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Syd-Hobart race closes circle for cousins

AAP logoAAP 24/12/2016 Adrian Warren

Of all the many Sydney-Hobart family stories the race throws up each year, few are as fascinating or possess the global twists as the one concerning cousins Ludde Ingvall and Sir Michael Hintze.

A century ago, their families lived in Finland which had grand duchy status within the Russian empire.

The families went in different directions following the tumult of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, but Ingall and Hintze ultimately came together in Australia.

Ingvall, a two-time Sydney-Hobart line honours winner on different boats called Nicorette in 2000 and 2004, was watching the start of the race in Sydney with his cousin in 2014, when he suggested to him they could actually contest the event.

Sir Michael, who is the founder, chief executive and senior investment officer of global multi-strategy asset management firm CQS, provided the financial backing.

The result was CQS, a lengthened and rebuilt version of Ingvall's 90-foot 2004 yacht into a technologically innovative and radical 100-foot supermaxi.

"For us, it's like two half circles coming together," Australian-based Ingvall told AAP.

"Our family split pretty much during the Bolshevik revolution.

"My part of the family ended up staying in the west, in Finland which was a grand duchy of Russia.

"Michael's family, who were railway engineers, and staff ended up in China when the (Russian) tsar lost power.

"Michael was born in Manchuria, so it was pretty cool he's ended up here and I ended up here.

"But we stayed in touch. Our parents have been great friends and socialised a lot so, for this circle to close in Sydney, I think is awesome."

"When he said to me that - (being involved in the Sydney to Hobart was one thing he would like to do once in his life, that I can give it to him - was a big lure to me to come back in the game."

Sir Michael, who was raised and educated in Sydney and is based in London, will contest the Hobart race for the first time.

"I never believed I would get the opportunity to do it," Sir Michael told AAP.

"I used to watch people go off on Boxing Day and do it but I never thought it would be in my ability to do it."

He admitted to feeling some trepidation about the race.

Asked what advice he would give his cousin, Ingvall said "just to follow me around - he's my wingman for this trip.

"He's a very smart guy and he's been steering the boat a fair bit."

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