Archive | Rolex Sydney Hobart

Rolex Sydney Hobart: Bureau’s early Xmas gift to small yachts

Posted on 22 December 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Rolex Sydney Hobart] The 117 yachts in the Rolex Sydney Hobart will face an early test this year, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecasting a sharp 20 to 25 knot southerly change on Boxing Day afternoon not long after the start. A southerly is expected to hold throughout the night at around 20 to 25 knots so it will be a long, wet first day for all crews.

Andrew Treloar from the BOM says winds will get lighter the further south the boats go, and the front runners should cross a high pressure ridge around Gabo Island giving them light westerlies across Bass Strait on Saturday.

Winds off the Tasmanian coast on Saturday night are also expected to be pretty light westerlies. They could be quite fluky.

“The midfield and tail end boats will get a better go from the wind,” Treloar says. “They will tend to stay up around 10 to 15 knots right through as they cross Bass Strait and sail down the Tasmanian coast.”

So this is a classic mid-sized to small boat forecast. A southerly on day one, stopping the super maxis from getting too far ahead, and a northerly after the glamour yachts are already tied up in Hobart.

“We’re really excited by this forecast,” says Tom Barker, the navigator on the Ker 40 St George Midnight Rambler. “In terms of handicaps, the slow start means that is more time the big boats will have to take out of us.

“If we do get some of this reaching and running northerly while the big boats have had slower stuff, it plays into our hands really well. The Ker 40 is very good upwind and very dynamic downwind.”

Of course the very thing that so suits the smaller and heavier boats, that first day southerly, is also tough on the crews. Jenifer Wells, navigator on the 29 year-old Farr 43, Wild Rose, also likes the forecast, but concedes there will be some very seasick sailors that first night. “It is an issue we will have to manage,” she says.

The strong southerly poses other issues for crews, especially on the lighter newer super maxis. They will have to keep their boats in one piece throughout this first day. They will be racing, but know that the race for line honours will not be won on day one. It can be lost, though, with one broken piece of gear.

“That strong southerly down the coast will be the time to keep the boat in one piece,” says Wild Oats XI navigator Juan Villa. “Then it will start getting tricky when we approach Green Cape and this high pressure. That will be the first call we have to deal with: how to cross this. Then the lee of the Tasmanian coast is another tricky part of the race, and how to approach Tasman Island.”

Comanche’s navigator, Stan Honey says: “Given the characteristics of Comanche we are happy with the fresh southerly, but the light air worries us, especially in the choppy seas left over from the southerly. That will suit Wild Oats XI.

“The race will be won and lost in the two regions of light air. The first ridge as we get into the westerlies south of Green Cape, and then the light air on Saturday night. Those will be the critical times of the race.”

With such disparate designs, there will be times when conditions favour one style of boat over another: the heavier, beamier, more powerful Comanche and Perpetual Loyal soaking up the tough stuff, the narrower Wild Oats XI finessing the lighter airs.

“These boats are so different you can’t match race,” says Perpetual Loyal navigator Tom Addis. “You have to make the gains when you can and manage the losses.”

Both races, one for line honours, the other, larger handicap race for the overall win, will be fascinating this year. Both are likely to be decided close to Tasman Island.

The question all will be asking is: “Do we go out to sea on day one, with higher winds and bigger waves but a strong current? How fluky will it be off the Tasmanian coast? Go out to get beyond the Tasmanian wind shadow but add miles to the race track or stick with the rhumbline? What angle should you come into Tasman Island from”?

Answers to these questions will decide who drinks champagne and who drinks beer in Hobart’s famous pubs a week from now.

The start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be broadcast live on the Seven Network throughout Australia and webcast live to a global audience on Yahoo!7.

A Parade of Sail will take place from 10.30am to 11.30am, before a fleet of 117 will set sail from three start lines in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on December 26 at 1.00pm AEDT.

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Rolex Sydney Hobart – One Race Many Nations

Posted on 20 December 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Rolex Sydney Hobart] Australia’s premier ocean race has always had an international flavour; Captain Illingworth, who started the whole Sydney Hobart thing was, after all, an Englishman.

In the heyday of the great aluminium maxis, legendary boats like Nirvana, Kialoa and Condor of Bermuda would trek from across the Pacific for the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s race to thrash it out with the local Helsals, Sovereigns, Apollos, and Ragamuffins on the Derwent.

Each year you have been able to find boats and people from England, New Zealand, America, Germany and Russia – a veritable UN of sailors – scattered among the boats in town for the Rolex Sydney Hobart – manoeuvring for a clean start on Boxing Day.

And so it is that this 70th race has maintained the international tradition. In spades.

