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)

 

Wild Oats XI (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Wild Oats XI (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Entries for the 70th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race officially closed on the evening of Friday 31 October. The resulting line-up of 119 yachts – set to be the event’s largest in a decade – is befitting of such a historic occasion. The presence of five 100 foot Maxis will steal the news headlines, but the impressive nature of the fleet stretches far beyond the fastest boats. Adding lustre to the occasion are a host of yachts that have won the race before, ten international entrants, and an array of Australian crews spearheaded by sailors with over 40 editions of the race to their name.

In keeping with tradition the race starts at 13:00 local time on 26 December, Boxing Day, from Sydney Harbour. The destination is Hobart, Tasmania over a famous 628-nautical mile racecourse. The competition has been sponsored by Rolex since 2002 and forms an integral part of its triumvirate of offshore races comprising the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

Comanche raider

At the front of the fleet, the quest for line honours promises to be open and competitive. Bob Oatley’s 100-ft Wild Oats XI has been the fastest yacht on the water in seven of the last nine race editions. Experience, guile and knowledge of the conditions ensure the Mark Richards-skippered yacht starts as favourite in the race to be first to finish.

Comanche VPLP 100 (Photo © George Bekris)

Comanche VPLP 100 (Photo © George Bekris)

Anthony Bell, line honours winner in 2011, will be one of those hoping to knock Wild Oats XI off her stride. His yacht Perpetual Loyal has strong pedigree in the race and an excellent crew, which includes 2010 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Tom Slingsby.

Comanche VPLP 100 (Photo © George Bekris)

Comanche VPLP 100 (Photo © George Bekris)

A layer of the unknown has been introduced with the entry from the United States of Jim Clark’s Comanche. Clark has made a bold statement – shipping his brand new 100 foot Ken Read-skippered yacht to Sydney immediately following its October launch in New England. This will be the boat’s first race – the ultimate baptism of fire! Clark has sought to dilute expectations, asserting Comanche was not designed with the Rolex Sydney Hobart in mind, and pointing to a lack of preparation time: “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.”

COMANCHE FIRST SAIL VIDEO 

The fourth 100-ft Maxi to watch is Ragamuffin 100. Owner Syd Fischer, at 87 years of age and with 45 Rolex Sydney Hobarts to his name, has virtually rebuilt  Ragamuffin 100 fitting its original deck to a new hull. The ultimate competitor, including line honours winner at the Rolex China Sea Race last April, he has more knowledge of the race than almost any other entrant. Completing the line up of 100 foot Maxis, is the outsider – American entrant RIO 100 previously competed in the race under the guise of Lahana and counts expert American navigator Peter Isler as part of its crew.

Chasing Victoire

The history of the Rolex Sydney Hobart proves that the overall winner of the race can come from anywhere within the fleet. Prevailing conditions often determine whether the larger or smaller yachts are favoured. In 2013, Darryl Hodgkinson’s 50-ft Victoire claimed victory following in the wake of a diverse range of recent winners Two True (40-ft, 2009), Loki (60-ft, 2011) and Wild Oats XI (100-ft, 2012). Victoire is seeking to become the first boat to successfully retain the Tattersall’s Cup since the mid-1960s.

International influence

In keeping with its international reputation and wide global interest, the Rolex Sydney Hobart always welcomes an array of foreign entrants who have to overcome the added logistical challenge of shipping or sailing their boat to Sydney. Along with American entrants Comanche andRIO 100, yachts from the Cayman Islands, Germany, New Zealand, Poland and the United Kingdom add foreign glamour to the 119-strong fleet.

NIKATA  in heavy seas (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

NIKATA in heavy seas (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Festive atmosphere

Pre-race celebrations will include a Parade of Sail of historic Rolex Sydney Hobart entrants before hundreds of thousands of spectators ashore and on the water in Sydney. The race start will be broadcast live throughout Australia and also webcast live to a global audience. Given the wide interest in this 70th edition, victory will have an extra coat of fulfilment.

