The PHRF Class start at the 2013 Ida Lewis Distance Race  (Photo by Meghan Sepe)

The PHRF Class start at the 2013 Ida Lewis Distance Race (Photo by Meghan Sepe)

 

A “virtual mark” adds an intriguing new twist to the 10th Annual Ida Lewis Distance Race (ILDR), which starts this Friday (August 15). Starting at 12:30 p.m. off Fort Adams in Newport, R.I., the popular overnighter takes its fleet of PHRF, IRC, One-Design, Doublehanded and Multihull boats on one of four courses – between 104nm and 177nm – that trace the New England coastline.

“This is the first time that we have used the concept of a ‘virtual mark’ at the Ida Lewis Distance Race,” said ILDR Race Chairman Simon Davidson, adding that the mark is similar to a traditional mark, as defined in the rules of sailing, except rather than being a physical object, it’s a position defined by latitude and longitude coordinates.

“Originally, this concept was born out of necessity, due to the Coast Guard’s removal of various traditional marks that we’ve used in the past. However, making this change actually enhances the race committee’s ability to set an optimal distance course. If this experience proves successful, we expect to see it used for a lot of other events.”

This year, the mark will be located at longitude 41:06.00 north and latitude 071:23.34 west.

“This seems to be an emerging trend,” said Ed Cesare (Norwalk, Conn.), who is returning this summer to defend his 2013 win on Class 40 Pleiad Racing in the Doublehanded Division. “I know the RORC uses virtual marks and have been doing so for some time. Certainly the technology is there, so if it works for the race course, then let’s do it.”

Cesare has been racing in the Ida Lewis Distance Race since its inception in 2004. “I competed in this event on a variety of different boats, and what I love about it is that the organizers are constantly trying to modify the format to make it better for a variety of different teams. It also starts and finishes in Newport, making it a fun weekend for all members of the family.”

Youth Challenge Entries 2013 photo by Meghan Sepe

Youth Challenge Entries 2013 (Photo by Meghan Sepe)

To that point, the Ida Lewis Distance Race welcomes the next generation of sailors to try offshore racing on for size with its Youth and Collegiate Challenges. To qualify for the Youth Challenge, more than 40% of the crew must have reached their 14th birthday but not turned 20 prior to August 15. To qualify for the Collegiate Challenge, more than 40% of the crew must not have reached the age of 26 prior to August 15. For both challenges, teams are encouraged to register under the burgee of a college sailing program or a US SAILING yacht club or community sailing program.

TRACK THE RACERS HERE

Video and Photo Contests
The Ripple Effect Short Video Contest has been introduced to attract and engage the youth sailors (between 14 and 20 years of age) competing in the Ida Lewis Distance Race. The contest was originally developed by Joe Cooper and Manuka SEM for the Atlantic Cup this past May. Participants (working either individually or as a team) are asked to answer the question “What do you like most about offshore/overnight sailing?” through a video essay or documentary no longer than five minutes in length.

The Ida Lewis Distance Race Photo Challenge invites all sailors competing in this summer’s event to submit photos to the event Facebook Page (with hashtag #ILDR) that capture their experience at the race. Prizes for both contests will be announced at a later date.

To download contest guidelines and registration form, visit http://bit.ly/1oIOWFb

Sponsors
Starting Line sponsors for the 2014 Ida Lewis Distance Race include the City of Newport, Helly Hansen, New England Boatworks, Marsh, Newport Shipyard and North Sails; Contributing Sponsors are DYT Yacht Transport, Goslings Rum, Rig Pro Southern Spars, Stella Artois, Flint Audio Video, Mac Designs, Sea Gear Uniforms, Toni Mills Graphic Design and Z Block.

The Ida Lewis Distance Race is a qualifier for the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF); the Northern and Double-Handed Ocean Racing Trophies (IRC); and the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series.

For more information or to register, visit http://www.ildistancerace.org or contact Race Chair Simon Davidson, RaceChairman@ILDistanceRace.org.

Follow the race on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

 

IRC Class Start at 2013 Ida Lewis Distance (Photo by Meghan Sepe)

IRC Class Start at 2013 Ida Lewis Distance (Photo by Meghan Sepe)