Of course most attention has been focused on the brash American newcomer, Comanche. Launched just weeks ago in Maine, Comanche’s American and multi-national crew, including Australian America’s Cup winner, Jimmy Spithill, have been spending the as much time on Sydney Harbour as they can, working out how to sail this genuinely radical monster of a boat.

Comanche’s owner, Jim Clark, concedes that a Rolex Sydney Hobart isn’t the ideal first race for such a big, complex machine, but: “I am married to an Australian, and I’ve seen the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart a number of times. My good friend Neville Crichton challenged me to come down.”

And then comes the clincher, the phrase yachties around the world can only dream of as they pour the family fortune into a watery hole: “MY WIFE MADE ME DO IT,” Clark insists.

“This race represents the greatest race in the world,” Matthew Fortune, the skipper of the German Tripp 57 Passion 4 C declares. “It is so exciting to be here. It is a privilege to do the Rolex Sydney Hobart. I’m up with alongside the greatest boats of all time; a little guy in a sea of giants.

“The planning for this started four years ago. We have journeyed 13500 miles to get here. Then we’ve had to refit the boat in the last two weeks from ocean crosser to Hobart racer.”

“It’s taken us five years to get here,” Poland’s Mariusz Koper says. His Oyster 72 Katharsis II has covered more than 70,000 miles in that time. “I am not a racer, more like an explorer.

Two years ago we sailed the North West Passage in the Arctic, next year we aim to go to 78 degrees south. On the way we thought it would be amazing to come here.

“We crossed the Atlantic, ended up in Tahiti, but instead of coming straight here we went around Cape Horn to Patagonia, then down to Antarctica. So we had to come back here, but I did not want to take the same route, so we sailed north to Greenland, meaning we have come from the very top of the world.”

Koper will concede that his hefty 50 tonne Oyster will not threaten the likes of Comanche or Wild Oats XI (unless maybe physically). Most of the other foreigners, though, are not just here for the experience.

Manouch Moshayedi, the American, has made massive changes to his Rio 100, the former Lahana. He has widened the boat and made her two feet longer, fitted twin rudders, eliminated the water ballast to make her lighter and installed a lifting keel that can be raised and lowered between 14 and 19 feet. He describes her as a TP52 stretched to 100 feet, with the Transpac Race in mind.

“We are very good downwind in light winds. And of course someone told us there were light winds in the Rolex Sydney Hobart and we came here. I guess we were misinformed,” Moshayedi jokes.

“We are made for lighter winds. If it is really windy Jim Clark will enjoy it, if it is really light I will.”

“In light air downwind we are not that good,” Jim Clark concedes. “This is a cross wind boat. We have a massive front end, a lot of surface area. We have to get it on its side for it to go.

“When the boat is on its side, 25 degrees or so, we probably have the same wetted surface as Wild Oats XI, but it still has plenty of power. But it still has a lot of boat to bash into the sea, so if there is a lot of chop to the water, it would slow us down more than they would.

“If I had just wanted to win the Hobart I would have just copied the most successful boat ever.”

Clark frequently describes Comanche as a Volvo 70 on steroids, and basically he wants V70 conditions, though maybe not too V70.

New Zealander Jim Delegat and his V70 Giacomo would love a rip-roaring, hang-on-by-your-fingernails Rolex Sydney Hobart, as would the local V70 Black Jack. These are the dark horses in the race for line honours this year. Fast, almost as fast as the 100 footers, but able to keep going when the bigger boats have to think about survival as much as winning.

”Comanche is new, to a new design,” Clark says. “The design and analysis have been very rigorous. Lots of simulations and tank testing. I am very confident it is built well, but these conditions (off the southern New South Wales coast and in Bass Strait) can be nasty. The most difficult thing is slowing the boat down in high winds so we don’t beat it up.”

You take whatever comes with the Rolex Sydney Hobart. With such disparate boats on the race course the weather, as much as tactics and boat skills may separate the victors from the also rans. It is a long way to come, from the other side of the world, for a lousy forecast. But come they do.

The British Swan 68 Titania of Cowes is back for her third straight race. “We thought she would be going back to England, but after we finished last year the owner, Richard Dobbs, changed his mind and said he wanted to do it again,” says her bemused but delighted sailing master, Tasmanian Gina Hewson.

So for yet another year, almost 8 tonnes of cruising gear is being hauled out of the luxurious Swan onto the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia dock to get her down to racing weight.

Max Klink, the skipper from the first ever Cayman Islands entrant called Caro, a Botin 65, a plush, push-button cruiser that “can race a bit.”

‘Race a bit’ as in smashing the ARC race record by 8 hours, and loading the boat with Volvo Ocean Race veterans for this event.

It is said that every politician secretly carries a Prime Minister’s baton in their pocket. It can probably be safely said that every sailor who has crossed the Boxing Day starting line has his or her eye on the Rolex watch waiting in Hobart for the winner.