INVESTEC LOYAL (Photo by Daniel Forster)

INVESTEC LOYAL (Photo by Daniel Forster)

The serious countdown to the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has officially begun, with the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge taking place on Sydney Harbour today.
The SOLAS Big Boat Challenge is traditionally one of the busier days on the Harbour for spectator vessels. This year the 15 or so entrants, ranging in size from 100 foot super maxis to 50 foot grand prix racers can expect less traffic around them, but a ton of on board action.
“It’ll be an exciting race,” said Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards yesterday as he and Wild Oats XI’s race crew were preparing to don wet weather gear and complete a practice run around the 14 nautical mile SOLAS Big Boat Challenge track, which today takes them two and a half times around Sydney Harbour to the finish off the Opera House.
For the sailing novices on Anthony Bell’s 100 foot INVESTEC LOYAL, today’s challenge will provide some insight into what might be around the corner come Boxing Day. Olympic wheelchair racer Kurt Fearnley, Roosters five-eighth Anthony Minichiello and Channel 9’s Karl Stefanovic will taste plenty of salt water and better understand the rigours of ocean racing when they join rugby legends and past participants, Phil Waugh and Phil Kearns, and the rest of the professional race crew for today’s SOLAS Big Boat Challenge. Former racing great and record breaking winner Neville Crichton will also join Anthony Bell’s loyal for SOLAS big boat race.
Peter Millard, co-owner of the 98 foot Lahana arrived back on a flight from the US yesterday and when told of today’s forecast, said, “Then we definitely need to go out training today.”
Two of Lahana’s 21-strong crew have flown in from Europe and a handful more have arrived from interstate to take part in the annual Harbour spectacle, with the largest yachts in town preparing for the 12.30pm start off Steele Point, Vaucluse.
“It’ll be good to have testing conditions today, but we won’t be taking any risks that might put a speed bump in our Rolex Sydney Hobart preparations,” said Millard. “We want to see a lot of pressure today and for the great race. We’re hoping for a southerly all the way to Hobart.”
Making her Australian debut in the race will be Victorian Rob Hanna’s recent acquisition, theTP52 Shogun. Hanna purchased the near-new former Audi Azzurra from Europe, where it has been successfully competing on the MedCup circuit. Hanna’s main intention is to beat the other Australian ownedTP52’s at major events, including Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan, which is also contesting the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge.

 

List of Entries

10000 BRINDABELLA Jim Cooney Jutson 80 1.4100
ESP6100 DUENDE Damien Parkes IMS 52 1.2900
5980 FUTURE SHOCK Craig Ellis Elliott 57 1.3500
601 GINGER Leslie Green Swan 60 1.3769
AUS521 HOOLIGAN Marcus Blackmore TP52 1.382
SYD100 INVESTEC LOYAL Anthony Bell Elliott 100 1.911
10081 LAHANA Millard/ Honan Bakewell White 30m 1.683
AUS60000 LOKI Stephen Ainsworth Reichel Pugh 63 1.517
SM11 SCARLET RUNNER Robert Date RP 52 1.363
AUS280 SHOGUN V Robert Hanna TP52 1.383
NOR2 SOUTHERN EXCELLENCE Andrew Wenham Volvo 60 1.3200
AUS21 SPIRIT Graeme Wilson IACC 1.3658
SM24 TERRA FIRMA Nicholas Bartels Cookson 50 1.327
10001 WILD OATS XI Robert Oatley Reichel Pugh 100 1.954
M10 WILD THING Grant Wharington Jones 98 Maxi 1.805

To view the course maps go to http://www.cyca.com.au/editorial.asp?key=760

By Lisa Ratcliff/CYCA media

Terra Firma In 2010 Sydney Hobart (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)

Terra Firma In 2010 Sydney Hobart (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)

December 26th is normally a day of rest, those that celebrate Christmas wholeheartedly using the opportunity to relax from the feasting and excess. Not so the crews of the 93 yachts currently aiming to be on the start line of the 67th Rolex Sydney Hobart. Boxing Day, as the Commonwealth nations refer to the second day of Christmas, is no time to be sitting idle. With 628 nautical miles ahead of them, the notorious Bass Strait ‘Paddock’, and a rendezvous with ‘a quiet little drink’ in Hobart, they have plenty to do and to think about.

 

According to Garry Linacre, Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the organising authority for the contest, “This year’s race has attracted a great group of yachts with an exciting mix of brand new, recently acquired and well established boats that will provide strong competition for line honours and through the divisions. The race for the elusive Tattersall’s Cup for overall honours will again be absorbing.” All Australian states are represented on the entry list, and six international entries will sail for France, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.

