Sydney, 26 December 2016 – The great race is underway. The 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, featuring an international fleet of 88 yachts, commenced at 13:00 local time on a perfect Sydney summer’s day. The combination of excellent weather conditions, the sight of the competing yachts sailing full force under spinnaker on the passage through Sydney Heads, and shorelines packed with spectators, set the scene for one of the more memorable race starts in recent times.
The fleet comprises four 100-ft Maxis – CQS, Perpetual LOYAL, Scallywag and Wild Oats XI – all harbouring the ambition of arriving first in Hobart and claiming line honours as fastest finisher. Their hopes have been boosted by the promise of strong conditions. “We are excited by the forecast and that records may be challenged,” revealed John Markos, Commodore of organisers the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA).
Of the Maxis, Perpetual LOYAL was first to clear Sydney Heads and gain an early psychological advantage over her rivals. In close pursuit was the 80-ft Beau Geste and Seng Huang Lee’s 100-ft Hong Kong entry Scallywag.
Fourth to pass the Heads was eight-time line honours winner Wild Oats XI who recovered impressively after an uncharacteristically sluggish start. Given the heavy conditions forecast and need for extra weight on board, Wild Oats XI is carrying a record crew of 22 sailors. “All four Maxis are going to have their moments,” explained Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards. “We don’t know the history of CQS as she is new with a radical design. The Scallywag team have done a lot of yachting this year, their teamwork is good, and they are a different animal to what we have raced against in the last few editions. Perpetual LOYAL are a great team with more talent onboard this year.”
Anthony Bell, owner/skipper of Perpetual LOYAL, was in a confident frame of mind as he prepared for the start. “I think one of the Maxis will break the race record. A lot will come down to what happens when we reach the Tasman coast but a time just inside the current race record is likely.”
Ludde Ingvall has twice won Rolex Sydney Hobart line honours, the last time some twelve years ago on the original version of his current yacht. His much revamped CQS has provided great intrigue. Of the Maxis, CQS suffered the most difficult start and she now finds herself playing catch up as the fleet travel down the New South Wales coast of the Tasman Sea.
The current race record stands at the 1 day, 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds set by Wild Oats XI in 2012.
While the focus during the early hours of the race is on line honours, the contest for the race’s most significant prize, overall victory on race handicap, is the principle target for the competing yachts. Andrew Saies, owner of the 40-ft Two True, won the Rolex Sydney Hobart in 2009 and is returning this year after following the last few editions from the comfort of dry land. “The weather forecast points to a great sail, but perhaps not ideal for our size of boat. To win this race you need a set of particular conditions to come together for your boat to win. It’s extremely hard to win this race.”
The fleet is rich and diverse, featuring yachts as small as 30-ft, seasoned campaigners setting personal records and those like the predominantly Swedish crewed Matador, taking part for the first time. “It has taken a year of preparation and a great challenge getting everything sorted,” revealed owner Jonas Grander. “This is a legendary race and one we’ve read about so many times. It’s my dream to take part.” The final number of starters was confirmed as 88 following the late withdrawal of Jason Bond’s Beneteau 47.7, Enigma.
Rolex has been Title Sponsor of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race since 2002.
Rolex has always sought to associate with activities that, like itself, were motivated by passion, excellence, precision and team spirit. Naturally, Rolex gravitated toward the elite world of sailing, forming an alliance that dates back to the late 1950s. Today, Rolex is Title Sponsor of some 15 major international events. From leading offshore races, such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart and the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race, through to the highest-level one-design competition at the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, spectacular gatherings at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Swan Cup, as well as the brand’s support of World Sailing, the international governing body of the sport, and its close relationships with the most prestigious yacht clubs around the world, including the New York Yacht Club (US) and the Royal Yacht Squadron (Cowes, UK), Rolex is driven by a passion for excellence and a great appreciation for yachting that furthers the strong ties that bind these two worlds in their shared pursuit of perfection.
Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark’s super maxi Comanche pulled off an incredible feat tonight, taking line honours in the 71st edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, winning the Illingworth trophy and a Rolex Yacht Master II timepiece. This was the first time in 17 years that the most coveted title in offshore yacht racing has been won by an American team since Larry Ellison’s Sayonara won in 1998.
Comanche’s official finish time for the 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race was 2 days, 8 hours, 58 minutes and 30 seconds.
Designed to break records, the 100 foot maxi debuted in last year’s edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart and since then has circled the globe, collecting the most prestigious titles in yachting – setting a new 24 hour monohull distance record, line honours in the New York Yacht Club Transatlantic Race and the Rolex Fastnet Race – Comanche’s performance this past year has been unlike anything ever seen in yacht racing. Returning to Australia, seeking the title that they so narrowly missed out on last year, was a Herculean effort, which has paid off nicely.
Despite facing retirement after having suffered significant damage (to a dagger board and rudder) on the first night, skipper Ken Read made the game-changing call to effect repairs and finish the race, saying: “I don’t care if we limp over the line!”
A true test of stamina and determination, the international crew of 21 included co-owner Kristy Hinze-Clark and fellow Australian, America’s Cup winner Jimmy Spithill. Commenting on her first Rolex Sydney Hobart, Hinze-Clark described her experience: “It was really gruelling. Pure terror at one stage. Excitement and now just total joy. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
The French-designed maxi managed to extend their lead this afternoon as they rounded Tasman Island and crossed Storm Bay towards the finish line, putting solid distance between fellow American competitor George David’s Rambler 88, which is expected to finish in the early Tuesday morning (AEDT). Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin 100 is in close pursuit despite having severed their starboard dagger board overnight, crashing through the rough seas.
The 2015 edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has delivered some of the most grueling race conditions since 2004. Almost one third of the fleet of 108 retired in the first 48 hours – the litany of damage included rudders, dagger boards, masts and sails. The remaining teams have their sights set on the finish line in Hobart in hopes of a win on corrected time.
Most of the smaller yachts have only just passed the halfway mark in Bass Strait and as the breeze continues to lighten towards the Tasman coast the Tattersall’s Cup, for overall corrected time winner, is still in play.
On August 18th at 23:57:41 (CET),The maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 was the first boat across the finish line in Plymouth in the 46th Rolex Fastnet Race after a thrilling tactical race in an unusually calm Celtic Sea. For 58 hours, Dona Bertarelli’s and Yann Guichard’s crew raced through erratic winds within sight of their closest rivals, who chased them all the way to the finish line. It was a race full of twists and turns, even in the last few miles, before Spindrift 2 sealed her second victory in as many years. The ocean-going black-and-gold trimaran is better suited to the winds of the Southern Ocean than the unusually calm conditions of this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race, but the French and Swiss crew successfully negotiated this test of teamwork and endurance, which came with just a few months to go until their attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy.
“It’s always a pleasure to come back to this legendary course,” explained Dona Bertarelli at the finish. “The light, unpredictable winds made it all the more difficult. We had to use every last gust to make headway. The race required determination, endurance and teamwork. We had to perform a lot of manoeuvres and we had to test the changes made to prepare the boat for the Jules Verne Trophy. The results were positive from a technical point of view, because our power increased by 20% at certain points of sail.”
Yann Guichard also spoke about the race: “It was my second Fastnet Race and it’s always very exciting to sail around Fastnet Rock. It was a long, slow race, but we learnt a great deal. We saw that the boat is now much quicker in light winds. It was the first race for Spindrift 2 in her new configuration. We’ve got quite a few small tweaks to do here and there. It was a very useful exercise as part of our preparations for the around-the-world record attempt.”
Shortly after finishing the race in Plymouth, the trimaran headed back out to sea to return to her home port of La Trinité-sur-Mer, which she is expected to reach on Wednesday during the day.
Message from the board here.
View the pictures of Spindrift 2 on the Fastnet Race here.