Over and over you hear from international sailors that they have always wanted to “do the Rolex Sydney Hobart”. “Just finishing the race will be good”, they declare. Yeah, right. That is why they have brought their gleaming thoroughbreds and homely cruisers half way around the world.

Even “explorers of the world, not really racers”, like Mariusz Koper can always use a good timepiece.

The start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be broadcast live on the Seven Network throughout Australia and webcast live to a global audience on Yahoo!7.

A Parade of Sail will take place from 10.30am to 11.30am, before a fleet of 117 yachts set sail from three start lines in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on December 26 at 1.00pm AEDT.

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Syd Fischer launches his ‘surfboard’, Comanche arrives at Sydney

Posted on 02 December 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Rolex Sydney Hobart] Before having its keel locked into place and being lowered into the water, the 100 foot canting and water ballasted Ragamuffin 100, still on its cradle, did bear a resemblance to a giant surfboard. Among the other 100 footers Fischer’s ‘surfboard’ will take on in the Rolex Sydney Hobart are Wild Oats XI (the Swiss Army Knife), and the newly arrived Comanche, which is already being billed as an ‘aircraft carrier’ due to its wide deck.

Fischer said, “I’d like to thank my team who put the boat together. They did a very good job and worked hard. The team worked under my sailing master, David Witt and they should all be proud of themselves.” Fischer invited Liesl Tesch, a multiple Paralympic gold, silver and bronze medallist across Wheelchair Basketball and Sailing (in the SKUD 18), to christen his yacht. She represents everything the 87 year-old believes in; sport, willpower, tenacity, toughness, positivity and never giving up. For her part, Tesch, an incomplete paraplegic who won gold as crew to Dan Fitzgibbon in the SKUD 18 at the London Paralympics, could hardly believe Fischer had chosen her: “I can’t believe Syd would give me this honour. He is a legend and an inspiration to everyone. “To be a woman with a disability and to christen this Australian-made yacht the day before International Day of People with Disability is a real honour,” she said today. “Go Vanessa,” she said referring to Vanessa Dudley who will spend her third Rolex Sydney Hobart aboard a Fischer super maxi.

It was not your usual christening. The lively Tesch had all captivated when she questioned the bottle she was given to smash over the yacht’s transom. With Fischer’s Hobart rival skipper, Mark Richards (Wild Oats XI) in attendance, Tesch said: “Syd, they’ve given me the wrong bottle; you said you’d have a bottle of that other yachtsman’s best stuff, Bob, Bob Oatley – where is the Wild Oats champagne?” With that, Fischer’s youngest daughter, Dominique, handed Tesch the bottle with the Wild Oats label to much laughter and applause, but it took her four times to finally crack the bottle over the stern of Ragamuffin 100 – there could be a message in that.

Showing the bonds of friendships formed in sailing, Rolex Sydney Hobart rival (with Ichi Ban) and Yachting Australia President, Matt Allen, gladly played MC for the launch. “To put together a program of this magnitude is enormous. Without owners like Syd, it can’t be done. “Nobody else has put as much into sailing as Syd, who I awarded the President’s award to at the Australian Yachting Awards this year,” he added of Fischer, who at 87, Fischer has not slowed down and was very hands-on in the designing, building and assembly of his boat.

Fischer, a former surf life-saving boat captain and pro football player discovered his passion for sailing in the early 1960’s and has not looked back. He took line honours in the 1988 and 1990 Sydney Hobarts before moving to smaller boats and going on to win overall in 1992. Over the years he has finished runner-up and third on line and overall on several occasions. Moving back into big boats in 2012, he finished second on line to Wild Oats XI with Ragamuffin Loyal, sailing the same yacht Anthony Bell took line honours with the previous year. In 2013, Fischer was third on line to record holder Wild Oats XI and Anthony Bell’s Perpetual Loyal. Still relishing a challenge, Fischer said he had no fear of taking on Comanche, Wild Oats XI or any of the other super maxis in the race: “I’m just going to concentrate on sailing my own boat and I think I have just a good a chance as them,” he said. Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark’s Comanche arrived in Sydney by ship on Sunday. She is currently berthed at Woolwich where her mast is being installed and the boat assembled ready for her first sail and the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge on Sydney Harbour on Tuesday 9 December.

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Drawn out Cabbage Tree Island victory goes to Balance

Posted on 11 November 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source:CYCA] ‘Money Man’ Paul Clitheroe has sailed his TP52 Balance to its first major win in the drawn out Cabbage Tree Island Yacht Race this weekend, beating St George Midnight Rambler to the punch by close to five minutes, the two cleaning on the rest of the fleet.

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 180 nautical mile race, the fourth in its prestigious Blue Water Point Score, was in a vast contrast to last year’s difficult race which threw explosive winds, storms and lulls at the fleet. Instead, competitors faced the ‘big parking lot’ on Friday evening and well into Saturday, after clearing Sydney Harbour in a light easterly on Friday evening at 7.00pm.