The newest yacht in the race is likely to be the Ker 40 AFR Midnight Rambler (AUS), launched in September and co-owned by Ed Psaltis, Bob Thomas and Michael Bencsik. Psaltis and Thomas are best remembered in the context of the race as having won overall the infamous 1998 edition, on a previous iteration of AFR Midnight Rambler. By contrast the oldest yacht is the 79-year old 9-metre Maluka of Kermandie (AUS), skippered by Sean Langman. Langman is one of the race’s current crop of true characters. Unlike Psaltis and Thomas, he may not have won the race overall, or taken line honours. But he entertains with his entries and tries as hard as any to realise the dream. In 2002, Langman defied conventional wisdom in bringing his 66 foot ‘skiff on steroids’, Grundig, home safely and in the second fastest time ahead of several larger maxi yachts.

Maluka is not just the oldest, but she is the smallest. Dwarfed by the 100-footers in size and technology. Wild Oats XI, the Reichel Pugh designed canting keeler, which set the current course record holder of 1 day 18 hours 40 minutes 10 seconds in 2005, is aiming for a sixth line honours win from seven starts. Up against her is Anthony Bell’s similar-sized Investec Loyal. What Investec Loyal lacks in winning pedigree compared to Wild Oats, she makes up for with an eclectic crew that accommodates some of the world’s best sailors and a number of Australian sporting celebrities, including the two-time Rugby World Cup winner Phil Kearns and former world title boxer Danny Green.

 The combination of the East Australian Current and the rapidly changing weather contribute to the challenge of navigating the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. 

   
Also on the Investec roster is the American navigator, Stan Honey. A Volvo Ocean Race winner with ABN AMRO One, Honey has raced on many of the sailing world’s recent winning and record-breaking projects. Almost oddly, he has only attempted the Rolex Sydney Hobart once before in 2006; “I’ve only raced in one Hobart race in the past, 2006, in which I navigated ABM AMRO One.  We had just taken the lead from Wild Oats, when we lost our mast. Maximus (now Investec Loyal) was also dismasted that same night, at about the same time.  So I have started but never finished a Hobart Race.” For the man that navigated the trimaran Groupama 3 to a record breaking round the world run in 201O, the Rolex Sydney Hobart remains one of the most prestigious and toughest of the major ocean races. Honey says; “I am delighted to have the opportunity to participate in another race.  The combination of the East Australian Current and the rapidly changing weather contribute to the challenge of navigating the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.”

Loki (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Loki (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Honey is not the only American to be racing this year. Rives Potts’ 48-foot Carina (USA) is making the pilgrimage from the east coast of the USA via the 2011 Transatlantic Race, the Rolex Fastnet and a few places in between, “Carina is being delivered to Australia by my son Walker and my nephew Rives. She has just left Bora Bora with around 3,000 miles to go and should be in Sydney by mid-December.” Beneath this seeming air of nonchalance, Potts comes to the fray with some form in 600-mile offshore tests of seamanship. He was part of Ted Turner’s Tenacious crew that won the 1979 Fastnet. And, whilst she has classic lines, Carina has proved adept at performing offshore to her handicap, winning the 2010 Bermuda Race and her class in this year’s Rolex Fastnet.

 it will most likelybe rough and cold  Rives Potts, Carina (USA)
Like Honey, Potts is looking forward to taking on the southern hemisphere’s most famous race, “this is my first Rolex Sydney Hobart but from what I have read and from all of the stories I have heard from my sailing mates who have done the race before, it will most likely be rough and cold. We would like to sail a good, safe race and to push as hard as we can. Winning would be the best, but I am sure that every other competitor feels the same.”

 

Another yacht participating this year with half an eye on the main prize is Chris Bull’s Jazz. Remarkably for such a seasoned campaigner, well-known in the northern hemisphere, Bull has not yet managed to win one of the big 600-mile offshore races, helping show how remarkable are the achievements of those that do. Bull has come mighty close. At last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart he comfortably won his class, but was ousted from pole position for the main prize by Geoff Boettcher’s Secret Men’s Business 3.5. The second time this has happened in this race. He hopes to go one better this year. The Jazz crew comprises a number of foreign nationals aiming to help him in this goal. Amongst them is Maltese sailing-legend Christian Ripard. Ripard is another coming to race with form and ambition, and, may prove the lucky charm Bull needs. In October, Ripard won the 606-nautical mile Rolex Middle Sea Race having finished second in the 2010 edition. Ripard was in Bull’s crew in the Rolex Sydney Hobart last year. Could history be about to repeat itself?