IDA LEWIS DISTANCE RACE ENTRIES FOR 2014
Sail Number Yacht Name Owner’s Name Home Port Yacht Type Length
1. USA 41241 And She Was Tim Keyworth Deep River , CT , USA Nelson Marek 45 45.61
2. USA 60510 Ariel Bob Anderson Seekonk, MA, USA J 46 46 ft
3. USA 14111 Aurora Andrew Kallfelz Jamestown, RI, USA Tartan41 12.37m
4. USA 4224 Barleycorn Brendan Brownyard Bay Shore, NY, USA Swan 42 42.5
5. USA 190 Bazinga! Dave Lussier Exeter, RI, USA F-31 31
6. USA 4243 Blazer Christopher Culver Stamford, CT, USA Swan 42 42.5
7. USA 42258 Breakaway Paul Grimes Portsmouth, RI, USA J 35 35.5
8. GBR 7190 BUFFALO – Collegiate Richard Fontaine Buzzards Bay, MA, USA DK 46 46.3
9. USA 42565 Covenant-Collegiate Chris Oliver – Univ. of Michigan Norwalk, CT, USA J 40 40
10. USA 43777 Crazy Horse – Collegiate Kevin McLaughlin – Duquesne Univ. Fairhaven, MA, USA Sloop 50
11. USA 54 DRAGON Michael Hennessy New York, NY, USA Class 40 40
12. USA 42700 Duck Soup Bill Clavin Warwick, RI, USA C&C 37 R/XL 39’6
13. USA 60511 Eagles Dare Mike Piper Marblehead, MA, USA J 111 36
14. USA 50400 Entropy Paul Hamilton / Patti Young Jamestown, RI, USA Tripp 41 41.0
15. USA 52162 EXILE Brendan Kelley Newport, RI, USA J 133 43
16. USA 88 Flight Risk John R Sampson Rumson, NJ, USA Corsair 31 Trimaran 31
17. 27 Flying Fish Steven Parks Middletown, RI, USA F27 27
18. USA 106 GryphonSolo2 Joe Harris S. Hamilton, MA, USA Class 40 40
19. GBR 8858R Jackknife 11 Andrew Hall Southport, Merseyside, GBR C&C Redline 41 41
20. USA 52056 KING DADDY Devin McGranahan Sewickley, PA, USA Swan 56 56
21. GBR 711 Maximizer Jose Diego-Arozamena New York, NY, USA Farr 73 73
22. USA 10 Milk and Honey III Mchael Divon New York, NY, USA Corsair C37 37
23. USA 60554 Moonshot Aldo Roldan Princeton, NJ, USA Amel Ketch 53
24. USA 52814 North Sails Youth Challenge Joe Cooper Middletown, RI, USA Class 40 40
25. USA 2001 Oakcliff Racing – Youth Entry Oakcliff Sailing Oyster Bay, NY, USA Farr 47 47
26. USA 711 Odyssey – Youth Entry Alfred Van Liew Middletown, RI, USA J 111 36.5
27. USA 12282 Orion Paul Milo Leesburg, VA, USA J 122 40
28. USA 60426 Oronoco Adrian Ravenscroft Cohasset, MA, USA Sabre 426 42
29. USA 39 Pleiad Racing Edward Cesare Norwalk, CT, USA Class 40 40
30. USA 301 Samba Tristan Mouligne Boston, MA, USA Quest 30 30
31. USA 52756 Sarah Greg Manning Warwick, RI, USA X-41 41
32. USA 61200 Secondhand Lions – Youth Challenge Robert Kits van Heyningen Portsmouth, RI, USA J 120 40
33. USA 40808 SELKIE David Brown Middletown, RI, USA McCurdy&Rhodes 38 38
34. USA 52643 Settler Thomas Rich Portsmouth, RI, USA NEB Tripp 43 43
35. USA 57 Skedaddle Andrew Houlding Hamden, CT, USA Corsair 28R 28
36. USA 56 Spirit EC Helme Newport, RI, USA J 92S 30
37. USA 95 SPOOKIE Steve & Heidi Benjamin Norwalk, CT, USA Carkeek HP 40 40.0
38. USA 31 Team McMichael Youth Challenge Richard Fleig Portsmouth, RI, USA J 88 29
39. USA 4212 The Cat Came Back Lincoln Mossop Providence, RI, USA Swan 42 42
40. USA 52985 Three Little Birds Kevin Baxley Brooklyn, NY, USA Trimaran 11m
41. USA 128 Toothface2 Michael Dreese West Newton, MA, USA Class 40 – Akilaria RC3 40
42. USA 203 URSA Brooke Mastrorio Lakeville, MA, USA J 109 35
43. USA 93499 Valkyrie Drew Chapman New York, NY, USA Beneteau First 44.7 44
44. USA 51322 Vamoose Bob Manchester Barrington, RI, USA J 120 40.0
45. USA 7145 Vortices Chris Saxton Plymouth, MI, USA J 145 48
46. USA 52821 White Rhino Todd Stuart Newport, RI, USA Swan 56 56

Shockwave and Bella Mente (Photo by George Bekris)

Shockwave and Bella Mente (Photo by George Bekris)

By Talbot Wilson

Three boats had finished the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race by late Monday afternoon

— Shockwave, Bella Mente, Caol Ila R

George Sakellaris’ big white Richel/Pugh mini-maxi Shockwave crossed the finish line off Bermuda’s St. David’s Lighthouse Monday morning at 5:34 race time EDT (6:34AM local time). Her elapsed time was 63:04:11. Bella Mente, Hap Fauth’s 72 foot Judel/Vrolijk mini-maxi, followed by seven minutes with her time at 63:11:25. The two had battled head to head within sight of each almost continuously for over 635 miles.

Shockwave heading for a dawn finish off St David's Lighthouse. Photo Barry Pickthall/PPL

Shockwave heading for a dawn finish off St David’s Lighthouse. Photo Barry Pickthall/PPL

Caol Ila R, Alex Schaerer’s 68 foot Mills IRC racer, crossed third at 8:33 local time, three hours behind Shockwave at 66:03:52.

Based on preliminary ORR results, Shockwave stands first on corrected time in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division, Bella Mente is second and Caol Ila R is third.

The next boat on the course, the US Naval Academy TP52 Constellation, is expected to finish more than 16 hours after the leader on Monday night. The remainder of the fleet is caught in the fickle winds of a frontal zone, waiting for the system to drift east-southeast and weaken. The picture is not pretty for boats still on the course. Light conditions will prevail through Wednesday and maybe longer.

Robbie Doyle sailed his 12th Newport Bermuda Race as the “stratitician” on board George Sakellaris’ Shockwave.

Doyle said, “Different guys called different things for the general strategy. The navigator made a lot of big calls. We had to hunt to find the (Gulf) Stream… we never found the 4 knot real road to Bermuda. It had broken up before we got there. Forecasters had predicted it might, but they suggested we might get there before it would start to dismember. The Stream was really breaking up pretty quick.”

“We got a knot and a half out of it.” He continued, “The stream came around (motioning to indicate a southwest to northeast direction to southeast direction) and what happened is that this part (flow) stopped and decided it was going to reconnect itself eventually and just become a smooth stream. We got through it.”

When asked about the cold core eddy predicted below the flow, Doyle said, “We caught that eddy, but it was only a knot and a half of current; still nice because we had it for 40 nautical miles. It wasn’t the three knots we had fought to get to that point for.“

Congratulations to George Sakellaris and the team aboard Shockwave for winning line honors in this year’s race. The win adds to Shockwave’s growing list of recent victories, highlighted by their division win in the 2012 Newport-Bermuda Race, the 2013 Montego Bay, and the 2014 RORC Caribbean 600 Race. Originally launched in 2008 as Alpha Romero 3, Shockwave continues her winning ways.