Balance’s crew sailed the tactically challenging race well throughout, as did those on the Ed Psaltis/Bob Thomas/Michael Bencsik owned Ker 40, St George Midnight Rambler. Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin, was third overall, with grandson Brenton skippering the TP52. The three also finished top three under ORCi, while Psaltis and crew took out PHS from Terra Firma (Nicholas Bartels) and Frantic (Mick Martin).

Enjoying a steak and a bottle of red at the CYCA last night, Clitheroe was unaware that the race was playing into his hands, but was thrilled to be told of his win this morning. “Fabulous. That’s great for the Balance crew. I hope we can do the Rolex Sydney Hobart justice,” the CYCA board director said.

Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI finally took line honours at 16.34.47 on Saturday afternoon, Mark Richards and crew finishing more than nine hours behind their record time set two years ago. Anthony Bell’s Perpetual Loyal followed nine minutes later. At 8.30am this morning, seven yachts remained at sea.

Since purchasing Quest, the 2008 overall winner of the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Clitheroe has sailed inside the top five at each event. In this race, he bested the other three TP52’s, including Rob Hanna’s Shogun, which won the last two races of the BWPS. It bodes well for his upcoming Hobart campaign.

It was a long, long 180 nautical miles, just ask the competitors. An overnight parking station kept the yachts in close touch, not even the canting keel super maxis were immune, as Paul Clitheroe reported just after rounding Cabbage Tree Island yesterday afternoon: “Wild Oats first to Cabbage (by miles) then ichi Ban, Ray Roberts (OneSails), Balance, Perpetual Loyal, then Terra Firma and Ragamuffin.

“Earlier, the fleet was pretty much together, mixing it with the big boats. Sad to say, Perpetual Loyal passed us after rounding Cabbage Tree. We’re in a lovely 15 knots from about 75 degrees (almost due east), pointing straight at home,” he said.”

Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson started the fleet off Point Piper on Friday evening in a light 6-7 knot easterly breeze amid various fleets of twilight racers and the CYCA’s Short Haul Night Harbour Race.

“It was very busy on the Harbour; our fleet got mixed up with the other fleets, so it was hard to see who was who,” Thompson said. “Three boats were OCS, so had to return to the start,” he said of Victorian yachts Hartbreaker and Terra Firma, along with NSW entry, Anger Management.

Conditions did not improve during the night, Patrice’s navigator, Richard Grimes reporting: “The pressure was OK on the Harbour, enough all the way to get us out and heading north. There’s a good moon, so we can at least see all around us without resorting to a torch,” he said.

“The big decisions for all will be between midnight and 3.00am, when the breeze is supposed to have some west influence in it, but weather models are giving us conflicting information, so we’’ just have to wait and see.”

Little did crews know then how many difficulties the night would was to bring, but Grimes was right as breezes fluctuated with some westerly influence.

At 7.30am, Patrice’s owner, Tony Kirby reported, “We’ve got our A2 up. We’re off Swansea still heading to the island in a soft breeze. The fleet was packed pretty tight last night, but as the breeze started to come in this morning, those close to shore, like Roger Hickman (Wild Rose) picked it up first.” It helped Hickman at the time, but he finished well back as conditions continued to hamper the smaller yachts.

On Saturday, Paul Clitheroe reported: “Well, it is not often a 52 footer keeps a light cover on a 100 footer, but as noon approaches, it’s 17 hours into the race and we’re amusing ourselves watching Loyal rapidly hauling us in as we approach Port Stephens.

“Wild Oats has already passed us on their way home, Balance is trundling along behind Ichi Ban and Ray Roberts’ new boat (the Farr 55 he has renamed OneSails Racing). Given the fantastic talent on Ray’s boat, we are very happy to tag along.

“Terra Firma (Nicholas Bartels’ Cookson) has had a great night and is a couple of miles back with Ragamuffin. That will teach us not to laugh so much next time they (Terra Firma) break the start.”

Clitheroe and others reported that after a beautiful start in the light easterly, the breeze had died completely at 8.00am. The fleet drifted aimlessly for an hour or so before the predicted east-nor-easterly kicked in.

Not expecting the night time park up, crews were running out of food and drinks, sending messages via friends to have staff at the CYCA fire up the barbecue and have the drinks ready – Clitheroe was among them.

At 3.30pm on Saturday, Tony Kirby reported from on board his Ker 46 Patrice: “We’re off Stockton heading home in 15 knots; the east-nor-easterly is slowly building.”

Finally, the pressure all had been waiting for. Lovely east-nor-easterlies and north-easterlies (depending on where you were on the course) arrived. Sam Haynes, the owner/skipper on ADA Celestial reported at 4.00pm: “We will be out of food soon… but we’re OK, because we’ve turned for home and in nice downwind conditions now – 15 knots and slowly building.”