Jazz is a Cookson 50. In recent years, much of the pre and post race comment has been about yachts of around this size with some highly competitive entries, including a number of optimised TP52s. The 84-year Syd Fischer may be the elder statesman of the Rolex Sydney Hobart, but with a fourth place in the 2008 race on his TP52 Ragamuffin (AUS), he demonstrated the qualities of these yachts and his determination not to be outdone by younger competitors. Amongst the five TP52s entered this time, two are racing under the colours of Hong Kong adding a touch of Asia to proceedings.

Anthony Day’s Ffreefire features a crew that lives or has resided in Hong Kong or Singapore and is one that has been sailing offshore together for many years on this boat. With Russ Parker, Rear Commodore of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, onboard the team relishes the challenge of the race and is hoping for a convincing performance. The second Asiatic TP52 is Geoff Hill’s Strewth, which finished third overall in the 2010 Rolex China Sea Race. Hill is harnessing the undoubted navigational talents of Lindsey May, who was the winning skipper of Love & War in 2006.

Whilst any number of sailors and adventurers will be setting out on their first Rolex Sydney Hobart, including one of Australia favourite daughters, around the world yachtswoman Jessica Watson, who at 18 is leading a crew whose average age is just 19, kudos should be given to Tony Cable, who plans to embark on his 46th race. That is two-thirds of the total number Rolex Sydney Hobarts so far held, and certainly suggests that Cable is not one who enjoys a leisurely Boxing Day.

The 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart starts from Sydney Harbour at 13.00 AEDT on 26 December.

How To Follow Event??
Further information on the Rolex Sydney Hobart may be found at www.rolexsydneyhobart.com

 

Birds Eye of 2010 Sydney Hobart Start (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Birds Eye of 2010 Sydney Hobart Start (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Secret Men's Business 3.5, Overall Winner (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster )

Secret Men's Business 3.5, Overall Winner (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster )

It was a bright and windy morning today when boat owners, crews, friends and family gathered on the lawn of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania in warm sunshine for the official prize-giving for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2010. The races’ rich 66-year history provides for an impressive collection of race booty: intricately crafted silver trophies, hand-carved half models, and unique awards. His Excellency, the Honourable Peter Underwood, Governor of Tasmania, was on hand again this year to present the awards, along with Hobart’s Lord Mayor Rob Valentine; David O’Bryne, representing the Premier of Tasmania; the CYCA Commodore Garry Linacre; RYCT Commodore Graham Taplin; Patrick Boutellier of Rolex Australia; and Barbara McGregor, from Tasports.

trophies-by-daniel-forster

Rolex Sydney Hobart Trophies (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster )

This was one of the more “classic” Rolex Sydney Hobarts in recent years because of the heavy weather and rough seas that boats and their crews encountered—a hallmark of this well-known ocean race. The race started with a ‘Southerly buster’ during the first night, with the fleet of 87 starters encountering winds that reached 40 to 50 knots. Those gale-force winds and the resulting monstrous seas took their toll and saw a steady stream of boats retire due to steering damage, torn sails and engine problems, and for one unlucky yacht, a dismasting. After two days, 18 boats were forced out of the race, retiring because of the adverse weather conditions and resulting damage to boat and equipment. Following that, boats and crew had to contend with getting across the notorious 100 nautical mile wide Bass Strait. By the race end, winds lightened somewhat and boats at the back of the fleet had trouble getting enough wind to get up the ten-mile stretch of Derwent River to the finish line in Hobart. Race favourite, Robert Oatley’s 100-foot maxi Wild Oats XI picked up the line honours as expected for a fifth time. In the end, it was the medium-sized boats that had the advantage, such as the 51-footer, Geoff Boettcher’s Secret Men’s Business 3.5, which was the overall handicap winner of this year’s race. The yacht won IRC Overall and IRC Division 1 titles. About the race, Boettcher said, “It was a boyhood dream to win this race. I just can’t believe I’m here.” He also thanked his talented and dedicated crew for their help. “These boys are fantastic,” he said.

secret-mens-business-35-by-daniel-forster

Secret Men's Business Crew ( Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster )

The Reichel Pugh 51 was extensively modified last year, and Boettcher attributes these modifications to helping with the win. “With the modifications we were able to point much better, and we increased the hull length while we were at it,” he said. A highlight of this morning’s presentation was when Investec Loyal maxi yacht skipper Sean Langman received the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Trophy for second overall on elapsed time. Showing true sportsmanship at its best Langman said, “I’d like to acknowledge every single competitor in this year’s race, which was more a test of the human condition than just a boat race.” Langman went on to say that, as he often does, he greeted the last boat, Wave Sweeper, when it arrived into King’s Pier Marina, “To me that boat really epitomises what this race is about. Wave Sweeper stopped off in Eden and dropped off an injured crew. They had a whole lot of damaged sails, but still pushed on.” When Langman saw them arrive, he said they looked dejected for coming in last. In a touching tribute Langman said, “But to me, they really came in first. I’d like to give the crew of the Wave Sweeper a hearty congratulations for their effort.” While their can only be one winner, Langman’s attitude—that just finishing the race makes you a winner resonated with the father and son team aboard the US entry, Dawn Star. Keen sailors and competitors Bill and Will Hubbard shared a life long dream of sailing in a Rolex Sydney Hobart, what has become known as the world’s toughest ocean going race. The 76-year old Hubbard said of the race, “I can honestly say it was the worst race and the best race I’ve ever done—and that’s the honest to God’s truth. The second day was hell on earth. I’ve never been so unhappy and thought that I made a major error in judgment.” Bill Hubbard, 26, said the race was, “Wet! It was a test of endurancem but we got here.” At one point during the race south, Dawn Star was hit by a freak wave and knocked down, sending two crew members overboard. “Their safety gear keep them from being lost,” admitted the younger Hubbard. And with a twinkle in his eye, the sunburned and unshaven elder Hubbard looked back on the adventure that was the 2010 Rolex Sydney Hobart and said, “The fourth day was the most fantastic day on the water we’ve ever spent. The wind was perfect. The weather was perfect and in that night every star in the sky was out. It was beautiful.” The Polish Trophy is presented to the yacht travelling from the furthest point to compete. This year’s winner was Alberto Biffignandi’s One Life, which was sailed on an extended cruise by family and friends from Santa Margherita Ligure to Sydney. Biffignandi said the name of his boat is meant to inspire others. The affable Italian said, “You only have one life; you should go now or you never will.” The entries for this the 66th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race included six international yachts from the USA, UK, Italy, France, as well as two partly crewed Russian boats, and entries from seven of the eight Australian states and territories.

Wild Oats , Line Honors Winner (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster )

Wild Oats , Line Honors Winner (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster )

RESULTS LINE HONOURS Wild Oats XI, Robert Oatley (NSW/AUS), Reichel/Pugh 100 IRC OVERALL Secret Mens Business 3.5, Geoff Boettcher (SA/AUS), Reichel/Pugh 51 DIVISION LEADERS IRC Div 0: Jazz, Chris Bull, (VIC/AUS), Cookson 50 IRC Div 1: Secret Mens Business 3.5, Geoff Boettcher IRC Div 2: Victoire, Darryl Hodgkinson (NSW/AUS), Beneteau First 45 IRC Div 3: Paca, Philippe Mengual (NSW/AUS), Beneteau First 40 IRC Div 4: Ray White Spirit of Koomooloo, Mike Freebairn (QLD/AUS), S&S 48 PHS Div 1: NSC Mahligai, Murray Owens & Jenny Kings (NSW/AUS), Sydney 46 PHS Div 2: Flying Fish Arctos, Martin Silk (NSW/AUS), McIntyre 55 Sydney 38: Eleni, Tony Levett (NSW/AUS), Sydney 38 ORCi 1: Jazz, Chris Bull ORCi 2: Victoire, Darryl Hodgkinson ORCi 3: Copernicus, Greg Zyner, (NSW/AUS), Radford 12 Cruising: OneLife, Alberto Biffignandi, Italy, Amel

Ringing In The New Year At The Finish In Hobart (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster )

Ringing In The New Year At The Finish In Hobart (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster )

 