George Sakellaris, owner of the first to finish yacht Shockwave celebrates with Gosling's Dark 'n Stormy drink with his crew on arrival at the Royal Bermuda YC dock. Photo Barry Pickthall/PPL

George Sakellaris, owner of the first to finish yacht Shockwave celebrates with Gosling’s Dark ‘n Stormy drink with his crew on arrival at the Royal Bermuda YC dock. Photo Barry Pickthall/PPL

Commander’s Weather
1) Frontal zone is located from 35/65w to 33n/70w to Savannah early this morning
a) This front will continue to drift ESE and weaken

2) An expanding area of light winds will develop along and N and S of the frontal zone
a) The shower and squall activity will be diminishing this morning and will become at most isolated this afternoon and tonight
b) The nice SW winds in Bermuda will become much lighter late today and tonight

3) By Tue morning, the frontal zone will be located from 35n/60 30w to 33n/65w to a weak low near 32-33n/74w
a) Light NE-E winds north of the front and very light SW-W winds south of the front
b) Shower/squall activity will be at most isolated and possibly non-existent

4) Wed will see the light wind conditions continuing
a) The frontal zone will be drifting N with light SW and S winds also spreading slowly north during the day

For scratch sheets, crew lists, and other information about the boats, go to Race Documents & Rules.

Twenty-nine of the two Newport Bermuda Lighthouse Divisions’ entries are also sailing the 25th Onion Patch Series, a tough triathlon of offshore racing. These Onion Patch racers have just sailed the NYYC 160th Annual Regatta presented by Rolex in Newport and will form the core of the June 27nd RBYC Anniversary Regatta which now has 32 entries. The RBYC Anniversary Regatta is open to all IRC or ORR rated yachts over 25 feet in Bermuda. Anniversary Regatta entries close at noon on June 25th. Information is online at www.onionpatchseries.com and at www.rbyc.bm.

www.BermudaRace.com — carries Newport Bermuda Race rules, news, videos, photos, history, and expert advice. Race news is also posted on the Newport Bermuda Race 2014 Facebook page and on Twitter at @BdaRace.

HIRO MARU and the Class 1 St. David's Lighthouse Division Start 2014 (Photo by George Bekris)

HIRO MARU and the Class 1 St. David’s Lighthouse Division Start 2014 (Photo by George Bekris)

It Was a Little Messy, but the Bermuda Race Fleet has Started

Spirit of Bermuda Starts off the Race for 2014 (Photo By George Bekris)

Spirit of Bermuda Starts off the Race for 2014 (Photo By George Bekris)

By John Rousmaniere

If it was more fun for  spectators than the sailors, the reason was the sea breeze that inched toward the starting line until it finally dominated the northerly.Newport. RI, June 20, 2014, 7 PM.  Who would have thought that spinnakers would be flown at the starts of two Newport Bermuda Races in a row?  The race did not gain its well-known nickname, “The Thrash to the Onion Patch,” because it’s a downwind sleigh ride, like the Transpac.  The 2012 start was a fast run before a fresh northerly for every one of the 165 boats in every class.  This year was a little more complicated for the 164 starters. As the five divisions in 14 classes got going over a period of two and one-half hours, the first half of the fleet in seven starts got away in a leftover northerly breeze under spinnaker.   Not so the last seven.  Like a typical summer day on Long Island Sound, the mouth of Narragansett Bay was full of confusion.

Some of the Class 2 fleet St. David's Lighthouse Division Start 2014  (Photo by George Bekris)

Some of the Class 2 fleet St. David’s Lighthouse Division Start 2014 (Photo by George Bekris)

(Photo by George Bekris)

(Photo by George Bekris)

The afternoon’s winners appear to be the boats that started early, Classes 1, 2, and 3–the smaller and medium-size boats in the St. David’s Lighthouse Division.  With the light to moderate northerly on their stern, they tacked downwind to the buoy marking the outer reaches of Brenton Reef, and carried their chutes around the mark and onto the southeasterly course to Bermuda. When the southwester filled in like a light summer blanket, all they had to do was raise the jib, douse the spinnaker, and tack onto starboard, meanwhile holding the same course.

Newport_Bermuda_2014_george_bekris_June-20-2014_-1-001

One of the biggest of those winners may be Sinn Fein, the Cal 40 that’s always sailed well by Peter Rebovich, Sr., and his crew of family and friends from Raritan Yacht Club, in New Jersey.  The two-time winners of the St. David’s Lighthouse Division (in 2006 and 2008), they’ve been preoccupied by other concerns since the 2012 race: rebuilding their boat after she was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Today they set the spinnaker promptly and effectively, found the right apparent wind angle, and pulled away. When last seen, Sinn Fein was on the far horizon, closehauled in the seabreeze and racing to Bermuda near the head of a clump of at least 50 other smaller boats. The Pantaenius tracker at 3 p.m. (about two hours after the Class 1 start) showed Sinn Fein slightly behind William Klein’s CC 40, Glim. We’ll know when we see later tracker readings (being sure to remember the 4-hour time delay) and a get a sense of the wind and wave conditions as the big fleet gets out into the Atlantic.

(Photo by George Bekris)

(Photo by George Bekris)

But at least everybody’s racing, and headed toward the Gulf Stream, where (the forecasters are telling us) they may find more to worry about than a shifty wind—such as squalls and big seas that could turn this race into a real thrash.The boats that started an hour or so later than Class 1 had any number of troubles as the seabreeze slowly pushed away the northerly. At one moment a Class 6 medium-size St. David’s Lighthouse boat with a red spinnaker up and pulling well on port tack was less than 25 yards abeam of another Class 6 boat with a green and yellow chute pulling well on starboard tack.  A few minutes later, the seabreeze reached the starting line in the mouth of Narragansett Bay just as Class 8 (large St. David’s boats) was making its final approach—some running in the dying northerly, others beating in the slowly building southerly.