At 6.00am this morning, Love & War (Simon Kurts) was wallowing off Manly, so close and yet so far, leaving a trail of others behind him, to finally finish shortly before 8.00am.

Bear Necessity (John Blair) and Let’s Go (Danielle Ovenden) retired, citing time constraints.

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Cabbage Tree Island Yacht Race a Rolex Sydney Hobart prequel

Posted on 06 November 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: CYCA] Wild Oats XI and Perpetual Loyal will lead a fleet of 48 yachts, most of them entries in the upcoming Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, when the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Cabbage Tree Island Race starts on Sydney Harbour at 7.00pm on Friday.

Starting off Point Piper, the 180 nautical mile 70th Sydney Hobart qualifier will give the public a first glance of Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI and Anthony Bell’s Perpetual Loyal since the pair updated with modifications earlier in the year. It remains to be seen if either can break Oats’ record of 12 hours 15mins 55secs, set in 2012.

Syd Fischer’s new Ragamuffin 100 is in the finishing touches stage, but the elder statesman is not staying idle. Entering his TP52, Ragamuffin 52 will at least allow some of the crew to hone their skills and teamwork.

Other big names entered for Race 4 of the CYCA’s Blue Water Point Score (BWPS) includes defending Rolex Sydney Hobart winner, Victoire (Darryl Hodgkinson), three-time Sydney Hobart winner, Love & War (Simon Kurts), ‘Money Man’ Paul Clitheroe (Balance), and former rugby players Mick Martin (Frantic) from Lake Macquarie and Bruce Foye (The Goat).

The Cabbage Tree Island race will also provide Ray Roberts the first opportunity to race his recently purchased Farr 55, One Sails Racing. The former Living Doll is a solid performer, a good vehicle for Roberts to make his return to competitive racing in Australia.

Michael Cranitch and David Gotze are in the same boat with Triton. The two made a good purchase, when they bought the former Vanguard from Dick Cawse who won his share of trophies with the LC60.

Eight interstate entries are also racing for the 52nd Halvorsen Brothers Trophy as they prepare for the 628 nautical mile race to Hobart on Boxing Day. Among them is Thorry Gunnersen’s 20 year-old timber yacht, Tilting at Windmills (Vic) with Andrew Roberts at the helm.

Rob Hanna’s Shogun (Vic) is aiming for a hat trick, having won the Races 2 and 3 of the BWPS. One of four TP52’s in the race, Shogun was the overall winner of the 2013 SOLAS Big Boat Challenge and Hanna is no doubt preparing to defend that title.

Two yachts from the West will also contest the race. Craig Carter, the reigning WA Bluewater Siska champion with a former yacht, has entered Indian, the Carkeek 47 launched by him in January. Sailmaker Paul Eldrid, one of the best from the West, should keep the new boat on the straight and narrow.

Todd Giraudo bought the Jeanneau Sunfast 3600 he christened Kraken at the Sydney Boat Show in August. His brother skippered the yacht in Race 3 of the BWPS and the two will use this race to qualify for the Rolex Sydney Hobart. Kraken will therefore get a look at Tasmania before Giraudo sails her home to Perth.

Meanwhile, the BWPS could not be any closer. There is just one point between each of the top four; Sam Haynes’ ADA Celestial, Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victoire, Matt Allen’s year-old Ichi Ban and Paul Clitheroe’s Balance, with Tony Kirby’s Patrice two points in arrears.

The current weather synopsis from the Bureau of Meteorology is for east to northeasterly winds of 10 to 15 knots late on Friday afternoon and into the early evening. On Saturday, a north-easterly of about 10 knots is forecast, increasing to 15 to 25 knots.

While the current predictions will provide the fleet with a quick ride home, the record will ride on the big boats making it to Cabbage Tree Island in good time.

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Entries close with 119 for 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart

Posted on 05 November 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: RSHYR] The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is pleased to announce that 119 entries have been received for the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht race and the 70th edition is bringing new, old, large and small together for the start on Boxing Day.

Due to the large number and sheer size of some yachts, there will be three start lines this year. The last time numbers topped 100 was in 2004, when 116 boats started, though just 59 finished, the rest unable to withstand the punishing weather of the 60th race.

Five super maxis, 10 international entries, previous overall and line honours winners, old timers, record breaking boats and people – and the faithful. Last year’s entries went beyond expectation; this year has exceeded them again.

“We could not be happier with the quality and quantity of this years’ Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet. It’s such a high standard and represents a good cross section of yachts from all over Australia as well as 10 international entries,” CYCA Commodore, John Cameron said.

