Crews of yachts already in Constitution Dock and early morning strollers around the waterfront gave Kent and his five other crew members a rousing reception as they motored into the historic dock.
Gillawa was the 59th boat to finish the race, which saw 57 boats retire from the fleet of 116 that set sail from Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day, 26 December 2004, only to encounter more than 50 hours of galeforce winds and rough seas from the second morning of the race.
'It was a real hard slog, but we did not suffer any damage,' Kent said after berthing this morning. 'And the crew handled the demanding conditions well.
'For us it was 90 per cent on the wind - winds consistently up to 36 knots, gusting to 47 hours.
'However, we did have our exciting moments - clocking 12.5 knots as we ran down the New South Wales South Coast under full main with a number three jib poled out.
'Then was battling to windward for hours and hours with three reefs in the main and a storm jib.
Kent keeps Gillawa on Pittwater, north of Sydney, and uses the boat largely to train young people from Canberra in offshore sailing.
'The crew was not hugely experienced, although they had done the qualifying passages, which is why I decided to shelter in Twofold Bay at Eden to allow the crew to re-group,' Kent added.
The crew of six comprised four men and two women, their ages ranging from 19 to 57, four coming living in Canberra, one from Nowra and one from Darwin.