Name: maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2
Central hull length: 40 m
Length of floats: 37 m
Beam: 23 m
Displacement: 21.50 t
Draft: 5.10 m
Air draft: 45 m
Mast height: 42 m
Mainsail: 405 m²
Gennaker max: 560 m²
Gennaker medium: 450 m²
Gennaker mini: 360 m²
Reacher: 260 m²
Staysail: 170 m²
ORC: 75 m²
Maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 schedule:
September – October
Training aboard Spindrift 2.
Jules Verne Trophy
Around-the-world record attempt starting from Ouessant Island (Brittany, France) and circumnavigating the world, passing Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn to port. The current record was set on January 6th, 2012 by the maxi-trimaran Banque Populaire V (Loïck Peyron and thirteen crew members) in a time of 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds, averaging 19.75 knots.
The longest day of the summer came close to delivering the longest J.P.Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race ever as winds ranging from zero knots to painfully light tested the patience of crews with high performance catamaran Team Richard Mille emerging as line honours winner with a time of almost nine hours.
Most of the 1,585 entries started the race around the Isle of Wight in around 3 knots and bright sunshine and as the hours went by, temperatures rose but wind speed dropped leaving hundreds of boats becalmed and a large proportion of the 16,000 crew desperately seeking ways of making their boats go faster or resorting to stretching out on deck to enjoy the sunny conditions.
First to the Needles was Jamie McGarry and Colin Moore’s Swan 45 Eala of Rhu but the going was slow and Sir Ben Ainslie, racing on the Farr 45 Rebel with members of his BAR America’s Cup crew, took longer to complete the first 13 miles than the record-breaking 2hrs 52mins 15secs he took to finish the entire race last year.
Rebel very quickly became involved in a match race with rival Farr 45 Toe in the Water crewed by injured servicemen and women who had served recently in Afghanistan and the lead swapped several times over the 50 nms course though it was Capt Lloyd Hamilton’s ecstatic crew who nudged across the finish line ahead of Ainslie and his team of professionals.
“This means everything to us,” he said recording a time of 8 hrs 51 mins 39 secs.
“Beating Ben Ainslie is better than beating the Taliban for these guys.
“He left us shortly after St Catherine’s Point and flew away but we kept on trying and it is apt when you look at who we have on board because it proves you should never give up.
“The guys are ecstatic at beating Rebel. They don’t know many of the America’s Cup sailors but they know and love Sir Ben Ainslie, so are thrilled.”
Another big battle to ensue on the water was between the brand new high-performance catamarans, the GC32s Team Richard Mille and Spax Solution making their racing debuts in the Solent. Former line honours winner Pete Cumming had gathered together a professional crew for Team Richard Mille, including helmsman Paul Campbell-James and proved consistently faster than their rivals.
They took five long hours to reach St Catherine’s Point where the sea breeze kicked in to give the leading boats a big push over the next two hours towards the finish but just as they were within sight of the line, the wind in Stokes Bay died and their final flourish was delayed by a further hour to record a finish time of 8 hours and 51 mins.
“We have had a great week and to round it off with a line honours win in the 2014 J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race is a fantastic achievement especially in these conditions,” said Cumming who put the project together.
“It wasn’t the easiest race but these boats are superb – very fast even in light airs and fun to sail. We want to thank our sponsors for giving us this opportunity and look forward to working together in the future.”
First monohull across the finish line was Dutch boat Tonnerre de Breskens, with a time of 9 hrs 56 mins 13 secs but they too had a battle royale to gain an advantage over Mike Bartholomew’s Tokoloshe II, which trailed in just 22 seconds later after one of the biggest tests of endurance and patience since the Round the Island Race started in 1931.
A battle royale ensued for Tonnerre de Breskens to gain the advantage over Tokoloshe II to take the monohull win.
Twelve hours after the first start, 246 boats had finished and a further 445 had retired but the rest were still out on the course valiantly trying to make the finish before the cut off time of 10.00pm when the overall race winner and new holder of the Gold Roman Bowl was set to become clear.