“We are also extremely pleased to see 36 entries for our inaugural Corinthian Division; it will provide another dimension to our great race and is open to all yachts meeting the Corinthian amateur standard. The winner’s name will be engraved on a trophy donated by dedicated CYCA members, Michael and Jeannette York.”

Super maxis

One cannot go past two-time treble crown winner and reigning record holder and line honours champion, Wild Oats XI owned by Bob Oatley and skippered by Mark Richards, for line honours. In 2013 they won a protracted battle with Anthony Bell’s Perpetual Loyal (former Rambler), allegedly the fastest super maxi in the world.

The two are constantly evolving, undergoing further modifications during the year. Their owners have recruited crews strewn with yachting identities and they will need everything they can muster to take on the other 100 footers in the frame.

Syd Fischer’s new Ragamuffin 100. The modified deck of his previous yacht (it took line honours in 2011 under Anthony Bell’s ownership) has received a new water ballasted hull. A canting keel completes the picture. Fischer, 87, will tick off his 46th Hobart this year.

Jim and Kristy Hinze Clark’s new Comanche (USA) illustrates the latest technology and is the most talked about boat in the fleet. A second American entry is RIO 100 (previously Lahana). Purchased by Manouch Moshayedi, he has lengthened her to 100 feet.

Danger under 100 feet

Conditions play a big part in deciding the outcome of the race. The Volvo 70’s, Peter Harburg’s Black Jack (Qld) and Jim Delegat’s Giacomo (NZL), lap up hard running and reaching conditions. The two were fourth and sixth respectively on line last year, and are genuine threats if the weather is in their favour.

Alive is the rebirthed RP66, Black Jack, purchased by Tasmanian Philip Turner earlier in the year. He obliterated the 1885 nautical mile Melbourne to Vanuatu Ocean Race record by almost two days. Turner is confident in her ability for line and overall honours.

A tilt at the Tattersall’s Cup

There is a variety of contenders for the main prize, the Tattersall’s Cup, awarded to the best yacht overall over the 628 nautical mile course. It has eluded some of the best in the business and is won by the yacht and crew that sail best in the weather dished out to them.

Defending champion Victoire (Darryl Hodgkinson) is back. As Jazz, the canting Cookson 50 finished second in 2010 and fourth in 2011 and 2012. Returning to the fold after a five-year absence is Victoire’s original owner, Ray Roberts, who last took the boat (then named Evolution Racing) to Hobart in 2009 and scored a divisional second.

Roberts, who has been winning regattas in Asia, has purchased the productive Farr 55, Living Doll, and renamed her OneSails Racing. He rates highly among the potential contenders for the Tattersalls Cup, which has come within reach over his 19 Hobart races.

Tony Kirby’s Ker 46, Patrice, has shown promise since her launch last November. Although she retired from the 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart with hull damage, Patrice won the SSORC last November and Airlie Beach Race Week in August.

ADA Celestial, Sam Haynes’ Rogers 46, was third overall in last year’s race and won the 2014 Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast race. He leads the CYCA’s Blue Water Point Score (BWPS) after three races and is primed for the race ahead.

Ichi Ban, Matt Allen’s year-old Carkeek 60 kept up a steady pace last year for eighth on line and overall. Allen has since tweaked and refined the boat he hopes will carry him to victory.

Previous winners up to the challenge

One cannot exclude the likes of Simon Kurts’ Love & War. The 41 year-old S&S 47 is one of only two boats to win the race three times. Simon’s father, Peter, took victory in 1974 and 1976. In 2006, Simon loaned the boat to Lindsay May who steered her to a third victory.

Martin Power’s Bacardi (Vic), was second overall in 2006 with her previous owners. Now 36 years old, and with 28 Hobart races to her credit, the Peterson 44 holds the record for the most Hobart races by any yacht.

In conjunction with an IMS winner, Roger Hickman and partners won overall IOR victory in 1993 with Wild Rose. Now her sole owner, Hickman is the defending BWPS champion with the 29 year-old Farr 43.

Luna Sea, James Cameron’s Hick 35, famously won the fatal 1998 Hobart when owned by Ed Psaltis and Bob Thomas. One of the smallest in any fleet, it was forced out of the race last year after losing its rudder in harsh winds.

The 2008 Hobart winner, Quest, returns as Balance. Paul Clitheroe purchased the TP52 earlier in the year and continues to uphold the yacht’s great performances. John Newbold’s Primitive Cool won the race as Secret Mens Business 3.5 for South Australian Geoff Boettcher in 2010. Newbould (Vic) has owned the boat for a year and could succeed.


Foreign boats are: Giacomo from New Zealand, Caro from the Cayman Islands, Clipper Ventures 10, Louise and Titania of Cowes from the UK, Katharsis II and Selma Expeditions from Poland, Passion 4 C from Germany and US entries, Comanche and RIO 100.

Corinthian spirit

Yacht owners and their crew who meet the Corinthian criteria, as defined by the ISAF Classification code, will compete for the York Family Corinthian Trophy, newly dedicated by prominent CYCA members Michael and Jeanette York.

Among the entries are: Danielle Ovenden’s Let’s Go, an Adams/Radford 52 which last went to Hobart in 1994; Jason Ward and Shevaun Bruland’s Beneteau First 40, Concubine (Tas), Tilting at Windmills, Thorry Gunnersen’s Joubert Modified 42 (Vic), Trevor Taylor’s Marten 49, Optimus Prime (WA) and Michael Lazzarini’s modified Farr 39, Samurai Jack (Qld).

Points of interest

Peter Riddell’s (SA) 12.5m sloop, Southern Myth, was launched in 1953. She was first owned by Norm Howard from Adelaide, who contested the Sydney Hobart from 1954 until 1965, only missing 1964. Best result was third overall in 1958 and she finished every race.

Andrew Strachan launched Ninety Seven, a Farr 47, in 1993. He took line honours and second overall that year (one of the worst Hobarts on record). Graham Gibson sailed her to fourth in 2000 and second in 2001. Now owner, Alan Saunders (Vic) finished 59th in 2009.

Spirit of Mateship (Qld), a Volvo 60 with Charles McCart at the helm, will again be crewed by wounded Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel, known as ‘Brave Mates’, to raise money for the Mates4Mates charity. In 2013, was third overall in PHS and first in Division.

Caro, a Botin 65 (Mark Bartlett) is the first entry received from the Cayman Islands, while Clipper Ventures 10’s crew includes the first South Korean sailor to take part.

The CYCA has invited previous competitors to participate in a Parade of Sail at 10am on 26 December. They will motor-sail a short Harbour course, led by the historic naval vessel HMAS Advance. And in collaboration with the Australian National Maritime Museum, the CYCA has assembled a static exhibition of photos, yacht design plans and other material to be displayed at the Museum from November until the end of February.

Starting at 1.00pm AEDT Boxing Day, December 26 on Sydney Harbour, the fleet will set sail from three start lines off Nielsen Park, Vaucluse. The largest yachts will start off the front line and the fleet will round a mark outside the Harbour one nautical mile east of the Heads before heading to Tasmania, where the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania finishes the race.

The start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be broadcast live on the Seven Network throughout Australia and webcast live to a global audience on Yahoo!7.

The final fleet for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart will be announced at the Australian National Maritime Museum on the morning of Tuesday, 25 November, 2014.

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New super maxis gear up for Rolex Sydney Hobart

Posted on 21 October 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: RSHYR] While Syd Fischer continues to prepare his super maxi Ragamuffin 100 for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race after the new hull was delivered 19 days ago, American Jim Clark has launched his colourful new Comanche in the USA and trials are underway.

The 70th running of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s annual race is living up to expectation with 98 high-calibre entries received so far, from Sean Langman’s 1932 built Maluka of Kermandie, the oldest and smallest boat at 9 metres, to the super maxis. The most talked about boat though, is the Verdier Yacht Design & Vplp 100 footer, Comanche.

Built at Hodgdon Yachts in Maine, and designed to break records, Comanche was sailed for the first time on October 13, and will be spiced with Australian flavour come the 628 nautical mile race in December; partly because her co-owner is Kristy Hinze-Clark, a former super model from Australia married to Jim Clark.

Her mainsail also reflects Comanche’s Australian connection, as does Aussie crew; boat captain Casey Smith, Ryan Godfrey in the pit and Chris Maxted ‘floating’.

“Crew for this race is finalised,” says skipper, Kenny Read. “As there is such a small window to work the boat, any good skipper knows the best thing is to surround yourself with people you know and trust. They’re people I’ve done a million miles with,” he says of other big names in navigator Stan Honey and New Zealand’s Kevin Halrap on tactics.

“We leave early next week for Charleston to put the boat on a ship – next stop Sydney. We look forward to seeing you all down there,” says Read, a world champion sailor of Volvo Ocean Race fame.

Jim Clark, an American entrepreneur and computer scientist, founded several prominent Silicon Valley technology companies, such as Silicon Graphics Inc. and Netscape Communications Corporation. He says: “I’m certainly excited about Comanche’s potential to do what it was designed to do – break some speed records.”

Clark has some reservations though. “It was not designed for the Sydney Hobart, which is an unusual race, especially in the past few years, as it’s turned into a lighter air downwind race. In those sorts of conditions, I’d say Comanche is unlikely to have any commanding advantage.

“In many other conditions, I think Comanche should do pretty well. However, the boat and crew will have had only a couple of weeks on the water before we ship it to Australia. There’s a lot of work to do before the race start. In the short term, I don’t have high expectations, but in the long term, I think this boat could really set a mark.”