(Photo by George Bekris)

(Photo by George Bekris)

 

For More Photos of the Newport Bermuda Race visit George Bekris Photography HERE 

 

 

– See more at bout the race at: http://bermudarace.com/little-messy-bermuda-race-fleet-started/#sthash.aMUaHBGw.dpuf

 

 

Wild Oats XI near finish (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)

DOUBLE TRIPLE WITH ICING ON THE TOP
 
Robert Oatley’s Wild Oats XI was announced this morning as the Overall Winner of the 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart. It had become clear overnight that none of the yachts still at sea could better the corrected time established by the 30.48m (100 foot) maxi skippered by Mark Richards. Wild Oats XI has repeated its historic performance of 2005, when it secured the treble of Line Honours, Overall Winner and Race Record.

 

Aside from Rani, in the very first race, Wild Oats XI is the only yacht ever to have achieved this impressive display of dominance. She has now done it twice. Bob Oatley was understandably impressed: “The main aim was the fastest time. To get the handicap too was fantastic, a real bonus. Getting the record trip was really the icing on the cake.”

By 15:00 AEDT on 29 December, 13 yachts had finished the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart including two of the international entries: KLC Bengal from Japan and Ambersail from Lithuania. Last year’s winner, Loki, has so far come closest to unseating Wild Oats XI. Finishing last night at just before 21:00 even she was two hours adrift on corrected time. Black Jack, which arrived an hour before Loki, lies in third overall. Chris Bull’s Jazz holds fourth.

Victorian yacht Calm had appeared to have the best opportunity of the yachts destined to arrive before dawn today. Needing to finish before 01:31, she was behind schedule yesterday afternoon. Owner Jason Van der Slot believed they would pick up pace but had not counted on stalling close to the finish: “We parked for two hours off Tasman Island and for an hour in the Derwent. We were aiming to finish in time to win and up to Tasman Island we were on track. It had all gone according to plan until then.” She eventually finished at 06:06 this morning and holds fifth place.

Five yachts have retired so far and, for the 58 yachts still racing, a difficult evening lies ahead. In the lee of northeastern Tasmania there is a substantial wind shadow. From midway down the eastern seaboard to Tasman Island spindrift is flying off 3 metre waves in a 26 – 36 knot west-southwesterly. These conditions are forecast to prevail through much of 30 December too.

Wild Oats approaching the Hobart finish for 2012 Line Honors (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

 
        
 
On the morning of 28 December 2012, Wild Oats XI once again stamped her name in the Rolex Sydney Hobart history books. From the moment the start gun fired on Boxing Day the silver wraith seemed intent on condemning her rivals for line honours to the position of also-rans. Wild Oats XI’s finish time of 1 day 18 hours 23 minutes and 12 seconds sliced 16 minutes 58 seconds off her own record. Another commanding performance in a race she has begun to treat as her own.

 

Without doubt skipper Mark Richard’s crew of thoroughbred racers had some luck, but their race was not without problems. The first night saw the wind drop in the scheduled transition and her opponents close down the lead she had worked to establish during the afternoon. The crew held their nerve and once the northeasterly settled in they were off.

Ragamuffin-Loyal’s endeavours to stay in touch with Wild Oats XI were hampered by a headsail gear failure from which the 100-foot maxi never recovered; Syd Fischer’s equally accomplished crew forced to accept the unwelcome role of bridesmaid. Ragamuffin-Loyal finished almost five hours behind Wild Oats XI. Had the apparent error of starting the race too early been converted to a penalty, her crew’s sense of disappointment would have been complete. Fortunately, the International Jury found that race officials failed to notify Ragamuffin-Loyal after five minutes that they had jumped the start, leaving the crew unaware that they should have returned and restarted.

By 20:30 AEDT only four yachts had completed the 628 nm course. Lahana rounded out the maxi contingent just before 19:00, while Black Jack was the first mini maxi some 40 minutes later. Loki and Ichi Ban will be next home. None have so far been capable of posting a time that knocks Wild Oats XI off the overall podium position. The door may be open for a smaller yacht if the weather obliges. Calm, Jazz, Quest and Shogun look best placed to foil a second triple crown. They need the wind to shift substantially in their favour, something it has singularly failed to do so far.

Wild Oats XI near finish (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)

MALUKA OF KERMANDIE the smallest yacht in the fleet by Daniel Forster

MALUKA OF KERMANDIE the smallest yacht in the fleet (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)

The 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart got underway in exceptional conditions. The forecast southerly breeze providing the perfect angle for a spinnaker start and run down the harbour. The angle would prove less kind as the yachts exited the Sydney Heads and made their turn towards Hobart, finding the 20 – 25 knots now firmly on the nose. Mark Richards and Wild Oats XI looked to be in no mood to be interrupted in her bid to claim a sixth line honours, blasting off the line and showing Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin Loyal a clean pair of heels before popping out of the Heads comfortably in the lead.

 
 
An interesting night lies ahead. The decision how far to head out to sea was the first conundrum facing the crews. So far the bulk of yachts appear firm in the belief that staying inshore, and inside the rhumb line will pay better. Only, one or two boats have shown a determination to head offshore for any length of time. Mike Broughton, navigator on Chris Bull’s Jazz, felt ahead of the start that the fleet would do well to stay inshore for the initial section of the race, certainly until the major swing in wind direction expected during the night. This transition should see the wind back to the northeast and will have the yachts running under spinnaker for an extended period.

 
Start of the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart
Earlier this morning, Gordon Maguire, tactician on Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki, indicated some of their pre-race routing suggested the bigger yachts could profit enormously from the predicted northeasterly. If it arrives on cue, they could bite a huge chunk out of the course during the hours of darkness and be lying off Green Cape by mid-morning on the second day, 27 December. The small boats, meanwhile, such as race veteran Roger Hickman’s Wild Rose, might only find themselves parallel with Jervis Bay as dawn breaks. The difference in power between segments of the fleet will be all too apparent at this juncture.

