht race together.

Sydney to Hobart: backstage at the blue water classic

According to Andrew it was the beginning of a very special understanding and appreciation,”The long off shore racing we did together over many, many years certainly formed a strong bond. There is no doubt about that at all.”

If Andrew and Paul got so much out of their relationship forged during their 628 nautical mile adventures down south towards Constitution dock, then it was only a matter of time before Andrew tested the waters with his son David. This year will be the fourth time the new father and son pair conquer the blue water classic together.

“I think it is fantastic that we can continue to do the races together. I look forward to doing more of the races with David,’ says Andrew.

David’s Grandfather knows just how important it is to continue to harvest the love for off-shore racing, “David’s the future. We are mid-stream… Actually I am a bit up stream,” reflects Paul.

This Boxing Day departure will mark the 37-year anniversary of the first Wenham father-son journey to Constitution dock. And with David standing in to represent his grandfather the family tradition continues,  “Unfortunately Paul can’t still do a Hobart but if we win I am sure he will meet us for a wet one,” says David.

And while Wenham senior wont be Hobart-bound, he will be feeling every wave and imagining every sail change “Obviously you still want to be on it. But we enjoy watching minute by minute wherever they are,’ shares Paul.


When things get heated on board Southern Excellence II this boxing day, there wont be any special treatment for family members. Everyone on board the seventy foot carbon fiber racing machine is treated as an equal. For better or worse says skipper Andrew, “Absolutely but everything stays on the boat but as soon as you get back on dry land it is family as usual.”

David is aware that blood isn’t necessarily thicker than the water that will be lashing the deck of Southern Excellence II in Bass Strait, so he has a very practical approach to keep family balance in order, “I work up the front of the boat. It’s hard for him to yell seventy feet I suppose. We just get on with our business up here and they can work out the rest,” suggests David.

No matter what the elements throw at the father and son duo – and the gritty crew that become family in the three day passage to Hobart – it is certain Southern Excellence II’s crew will disembark closer together than ever before.

Watch Nick’s report on YouTube: