Emirates Team New Zealand (Photo © George Bekris)

 

In a thrilling winner-take-all final race, Emirates Team New Zealand unhooked itself from a starting buoy to win the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series New York with the high score of 52 points.

Another large crowd, estimated at 100,000, turned out on a sunny day and was treated to some very unpredictable racing. This after over 75,000 came out on Saturday.

Watch a recap here

 

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

No lead was ever safe on Sunday as the wind shifted through wide arcs from the west to the north and ranged anywhere from 5 to 20 knots.

“It was one of those series where everyone had good luck and bad luck, but we got our good luck at the end of the regatta,” said Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby. “It was exciting and crazy at the same time. Today it was important to keep your cool and stay focused.”

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

The Kiwi crew, led by Ashby and World Sailor of the year and Red Bull Youth America’s Cup champion helmsman Peter Burling, was literally dead in the water at the start of Race 3. Crewman Blair Tuke had to jump in the water to unhook the starting buoy’s anchor line from the catamaran’s rudder. Making matters worse, the port hull was punctured by the buoy and water was leaking into the hull throughout the race.

“We saw the buoy coming at us with about 20 seconds to go,” said Ashby. “It wasn’t ideal but we were lucky in the end.”

 

The Kiwi crew’s luck came full circle on the next-to-last leg. They rounded the last windward mark in fifth place, about 42 seconds behind leading SoftBank Team Japan. But as all the crews began the downwind leg they sailed into a patch of no wind that engulfed the course.

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

As the leg was perpendicular to the southerly flowing current, some of the crews were being swept over the course boundary. Land Rover BAR, Groupama Team France and SoftBank Team Japan all were penalized for crossing the boundary in the current.

The Kiwis, further behind, held in the middle of the course and when the wind filled in the Kiwis took off on their hydrofoils at 16 to 20 knots boatspeed, leaving the rest of the fleet gasping in disbelief.

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

At one point during the final race ORACLE TEAM USA looked to be in position to win. Skipper Jimmy Spithill and crew won the start and led around the first two mark roundings. But Dean Barker’s SoftBank Team Japan grabbed the lead by working the right side of the course while ORACLE TEAM USA struggled on the right side. In the end the reigning America’s Cup champion placed second in the race and second for the series.

“The crowd was insane,” said Spithill. “Today was great for the fans. In these conditions you have to roll with the punches and keep fighting. We wanted to win but we’ll take the second place. The Kiwis got a Hail Mary there at the end, but you have to take your hat off to them and congratulate them.”

Third went to Franck Cammas’ Groupama Team France, winner of Race 2. SoftBank Team Japan placed fourth, Land Rover BAR fifth and Artemis Racing sixth.

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

Illustrating just how challenging the day was on the short, confined racecourse, Nathan Outteridge’s crew won the first race going away but was then sixth in Races 2 and 3.

“We got a little bit of luck in the first race and managed to hold on, but we had some terrible moments in the last two races…” said Outteridge. “You can’t get people to come watch sailing if you don’t bring it to them. That’s what we’ve done here. When the America’s Cup is in Bermuda next year, in super high-tech boats, we’ll get some amazing racing.”

The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series now moves onto Chicago, June 10-12. After that it heads to Europe for events in the U.K. in July and France in September.

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series New York Final Standings

1. Emirates Team New Zealand – 52 points
2. ORACLE TEAM USA – 50 points
3. Groupama Team France – 44 points
4. SoftBank Team Japan – 42 points
5. Land Rover BAR – 42 points
6. Artemis Racing – 40 points

 

Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Overall Standings
(After six events)

1. Emirates Team New Zealand – 244 points
2. ORACLE TEAM USA – 236 points
3. Land Rover BAR – 227 points
4. SoftBank Team Japan – 203 points
5. Artemis Racing – 201 points
6. Groupama Team France – 194 points

 

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

 

 

SSV Oliver Hazard Perry will arrive at Fort Adams on Saturday, May 2nd and will be open for public tours the following Saturday through Tuesday. (left: Credit George Bekris, right: credit Onne van der Wal/OHPRI)

SSV Oliver Hazard Perry will arrive at Fort Adams on Saturday, May 2nd and will be open for public tours the following Saturday through Tuesday. (left: Credit George Bekris, right: credit Onne van der Wal/OHPRI)

 

WHAT:     SSV Oliver Hazard Perry Public Showing and Tours

WHEN:     Public Showing May 5th  (afternoon) – May 12th

Public Tours:

Saturday, May 9th – Mon, May 11th (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

Tues, May 12th (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.)

WHERE:  Fort Adams State Park

SSV Oliver Hazard Perry will arrive at Fort Adams on Saturday, May 2nd and will be open for public tours the following Saturday through Tuesday. (left: Credit George Bekris, right: credit Onne van der Wal/OHPRI)

Sailing School Vessel (SSV) Oliver Hazard Perry will make the first-ever visit to her permanent berth at Fort Adams State Park in Newport. She is the first ocean-going full-rigged ship built in America in over a century, and she sails as the Ocean State’s Official Sailing Education Vessel.

The impressive silhouette of SSV Oliver Hazard Perry includes a towering rig, the tallest part of which reaches 13 ½ stories high; a total of 19 spars that have been turned from massive Douglas fir trees on the largest spar lathe in North America; seven miles of rope and wire that have been made integral to the ship’s operation by tradesmen trained in both modern and traditional rigging techniques; and 20 sails, both square and fore-and-aft that total 14,000 square feet.

As a Sailing School Vessel, the Tall Ship will carry not passengers but students of all ages participating in academic and experiential learning programs aboard while engaging in all aspects of shipboard life.

Oliver Hazard Perry (Photo by George Bekris)

Oliver Hazard Perry (Photo by George Bekris)

 

 

Oliver Hazard Perry (Photo by George Bekris)

Oliver Hazard Perry (Photo by George Bekris)

 High School Semester-at-Sea Offered for Winter/Spring 2016

 NEWPORT, RI (April 28, 2015) – A limited number of spaces are available for SSV Oliver Hazard Perry’s High School Semester-at-Sea program scheduled for the Winter and Spring of 2016. This voyage will be conducted by Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island (OHPRI) in partnership with Ocean Classroom, the non-profit organization based in Portland, Maine that has a 20-year tradition of offering trans-formative voyages under sail. Participating students can receive full academic credit for this new 14-week experiential learning program that starts in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands on February 3rd, 2016 and concludes on May 14th in Portland.

Oliver Hazard Perry (Photo by George Bekris)

Oliver Hazard Perry (Photo by George Bekris)

SSV Oliver Hazard Perry will be the platform for a High School Semester-at-Sea program presented by Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island in partnership with Ocean Classroom over Winter/Spring 2016.

While students are aboard the Perry they will participate in all aspects of the ship’s operations as well as follow a specially tailored academic curriculum. Courses taught include marine science, maritime literature, maritime history, applied mathematics and navigation (including some trigonometry), and seamanship skills.

SSV Oliver Hazard Perry is uniquely outfitted for teaching invaluable lessons both above decks and below. Equipped with classroom space, a well-stocked library and full science laboratory, the ship allows faculty and students to learn with the same equipment and facilities as they would use in modern land-based schools.

Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island and Ocean Classroom have partnered to offer a High School Semester-at-Sea program over Winter/Spring 2016.

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Learning the ropes at sea ( Onne van der Wal/OHPRI)

During the program, the ship will make stops at a number of islands and ports, including St. Eustatius; Bequia; Trinidad; Puerto Rico; Cumberland Island, Georgia; Charleston, S.C.; Norfolk, Virginia; New York City; Newport, R.I.; and Bar Harbor, Maine. (Itineraries are subject to change.) On adventures ashore, students will explore local historical sites, natural attractions and museums. There are tentative plans for a service project at Cumberland Island and a beach cookout and evening kayak expedition to study bioluminescence in Vieques (Puerto Rico). In New York, plans are for students to visit the Museum of Natural History, South Street Seaport and the Fulton Fish Market.

Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island and Ocean Classroom have partnered to offer a High School Semester-at-Sea program over Winter/Spring 2016.

Learning the ropes at sea (Photo by  Ocean Classroom)

Learning the ropes at sea (Photo by Ocean Classroom)

SSV Oliver Hazard Perry is the nation’s newest and largest sail training and educational vessel. At 200 feet in length, her 130-foot-tall rig consists of three masts and 20 sails. Below decks, she offers accommodations for 49 people on ocean voyages, a climate-controlled environment, a modern galley, and a full array of electronic navigation and communication gear. As a new vessel, she has been built under the supervision of the U.S. Coast Guard and the American Bureau of Shipping to ensure that she meets, if not exceeds, all safety regulations for worldwide operations.

To learn more about this program and how to apply for one of the limited spaces available, contact OHPRI Executive Director Jess Wurzbacher at 401-841-0080, info@ohpri.org or Ocean Classroom’s Tara Treichel at +1 207-370-2287, admissions@oceanclassroom.org. Apply online at www.oceanclassroom.org

Follow OHPRI on Facebook and Twitter for current news and developments.

Learning the ropes at sea (Photo by  Ocean Classroom)

Learning the ropes at sea (Photo by Ocean Classroom)

 

Lending Club 2 (Photo by George Bekris)

Lending Club 2 (Photo by George Bekris)

Lending Club 2 is slated to cross the start line at Castle Hill Light in the early hours of Sunday morning, 19 April, beginning the passage which is anticipated to earn the team its second world speed sailing record in as many tries.  The Newport to Bermuda course record is currently held by Steve Fossett, who, aboard his 125-foot catamaran Playstation, set a time of 38 hours, 35 minutes and 53 seconds – at an average speed of 16 knots – in 2000.

With ideal conditions predicted, Lending Club 2 – which is capable of speeds over 40 knots – looks likely to complete the 635-nautical mile course in 28 hours or less.  Details on how to follow the team follow below.

  • Live tracking updates every 15 minutes : https://my.yb.tl/lendingclub2/
    •          The Facebook page will include the tracker link and news as it comes in from the boat: www.facebook.com/lendingclubsailing/
    •          This dropbox folder will be updated with new photos as soon as they arrive from the boat : https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ekprgrtkputjuzf/AAAGfMpV8RYNLUyHWCMOXn3ga?dl=0
    •          On Thursday, the Cowes to Dinard record, which the team set just two weeks ago (138-nautical miles in 5 hours and 15 minutes at an average speed of 26.36 knots) was ratified by the World Sailing Speed Racing Council and will be included, as well, in the Guinness World Records.

    Lending Club 2 (Photo by George Bekris)

    Lending Club 2 (Photo by George Bekris)

The Lending Club Sailing team: Co-skippers Renaud Laplanche (FRA/USA) and Ryan Breymaier (USA), who is also the Project Manager; Captain Jan Majer (USA); Navigator Boris Herrman (GER); Roland Jourdain (FRA); Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant (FRA); Stanislas Delbarre (FRA) and Quin Bisset (NZL) who handles onboard media.

About Lending Club 2
The trimaran, designed by VPLP and built in France in 2006, was originally named Groupama 3. Franck Cammas and his crew on Groupama 3 won the Jules Verne Trophy for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe (48 days, 7 hours, 44 minutes, 52 seconds) in the spring of 2010.  The yacht was then modified for solo sailing (principally with a shorter mast) and has been sailed to victory in the last two editions of the Route du Rhum, from northern France to Guadeloupe.

For the record-breaking passages that San Francisco-based Laplanche and co-skipper Ryan Breymaier are undertaking during the 2015 season, the trimaran was chartered and then refitted with its taller rig, bringing the yacht back to full power mode, ideal for crewed record-breaking attempts.

Lending Club Sailing technical partners: Switlik Survival Equipment www.switlik.com; Marlow Ropes www.marlowropes.com; Guy Cotten foul weather gear www.guycotten.com; Events Clothing www.eventsclothing.co.nz; Underwater Kinetics technical equipment www.uwkinetics.com

Lending Club 2 at Newport Shipyard awaiting Newport to Bermuda record attempt  (Photo by George Bekris)

Lending Club 2 at Newport Shipyard awaiting Newport to Bermuda record attempt (Photo by George Bekris)

 

Hanuman by George Bekris

Hanuman by George Bekris

The majesty of the J Class era will return to the America’s Cup eighty years after the class last raced for the oldest trophy in international sport.

The J Class Association (JCA) and the America’s Cup Event Authority have agreed to stage a J Class regatta in Bermuda in June 2017 between the conclusion of the America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs and the America’s Cup Match.

“The J Class era of the America’s Cup is widely recognized as being among the high points in Cup history,” said Russell Coutts, director of the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA).

“When racing for the America’s Cup in the 1930s, the J Class boats embodied grace and power with cutting-edge design and engineering. Having the J Class join us in Bermuda will create a spectacular blend between the old and new.”

The J Class boats will be moored in the America’s Cup Village in Dockyard at Bermuda, providing as elegant a sight at rest as their beauty and power are impressive under sail.

Louise Morton from the J Class Association (JCA), commented: “The America’s Cup organizers have offered the J Class a unique opportunity to be part of the America’s Cup for the first time in eighty years. On behalf of the Owners, Captains and crew, we are delighted to be part of this spectacular event.”

Hanuman (Photo by George Bekris)

Hanuman (Photo by George Bekris)

Racing in the J Class regatta will be organized by the America’s Cup race management team with the final two days of racing expected to straddle the opening weekend of the America’s Cup Match.

The current J Class fleet comprises seven boats, including three original Js, two of which raced for the America’s Cup. The seven J Class boats currently sailing are: Endeavour, Hanuman, Lionheart, Rainbow, Ranger, Shamrock V, Velsheda. An eighth J Class yacht is expected to be launched in May 2015.

J-Class Ranger and Hanuman (Photo by George Bekris)

J-Class Ranger and Hanuman (Photo by George Bekris)

Comanche has unfinished business with Wild Oats XI after being bested by just a few miles due to light airs in the middle of the course (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Comanche has unfinished business with Wild Oats XI after being bested by just a few miles due to light airs in the middle of the course (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

 

As far as the America’s Cup winning skipper Jimmy Spithill is concerned, there is now unfinished business between Rolex Sydney Hobart line honours winner Wild Oats XI and the US supermaxi she beat across the finish line, Comanche.

Spithill was one of six helmsmen on Comanche.

“We can’t leave it at that,” he declared after finishing in Hobart. He says that on his watch this morning the boat reached a top speed of 32 knots and knows what she is capable of.

“Everybody got to see the true potential of this boat at the start. I remember looking up at Kenny (Ken Read, the skipper) and he just had this huge grin from ear to ear. Unfortunately we just didn’t see those sort of conditions again until the end of Bass Strait.”

COMANCHE (USA), 2nd across the line in the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race Finishish Line COMANCHE, Sail n: 12358, Bow n: 58, Design: Verdier Yacht Design & Vplp, Owner: Jim Clark & Kristy Hinze-Clark, Skipper: Ken Read (Phot by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

COMANCHE (USA), 2nd across the line in the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race Finishish Line COMANCHE, Sail n: 12358, Bow n: 58, Design: Verdier Yacht Design & Vplp, Owner: Jim Clark & Kristy Hinze-Clark, Skipper: Ken Read (Phot by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Of course, young James doesn’t pay the bills. Logistically it is impossible for Comanche to come back to Australia next year but is 2016 likely?

Skipper Ken Read deferred to co-owner Kristy Hinze Clark who said it was a matter for the Big Chief, husband Jim Clark.

Ken: “Kristy, they want to know if we’ll be back next year?”

Kristy: “They’ll have to talk to big chief!”

Ken: “Big chief is not going to talk about that now!”

Read reflected on the crucial point of the race – the high-pressure ridge in Bass Strait.

“We were about a quarter of the way into Bass Strait and expecting a westerly breeze, and all of a sudden Stan (navigator Stan Honey) came up from down below and said ‘I just got a new weather file, this is not looking good’.

“We were two miles ahead of them, in bumpy seas, and they literally went by us, probably going a knot or two faster at the time, and they just sailed into more pressure and just kept extending on the whole fleet.

“Both boats sailed a flawless race; but they had their day. They had 12 hours where they had Wild Oats’ weather, but that’s racing.

“You can already see Comanche is already changing sailing as we speak,” Read said.

So after this first race have they identified any changes they will make to the boat?

“Here’s the start of my list,” he said, holding up a piece of paper with top-secret to-dos written on it.

“It’s brand new, we’re just starting. Before this race started, we didn’t know what we didn’t know. We knew we had a good boat right off the start line, the way it just took off on that windy reach.

“Unfortunately we’ve always known we had that one blemish in light air, and that became a dominant feature in the race, so that’s unfortunate for us.”

Designer Xavier Guilbaud said he couldn’t take his eyes off the yacht tracker, keeping notes as Comanche changed angles and the wind circled the compass.

And, he was a bit more forthcoming with his list.

“I’m excited to see Ken’s list, but on top of my own list, what I can see, is work on the weight of the boat to try to lighten her up a bit more, to increase performances in light winds,” he said.

“I’ll discuss with the guys here, a little later, the little bits and pieces on the deck to improve manoeuvres, how the boat is sailed. Then on the sail configuration; how to use each sail, in which condition and improve the sail shapes.

“I think we do have a record breaker on our hands. The real answer will be in June next year when it does the Transatlantic Race. I think the boat is really fast.”

Read was effusive in his praise of the Wild Oats’ crew.

“Wild Oats deserves all its success,” he said, though fate had been against them on Day 2 in Bass Strait when Wild Oats made the better of negotiating a weather ridge that proved the defining moment of the race.

“This was their day; they had their 12 hours; they had Wild Oats’ weather; but that is boat racing,” he said.

“They deserve their eighth record, Lord knows we tried hard to take it from them. This team, our team, did an unbelievable job, and special credit to the boat builders and the design team because Lord knows we tried to break it, and it wouldn’t break.”

By Bruce Montgomery, RSHYR Media

 WILD OATS XI (AUS) set the actual racecourse record in 2012 Race Start - WILD OATS XI, Sail n: AUS10001, Bow n: XI, Design: Reichel Pugh 100, Owner: Robert Oatley, Skipper: Mark Richards  (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

WILD OATS XI (AUS) set the actual racecourse record in 2012 Race Start – WILD OATS XI, Sail n: AUS10001, Bow n: XI, Design: Reichel Pugh 100, Owner: Robert Oatley, Skipper: Mark Richards (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

 

Wild Oats XI  leads the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet in for a record eighth line honours win.  Wild Oats Xi finished the race in a time of  :  2 Days,  2 Hours,  3 Minutes and 26 seconds.

The only yacht capable of denying Wild Oats XI and Mark Richards an 8th win and a place in history was the American Maxi Comanche.  Ken Read and crew gave their best but weren’t able to close the 10 mile gap in the final stretch through Storm Bay and the Derwent River and to the finish line in Hobart, Tasmania.

The Mark Richards-skippered Wild Oats XI extended her lead throughout the second night, taking advantage of a high-pressure ridge in the Bass Strait. Wild Oats XI’s lead proved to big for the Comanche team to overcome.

COMANCHE (USA) crashing through the waves on the way south to Tasmania Race Start COMANCHE, Sail n: 12358, Bow n: 58, Design: Verdier Yacht Design & Vplp, Owner: Jim Clark & Kristy Hinze-Clark, Skipper: Ken Read (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

COMANCHE (USA) crashing through the waves on the way south to Tasmania Race Start COMANCHE, Sail n: 12358, Bow n: 58, Design: Verdier Yacht Design & Vplp, Owner: Jim Clark & Kristy Hinze-Clark, Skipper: Ken Read (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

The remainder of the fleet are compressed coming down the New South Wales coast and expected to benefit from the dramatic increase in breeze forecast from Sunday evening to Monday morning.

Of the 117 yachts which started the race, nice have been forced to retire. The Maxi Perpetual Loyal

Follow the race on the live tracker:

http://www.rolexsydneyhobart.com/tracker/

 

 

Photo By: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Photo By: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

 

Opera House and Harbour Bridge as impressive background for the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart (Phot by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Opera House and Harbour Bridge as impressive background for the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart (Phot by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Seven hours into the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Jim Clark’s 100-ft Maxi Comanche(USA) leads the fleet. A memorable edition of the 628-nm race appears certain, with the contest between the fleet’s five Maxi yachts living up to the pre-race hype.
At 8:00pm local time, Comanche leads seven-time line honours winner Wild Oats XI by one nautical mile, with Anthony Bell’s Perpetual Loyal and Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin 100 just a few miles behind the leading duo. Overnight the breeze is forecast to lighten as a high pressure system approaches. How the frontrunners navigate this transition could be a critical factor in their race.

Comanche makes mark

Racing COMANCHE, Sail n: 12358, Bow n: 58, Design: Verdier Yacht Design & Vplp, Owner: Jim Clark & Kristy Hinze-Clark, Skipper: Ken Read (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)

Racing COMANCHE, Sail n: 12358, Bow n: 58, Design: Verdier Yacht Design & Vplp, Owner: Jim Clark & Kristy Hinze-Clark, Skipper: Ken Read (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)

A fleet of 117 international yachts graced today’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race start. The thousands of spectators lining the shoreline in Sydney were treated to a dramatic start as the leading yachts powered their way out of Sydney Harbour and began the famous 628-nautical mile offshore race to Hobart.

Celebrations for the 70th edition of the race commenced with a Parade of Sail of historic Rolex Sydney Hobart competitors before the race start. A fitting tribute to the race, which has become an international icon since its inauguration in 1945.
Comanche had an incredible start reaching the first course mark at record speed.  Race record holder Wild Oats XI gallantly tried to keep pace, watching in awe as Comanche laid down an early indicator of her potential. “Look at that thing go!,” screamed Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards.

WILD OATX XI (AUS) SAILING TOWARDS HOBART  Racing WILD OATS XI, Sail n: AUS10001, Bow n: XI, Design: Reichel Pugh 100, Owner: Robert Oatley, Skipper: Mark Richards (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster )

WILD OATX XI (AUS) SAILING TOWARDS HOBART Racing WILD OATS XI, Sail n: AUS10001, Bow n: XI, Design: Reichel Pugh 100, Owner: Robert Oatley, Skipper: Mark Richards (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster )

“We couldn’t be more ready at this stage,” admitted Comanche skipper Ken Read shortly before the race start. “The team has done a Herculean effort to get the boat ready. We are here to compete, it’s the fun part of our job.”

“Going into a southerly the first night is always a bit of a challenge,” said Mark Richards going into the race. “(The boat) being ten years old though is a little bit of an advantage for us as we know the boat very well.”

MANOUCH MOSHAYEDI'S RIO 100 (USA), ONE OF FIVE 100FT MAXIS IN CONTENTION  Race Start RIO 100, Sail n: USA2121, Bow n: 98, Design: Bakewell-White 100, Owner: Manouch Moshayedi, Skipper: Manouch Moshayedi (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)

MANOUCH MOSHAYEDI’S RIO 100 (USA), ONE OF FIVE 100FT MAXIS IN CONTENTION Race Start RIO 100, Sail n: USA2121, Bow n: 98, Design: Bakewell-White 100, Owner: Manouch Moshayedi, Skipper: Manouch Moshayedi (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)

Shortly after the start, Peter Isler, navigator on Manouch Moshayedi’s RIO 100 reported: “We are definitely learning our boat in these conditions. It’s very rough, sailing upwind in 25-27 knots, pounding hard into short, steep waves.”

The rough conditions have proved demanding for a number of the fleet with four retirements already recorded.

The race record for leading yachts to beat is 1 day, 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds, set by Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI in 2012.

The Rolex Sydney Hobart is organised by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) and has been sponsored by Rolex since 2002.

Follow the progress of the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht fleet at: http://www.rolexsydneyhobart.com/tracker/

MATT ALLEN'S ICHI BAN DURING THE FIRST EVENING OF THE RACE  Racing ICHI BAN, Sail n: AUS01, Bow n: O1, Design: Carkeek 60, Owner: Matt Allen, Skipper: Matt Allen (Photo by Rolex/Daniel Forster)

MATT ALLEN’S ICHI BAN DURING THE FIRST EVENING OF THE RACE Racing ICHI BAN, Sail n: AUS01, Bow n: O1, Design: Carkeek 60, Owner: Matt Allen, Skipper: Matt Allen (Photo by Rolex/Daniel Forster)