 

Wild Oats XI leads out of Sydney Harbor (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

WILD OATS XI, after the start
At 17:30 AEDT Wild Oats XI was 8 nautical miles north east of Kiama travelling at 12 knots, with some 50 nm under her belt after 4.5 hours of sailing. Any thought of setting a new record seemed to be on hold as navigator Adrienne Cahalan called in to report the wind speed dropping as evening arrives. Ragamuffin Loyal lies within striking distance just astern. Lahana, Ichi Ban and Black Jack round out the top five on the water. Conditions have been wet and hard on crews during these first few hours and the measure of performance differential between front-runners and back markers is clearly demonstrated by Charlie’s Dream. Averaging just 3.4 knots, Peter Lewis and crew were parallel with Botany Bay having knocked a mere 13 nm off the 628nm course distance.

Black Jack charges down the harbor by Daniel Forster

Black Jack charges down the harbor (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)

The start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart is like few other yacht races. The natural amphitheatre formed by the deep-water harbour offers great viewing potential from the water, at water level from the beaches and coves, and grandstand opportunities from higher ground. Every Sydney-sider has a favourite location, and South Head must be one of the most popular and dramatic. A huge crowd always assembles to watch the fleet barrel down the harbour and make the sharp out into open water. This year’s spectacle was worth the effort involved. After a dreadful Christmas Day, when rain and wind battered Sydney, Boxing Day has been a joy. Blue sky and reasonably warm temperatures brought the locals out in their thousands to cheer the determined and enthusiastic crews off on their compelling adventure.

 

Crowds on the South End enjoy the spectacle. (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Entries

Abracadabra 5612 New South Wales Tripp 47
AFR Midnight Rambler 8338 New South Wales Ker 40
Akatea NZL8710 New Zealand Cookson 50
Ambersail LTU1000 Lithuania Volvo 60
Ariel A140 New South Wales Beneteau First 40
Asylum YC10 South Australia Sydney 38
Aurora N3 New South Wales Farr 40 – One Off
Black Jack 52566 Queensland Reichel Pugh 66
Blunderbuss RQ4000 Queensland Beneteau First 40
Brannew 9988 New South Wales Beneteau First 40 Cr
Breakthrough 6834 New South Wales Beneteau First 40
Brindabella 10000 New South Wales Jutson 79
Calm SM5252 Victoria TP52
Carbon Credits 6669 Queensland Beneteau First 45
Celestial-Assistance Dogs 421 New South Wales Rogers 46
Charlie’s Dream RQ1920 Queensland Bluewater 450
Chutzpah R33 Victoria IRC 40
CIC Technology Inca F111 Aust Capital Territory Vickers 41
Copernicus 6689 New South Wales Radford 12
Corporate Initiatives 7407 New South Wales Beneteau First 40.7
Cougar II 5200 Tasmania TP52
Dekadence S20 Victoria DK46
Duende ESP6100 New South Wales JV52
Dump Truck A6 Tasmania Ker 11.3
Enchantress SA346 South Australia Muirhead 11
Eressea 6590 Queensland Hanse 415
Finistere F108 Western Australia Davidson 50
Flying Fish Arctos 7551 New South Wales McIntyre 55
Frantic GBR5211 New South Wales TP52
Geomatic M495 Victoria Hanse 495
Halcyon R75 Victoria Beneteau First 40
Helsal III 262 Tasmania Adams 20
Holdens Secret Mens Business YC3300 South Australia Reichel Pugh 51
Icefire R6572 New South Wales Mummery 45
Ichi Ban AUS 03 New South Wales Jones 70
Illusion 5356 New South Wales Davidson 34
INSX SM5985 Victoria NSX 38
Jazz Player S390 Victoria Bakewell – White 39
Jazz 5299 New South Wales Cookson 50
Kioni 6146 New South Wales Beneteau First 47.7
KLC Bengal 7 JPN4321 Japan Humphreys 54
Lahana 10081 New South Wales 30m Maxi
Living Doll R55 Victoria Farr 55
Local Hero 1236 New South Wales BH 36
Loki AUS 60000 New South Wales Reichel Pugh 63
Love & War 294 New South Wales S & S 47
Luna Sea 8339 New South Wales Hick 35
Lunchtime Legend RQ14 Queensland Beneteau First 40
Maluka of Kermandie A19 Tasmania Ranger
Martela 7075 Tasmania IMX 38
Merit 8679 Queensland Volvo 60
Occasional Coarse Language Too 8008 New South Wales Sydney GTS 43
Ocean Affinity RQ64 Queensland Marten 49
Papillon 6841 New South Wales Archambault 40RC
Patrice Six 360 New South Wales X41
Peugeot Surfrider 7771 New South Wales Beneteau 45
Primitive Cool S777 Victoria Farr 40 Mod
Quest 52002 New South Wales TP 52
Ragamuffin Loyal SYD100 New South Wales Elliott 100
Rikki NZL8008 New Zealand Reichel Pugh 42
Rush B45 Victoria Corel 45
Sailors with disAbilities 6953 New South Wales Nelson Marek 52
She 4924 New South Wales Olsen 40
Shogun 6952 Victoria JV 52
Southern Excellence NOR2 New South Wales Volvo 60
St Jude 6686 New South Wales Sydney 47
This Way Up RF360 Western Australia Sydney 36CR
Toybox 2 MH4 New South Wales XP 44
TSA Management MH60 New South Wales Sydney 38
Tusitala SAM1 Samoa Goss 60
Two True YC400 South Australia Beneteau First 40
Veloce SM602 Victoria Elliott 44CR
Wicked SM4 Victoria Beneteau First 40
Wild Oats XI 10001 New South Wales RP100
Wild Rose 4343 New South Wales Farr 43
Zen 3838 New South Wales Sydney 38

Syd Fischer and Tony Ellis (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)

 

The 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race promises to be one for the true believers; if you admire people who constantly challenge your values, fire your imagination, refuse to quit when the going gets tough, can’t be told that they are too old, are too stubborn to give it away and who keep coming back for more, then this year’s race is a Christmas present you’ll never forget.

At centre stage of the race, again run by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, is Sydney yachtsman Syd Fischer, a national living treasure who is still in the grip of finish line fever. At the age of 85, when most men of his age might be shuffling around a retirement village in their slippers with their trousers braced up around their chest, Fischer wants to win line honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht race – again.

He’s taken over the boat to do it, Investec Loyal, last year’s first across the line. The 100-foot super maxi becomes the latest iteration of Fischer’s Ragamuffin series, Ragamuffin Loyal.

Syd – lean, leather-skinned, laconic, highly competitive and still the subject of discussion for his exploits on and off the water – personifies Sydney: he won’t lie down.

The challenge he mounts at the front of the 80-boat fleet caps off an indifferent year for Australian sport internationally, a disastrous year for world cycling, but a great year for Australian sailing.

We had success at the Olympics with Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page in the 470 Men’s, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen in the 49er, Tom Slingsby in the Laser and Olivia Price, Nina Curtis, and Lucinda Whitty in the Women’s Match Racing in the Elliott 6. The TV coverage at the superb Weymouth venue has reinvigorated interest in sailing and helped to demystify it for non-sailors.

Fischer will be on his 44th Sydney-Hobart. He has already won line honours wins with Ragamuffin in 1988 and 1990, with an overall win in 1992 aboard an updated Ragamuffin.

This year he is leasing Investec Loyal with a view to knocking off five-time line honours winner and race record holder (1:18:40:10 set in 2005) Wild Oats XI, whose skipper, Mark Richards, is just young enough to be his grandson.

Last year Loyal, skippered by owner Anthony Bell, beat Wild Oats XI in the fourth closest finish in the race’s history; three minutes and eight seconds.

This month Richards and Wild Oats XI recaptured a psychological advantage over Fischer by taking line honours in the 180 nautical mile Cabbage Tree Island Race, when Ragamuffin Loyal had to drop her mainsail after a pin dropped out of the port runner block. Sailing with a scratch crew, Fischer made repairs, but was unwilling to risk the rig. It must be noted she was eight miles behind Oats at the time and contesting her first ocean race with Fischer.

Prior to winning last year’s race, Loyal was second across the line in 2010 and fourth in 2009. Not only has Fischer leased Loyal for the next two Hobart races, he will buy it outright when the lease runs out.

For this year’s Hobart race, Fischer will have right-hand man, Tony Ellis, and David Witt as boat captain. Ellis will sail his 46th race (one behind the record), but will sail his 40 together with Fischer, while Witt was one of Australia’s best known 18ft skiff sailors in the 90s. He made the transition to ocean racing, via the great events: the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Melbourne-Osaka double-handed race and the Volvo Ocean Race.

Asked at today’s official launch if there are many arguments between him and Fischer on the boat, Ellis said: “We’ve had plenty of cross words over the years – but it stays on the boat.” Does Ellis win any of the arguments? “Syd’s won a few arguments with me,” Ellis quipped.

When asked about the crew that will be onboard for the Hobart race, Ellis said, “We’re going to have a pretty well rounded crew by the time we get to the start line… Andrew Cape (multiple Volvo Ocean Race and Rolex Sydney Hobart yachtsman) is going to come and navigate for us. The last time we sailed together (the 1992 Hobart), we won the race overall.

Geoff Huegill, the Aussie swimming legend and former butterfly world record holder, is back, sailing aboard the same boat he did his first race on in 2010; Ragamuffin Loyal. “To be part of a crew that has such great experience behind them is something that I am really looking forward to,” he said.

“Once you’ve got the bug for sailing it really gets you – the teamwork aspect is an opportunity that I really enjoy,” Huegill commented.

The hardest part of his first race, the retired swimmer said, was “Sleep deprivation – but I’m used to it now, because I have a 10 month old baby,” he said.

Owner, Bob Oatley, has gone back to the drawing board with Wild Oats XI after her defeat in the Derwent last year. Oats had been no match for Loyal in light weather. She keeps her retractable daggerboards that were fitted before last year’s race, but she has a new retractable, centreline fin, three metres aft of the bow.

The aim of all three is to reduce leeway, but they are each used in different phases of light weather sailing, the forward fin being used first before being retracted. In addition, there is a new fitting on the bulb of the keel, whose role is to minimise ‘tip vortex’, curling water at the tip of the bulb that can reduce lift.

Skipper, Mark Richards said at the official Rolex Sydney Hobart launch today, “Last year’s race was a great race all the way until the finish, but Loyal was quicker in light air – and we’ve made some radical modifications to rectify that. We’ve tested the new set-up and it’s
working well.”

This then is the battle royale to which we can look forward to at the front of the fleet, the old bull versus the young bull for the fastest boat at sea, but there will be other contenders.

Peter Millard and John Honan’s 98ft maxi Lahana is back after finishing third across the line in 2010 and 2011. Also on the front row of the grid is Grant Wharington’s Wild Thing, which took line honours in 2003, when she was named Skandia. The 98 footer has undergone modifications ahead of the race, including being lengthened to 100 feet.

Last year’s overall race winner, Stephen Ainsworth’s Reichel/Pugh 63 Loki, is back to defend her title and still appears to be the boat to beat. In August, the CYCA boat broke the 13 year-old record for a conventional yacht in the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Race and won the race outright. This month she won the CYCA’s Cabbage Tree Island Race and she goes in to the Rolex Sydney Hobart as the pre-race favourite.

On board again are sailing master Gordon Maguire and navigator Michael Bellingham. Ainsworth has also declared this is his last. He will be selling Loki and spending future Christmases with his family (unless he suffers the Fischer Syndrome at some stage).

Fischer first took line honours in 1988 in a gale-strewn race that ended with one of the smallest boats in the fleet, the Davidson 34, Illusion, win the race outright. Illusion is back as well this year, this time in the hands of Kim Jaggar and Travis Read.

The two bought the boat in April and, according to Jaggar, have spent more on its reconfiguration than the actual purchase. They are seeking to reduce the boat’s rating by going to a masthead kite, smaller headsails and a longer spinnaker pole. It will sail with a crew of eight.

“We’d like to beat Hicko (Roger Hickman’s Wild Rose) and Simon (Simon Kurts’ Love & War),” Jaggar said, “but it has to be right race for us.”

Love & War is always a sentimental favourite for handicap honours in the race. Peter Kurts won the race in 1974 and 1978 and, after his death in January 2005, son Simon gave the nod for his navigator Lindsay May to sail the wooden boat to Hobart the following year.

May sailed her to an emotional third win in 2006 and is back in his role as navigator, while Peter’s son Simon will skipper the yacht with his 21-year-old son Phillip having his second crack at the race.

Bob ‘Robbo’ Robertson’s top performing Queensland yacht Lunchtime Legend is on a mission, coming off a win in the Magnetic Island Race Week series and second in both the Audi Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach Race Weeks.

“This is our year; we have to do it this year,” Robertson said, having built and launched the Beneteau 40 in time for the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart race and scoring a highly creditable third in IRC Division 4 after scoring the exact same overall time as Andrew Saies’ same design Two True (SA) and in the company of pacesetters of the calibre of Hickman’s Wild Rose (NSW) and David Rees’ Whistler from Tasmania.

This time, Lunchtime Legend has a younger crew fired up, Robertson says, after the Australian successes at the London Olympics: “That has done so much to get young people involved again in sailing. I reckon our average age will be 20 years lower than in the 2011 race.”

This is a strong fleet of 80 boats: four maxis and nine previous winners of the major trophy, the Tattersall’s Cup, presented to the overall winner.

Joining Illusion, Loki, Love & War, Wild Rose and Wild Oats XI in the previous winners’ club are Geoff Boettcher’s 2010 winner Secret Men’s Business 3.5, Andrew Saies’ 2009 winner Two True, which is one of four South Australian entries, Bob Steel’s 2008 winner Quest and Luna Sea, which won the nightmare 1998 race as AFR Midnight Rambler, which is now in the hands of James Cameron.

Anthony Lyall’s Cougar II, which was second overall in 2008 in the hands of Victorian Alan Whiteley, leads the Tasmanian contingent in this year’s race. She has just won the Maria Island Race in record time and claimed the treble of record, line honours and overall win.

All states and the ACT have boats in the fleet with the NSW fleet numbering 43, Victoria 13, Queensland nine, Tasmania and South Australia four each, WA two, the ACT one and there are four overseas entries.

The overseas boats include the first Lithuanian entry, Ambersail (Simonas Steponavicius), a Volvo 60 that had been the Assa Abloy training boat for the 2001/2 Volvo Ocean Race.

Beneteaus make up the biggest design contingent, 12 of them, all in the 40-foot range. Two True and Lunchtime Legend will be up against the other form boat, the reigning Blue Water Point Score champion, Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victoire and the chartered Balance, now known as Peugeot Surfrider, which will feature a mostly French crew headed by Sebastien Guyot.

Once again, David Kellett will lead an experienced team on the Radio Relay Vessel (RRV), JBW, which accompanies the fleet to Hobart each year, generously loaned again by John Winning. Young Endeavour will act in the role of Communications Support Vessel to the RRV this year, under command of LCDR Michael Gough, Commanding Officer STS Young Endeavour.

The CYCA’s annual race starts at 1pm AEDT on Boxing Day, December 26 on Sydney Harbour. The fleet will sail from two start lines off Nielsen Park. The start will be broadcast live on the Seven Network throughout Australia, webcast live to a global audience on Yahoo!7 and the Australia Network throughout the Asia Pacific Region.