Ken Read is excited about the prospect of racing the yacht. Asked how it felt to sail a boat designed to push the boundaries of technology and to aim for line honours in all of the world’s major races, he said: “We’ve only been out a few times, but I’m very excited to sail Comanche. It’s an amazing boat that very quickly earns your respect.

“Working out how we unleash the potential without breaking anything is going to be a steep learning curve for us all, and that transfers to the race as well. We need to be going at full throttle, but we also need to work out her limits.”

Of their competition for the upcoming Rolex Sydney Hobart, their first major race, Read conceded, “The other maxis are all tried and tested in this race, so we’ve a lot of catching up to do – I’m as anxious to see the results as anybody. We have to keep remembering there is a three-year schedule for this boat and this is just the beginning.”

Ragamuffin 100’s owner, Syd Fischer, is not overly concerned about Comanche or his other line honours rivals. At Friday night’s Australian Yachting Awards, where he received the coveted Yachting Australia President’s Award, Fischer said: “I’m happy with the boat I’ve got on the way and I’m looking forward to racing the other 100 footers.”

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50 entries and counting for Rolex Sydney Hobart

Posted on 03 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Rolex Sydney Hobart] It’s all about the numbers for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, with entries in the 70th edition of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s blue water classic swelling to 50, including classic yachts such as Love & War and the high-tech flying machines like Ichi Ban.

Noel Sneddon’s Vickers 41 C.Q.R IT Inca (pronounced secure it) was the 50th entrant to be received by the CYCA. The sturdy workhorse from the ACT also serves as Sneddon’s home and spends most of her time in Airlie Beach.

The 2014 fleet showcases the cream of Australian yachting and an ever growing number of international entries that will traverse the globe just to reach the Sydney Harbour start line this Boxing Day.

Yachting Australia President and Past CYCA Commodore Matt Allen worked with the Carkeek team to ensure his latest 60 foot Ichi Ban, was at the cutting edge of yacht racing design when he launched the boat just 10 months ago. Since then, Ichi Ban was declared overall winner and claimed line honours in the CYCA’s Sydney Newcastle Race and finished second at Airlie Beach Race Week.

Allen will be competing in his 25th Sydney Hobart, joining 116 yachties who have achieved this milestone, including 12 who have completed 40 plus Hobarts.

Other notable entries include Tony Kirby’s year-old Patrice, which made a big impression winning the Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship, then reeled of second places at the Festival of Sails, Sail Port Stephens and the Audi IRC Australian Championship. In August, the Ker 46 won six from six races at Airlie Beach Race Week.

Roger Hickman’s 29 year-old Farr 43 Wild Rose, the 1993 overall IOR winner and reigning Blue Water Pointscore champion always performs, and John Newbold’s Primitive Cool from Victoria is worth watching. The Reichel Pugh 51 won the 2010 race as Secret Men’s Business 3.5 for original owner, Geoff Boettcher.

Heading the classic yacht entries are: Bacardi, Victorian Martin Power’s Peterson 44, which last year sailed her 28th race to record the most Sydney Hobarts by a yacht; Maluka of Kermandie, Sean Langman’s classic gaff-rigger will be the oldest and smallest yacht to compete and Love & War, Simon Kurts’ S & S 47, one of only two yachts to win three times overall in the history of the race.

A strong contingent is building from interstate. Victorian entries are at 15, Tasmania can boast six, Western Australia has five, while Queensland numbers four.

Two international entries have been received; Caro, Mark Bertlett’s Botin 60 from the Cayman Islands, and Passion 4 C, Stefan Lehnert’s Tripp 56 from Germany. Entries are also expected from New Zealand, Hong Kong, USA and United Kingdom.

As a nod to the race’s founding fathers, the CYCA has extended an invitation to those yachts that have competed in previous Sydney Hobarts to participate in a Parade of Sail, which will commence at 10am on 26 December.

Participants will motor-sail a short Harbour course led by the historic naval vessel HMAS Advance. Competitors from the early years of the race such as Kathleen Gillett, Archina, Wayfarer, Christina and Defiance have already signaled their intentions to be part of this historic event.

CYCA Commodore John Cameron announced the commemorative Parade of Sail would be conducted in keeping with the Club’s ongoing tradition of celebrating key anniversaries of the Race.

“The 70th Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is a significant milestone and what better way to pay tribute to the sport of ocean racing than conducting a Parade of Sail featuring veteran yachts from the great races south to Hobart.

“We trust that the Parade of Sail will be a perfect curtain-raiser to the main event, which could see up to 120 yachts take to the start line on Boxing Day, December 26 at 1pm. Man and machine will battle the elements down the eastern seaboard for 628 nautical miles to see who will be crowned the overall winner of the Rolex Sydney Hobart.

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