By Bruce Montgomery, Rolex Sydney Hobart media team

THE 2012 RACE

YACHT NAME SAIL NUMBER STATE / COUNTRY TYPE
Abracadabra 5612 NSW Tripp 47
AFR Midnight Rambler 8338 NSW Ker 40
Akatea NZL8710 New Zealand Cookson 50
Ambersail LTU1000 Lithuania Volvo 60
Ariel A140 NSW Beneteau First 40
Asylum YC10 SA Sydney 38
Aurora N3 NSW Farr 40 – One Off
Black Jack 52566 QLD Reichel Pugh 66
Blunderbuss RQ4000 QLD Beneteau First 40
Brannew 9988 NSW Beneteau First 40 Cr
Breakthrough 6834 NSW Beneteau First 40
Brindabella 10000 NSW Jutson 79
Calm SM5252 VIC TP52
Carbon Credits 6669 QLD Beneteau First 45
Celestial-Assistance Dogs 421 NSW Rogers 46
Charlie’s Dream RQ1920 QLD Bluewater 450
Chutzpah R33 VIC IRC 40
CIC Technology Inca F111 ACT Vickers 41
Copernicus 6689 NSW Radford 12
Corporate Initiatives 7407 NSW Beneteau First 40.7
Cougar II 5200 TAS TP52
Dekadence S20 VIC DK46
Dodo* HKG2238 NSW Andrews 52
Duende ESP6100 NSW JV52
Dump Truck A6 TAS Ker 11.3
Enchantress SA346 SA Muirhead 11
Eressea 6590 QLD Hanse
Finistere* F108 WA Davidson 50
Flying Fish Arctos 7551 NSW McIntyre 55
Frantic GBR5211 NSW Tp52
Geomatic M495 VIC Hanse 495
Halcyon R75 VIC Beneteau First 40
Helsal III 262 TAS Adams 20
Icefire R6572 NSW Mummery 45
Ichi Ban AUS 03 NSW Jones 70
Illusion 5356 NSW Davidson 34
INSX SM5985 VIC NSX 38
Jazz Player S390 VIC Bakewell – White 39
Jazz 5299 NSW Cookson 50
Kioni 6146 NSW Beneteau First 47.7
KLC Bengal 7 JPN4321 Japan Humphreys 54
Lahana 10081 NSW 30m Maxi
Living Doll R55 VIC Farr 55
Local Hero 1236 NSW BH 36
Loki AUS 60000 NSW Reichel Pugh 63
Love & War 294 NSW S & S 47
Luna Sea 8339 NSW Hick 35
Lunchtime Legend RQ14 QLD Beneteau First 40
Maluka of Kermandie A19 TAS
Martela 7075 TAS IMX 38
Merit 8679 QLD Volvo 60
Occasional Coarse Language Too 8008 NSW Sydney GTS 43
Ocean Affinity RQ64 QLD Marten 49
Papillon 6841 NSW Archambault 40RC
Patrice Six 360 NSW X41
Peugeot Surfrider 7771 NSW Beneteau 45
Primitive Cool S777 VIC Farr 40 Mod
Quest 52002 NSW TP 52
Ragamuffin Loyal SYD100 NSW Elliott 100
Rikki NZL8008 New Zealand Reichel Pugh 42
Rush B45 VIC Corel 45
Sailors with disAbilities 6953 NSW Nelson Marek 52
Secret Men’s Business 3.5 YC3300 SA Reichel Pugh 51
She 4924 NSW Olsen 40
Shogun 6952 VIC JV 52
Southern Excellence NOR2 NSW Volvo 60
St Jude 6686 NSW Sydney 47
This Way Up RF360 WA Sydney 36CR
Toybox 2 MH4 NSW XP 44
TSA Management MH60 NSW Sydney 38
Tusitala SAM1 Samoa Goss 60
Two True YC400 SA Beneteau First 40
Veloce SM602 VIC Elliott 44CR
Wicked SM4 VIC Beneteau First 40
Wild Oats XI 10001 NSW RP100
Wild Rose 4343 NSW Farr 43
Wild Thing AUS10 NSW Jones 100 Maxi
Zen 3838 NSW Sydney 38

 

Lilla - IRL 7600 - CNB Briand 76 yacht skippered by Simon De Pietro (Photo by Daniel Forster/PPL)

Lilla - IRL 7600 - CNB Briand 76 yacht skippered by Simon De Pietro (Photo by Daniel Forster/PPL)

Hamilton, Bermuda, June 21, 2012 – ‘Lilla’, the big red Briand 76 (IRL7600) owned by Simon and Nancy De Pietro of Cork, Ireland and Mattapoisett MA, sailed a fast straight-forward Newport Bermuda Race and won Class 13 in the Cruiser Division. ‘Lilla’ also took first place in the whole Cruiser Division and will be presented with the Carleton Mitchell Finesterre Trophy for first place.

True - USA 22  - J160  production yacht yacht skippered by Howard B Hodgson Jnr (Photo by Daniel Forster/PPL)

True - USA 22 - J160 production yacht yacht skippered by Howard B Hodgson Jnr (Photo by Daniel Forster/PPL)

‘Lilla’ led classmate ‘True’, a J-160 owned by Howard Hodgson of Ipswich MA by 1 hr 17 min on corrected time for the win in class and division. ‘True’ was second in both Class 13 and the division. Third place in the Cruiser division went to ‘Odyssey’ a Swan 55 sailed by Glenn Dexter from Halifax NS.

And there is Icing on the cake for ‘Lilla’. In 2011 she raced in the Marion to Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race and set the 645-mile course record from Marion MA to Bermuda at 68:58:45. That performance last year and her top finish in the Newport Bermuda Race earn her the Bermuda Ocean Cruising Yacht Trophy presented by SAIL Magazine. This special combined competition trophy goes to the captain who has the best performance in consecutive Newport Bermuda and Marion Bermuda races. ‘Lilla’ sailed from Newport this time— a 10-mile shorter course in 63:17:13, some 5 hours and 41 minutes faster.

“The only problem we had,” said navigator Nancy De Pietro, “was getting water to the forward head and shower. The water tank we were using was aft, on the port side [That was the high side on the long port tack all the way down from Newport] and the pump had trouble because it was sucking air up there.”

“The one great thing about sailing on this type of boat is that we get to shower after coming off of every watch,” said Simon De Pietro with a smile.

Not having water for showers would have been a crisis for this cruiser crew… all good friends and family. It was an international crew with sailors from Ireland, the Dutch West Indies, England, Canada, South Africa and the USA. ‘Lilla’ has a comfortable 3-cabin layout and is used for charter as well as offshore racing.

In addition to doing the Bermuda Races, she has also done the Caribbean 600. She is an aluminum yacht with just 8.5-foot draft. She does not go to weather well but on a reach her waterline works and she is good and fast. The De Pietros thought of entering the St. David’s Lighthouse Division but needed to be able to use the power winches.

‘True’ a 53 foot J-160— also in Class 13— finished an hour behind ‘Lilla’ Her navigator Richard Casner of Dedham MA said, “The conditions were perfect for ‘True’ we had entered as a non-spinnaker boat and we think that paid off. We were right next to the Swan 60 ‘Lady B’ when she set a chute and we were able to walk away from her. The double headsail rig we used was just right for this boat in this race.”

The Newport Bermuda Race had 6 divisions and 17 classes. The Cruiser division had 30 entries. More than 100 prizes will be awarded Saturday evening on the lawn of Bermuda’s Government House. His Excellency Mr. George Fergusson the Governor of Bermuda will present the prizes along with Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Commodore John Brewin and the Cruising Club of America Commodore Dan Dyer.