1 Wild Oats XI Finished    02:07:37:20   11.3        
 Bob Oatley NSW    28 Dec, 8:37pm  
 
2 Investec LOYAL Finished    02:11:11:34   10.6        
 Sean Langman (19) NSW    29 Dec, 12:11am  
 
3 Lahana Finished    02:14:09:44   10.1        
 Peter Millard (1) NSW    29 Dec, 3:09am  
 
 
4 Ichi Ban Finished    02:16:52:55   9.7        
 Matt Allen (21) NSW    29 Dec, 5:52am  
 
5 Wild Thing Finished    02:17:15:29   9.6        
 Grant Wharington (23) VIC    29 Dec, 6:15am  
 
6 Ran Finished    02:17:22:55   9.6        
 Niklas Zennstrom (1) England    29 Dec, 6:22am  
 
 
7 Limit Finished    02:21:30:31   9.0        
 Alan Brierty (7) WA    29 Dec, 10:30am  
 
8 Loki Finished    02:21:33:16   9.0        
 Stephen Ainsworth (13) NSW    29 Dec, 10:33am  
 
9 Rodd & Gunn Wedgetail Finished    02:23:44:50   8.8        
 Bill Wild (6) QLD    29 Dec, 12:44pm  
 
 
10 Living Doll Finished    03:00:18:35   8.7        
 Michael Hiatt (5) VIC    29 Dec, 1:18pm  
 
11 Shogun Finished    03:00:18:54   8.7        
 Rob Hanna (4) VIC    29 Dec, 1:18pm  
 
12 Jazz Finished    03:00:20:19   8.7        
 Chris Bull (3) NSW    29 Dec, 1:20pm  
 
 
13 Pretty Fly III Finished    03:00:33:18   8.7        
 Colin Woods (4) NSW    29 Dec, 1:33pm  
 
14 Secret Men’s Business 3.5 Finished    03:00:42:10   8.6        
 Geoff Boettcher (21) SA    29 Dec, 1:42pm  
 
15 Terra Firma Finished    03:07:27:42   7.9        
 Nicholas Bartels (7) VIC    29 Dec, 8:27pm  
 
 
16 Ragamuffin Finished    03:07:43:15   7.9        
 Syd Fischer (41) NSW    29 Dec, 8:43pm  
 
17 Vamp Finished    03:08:36:59   7.8        
 Mikhail Muratov/Roger Hickman (33) Russia    29 Dec, 9:36pm  
 
18 Merit Finished    03:09:18:53   7.7        
 Leo Rodriguez (2) QLD    29 Dec, 10:18pm  
 
 
19 Titania of Cowes Finished    03:12:11:29   7.5        
 Richard Dobbs United Kingdom    30 Dec, 1:11am  
 
20 Chutzpah Finished    03:13:03:30   7.4        
 Bruce Taylor (29) VIC    30 Dec, 2:03am  
 
21 Victoire Finished    03:15:41:40   7.2        
 Darryl Hodgkinson NSW    30 Dec, 4:41am  
 
 
22 Ocean Affinity Finished    03:15:42:52   7.2        
 Stewart Lewis (3) QLD    30 Dec, 4:42am  
 
23 Extasea Finished    03:15:44:39   7.2        
 Paul Buchholz VIC    30 Dec, 4:44am  
 
24 AFR Midnight Rambler Finished    03:17:04:53   7.1        
 Ed Psaltis (29) NSW    30 Dec, 6:04am  
 
 
25 Cadibarra 8 Finished    03:20:46:20   6.8        
 Paul Roberts (7) VIC    30 Dec, 9:46am  
 
26 Helsal III Finished    03:23:17:17   6.6        
 Rob Fisher (17) TAS    30 Dec, 12:17pm  
 
27 St Jude Finished    03:23:31:37   6.6        
 Noel Cornish (3) NSW    30 Dec, 12:31pm  
 
 
28 Valheru Finished    03:23:42:32   6.6        
 Anthony Lyall (9) TAS    30 Dec, 12:42pm  
 
29 Patriot Finished    03:23:56:51   6.5        
 Tony Love (5) QLD    30 Dec, 12:56pm  
 
30 NSC Mahligai Finished    04:00:09:23   6.5        
 Murray Owen (4) NSW    30 Dec, 1:09pm  
 
 
31 Patrice Six Finished    04:00:17:51   6.5        
 Tony Kirby (25) NSW    30 Dec, 1:17pm  
 
32 Dodo Finished    04:00:26:32   6.5        
 Rick Christian NSW    30 Dec, 1:26pm  
 
33 Wasabi Finished    04:01:50:30   6.4        
 Bruce McKay (1) NSW    30 Dec, 2:50pm  
 
 
34 Krakatoa II Finished    04:01:57:34   6.4        
 Rod Skellet (11) NSW    30 Dec, 2:57pm  
 
35 Tevake II Finished    04:02:02:10   6.4        
 Angus Fletcher (1) VIC    30 Dec, 3:02pm  
 
36 Paca Finished    04:02:08:45   6.4        
 Philippe Mengual (1) NSW    30 Dec, 3:08pm  
 
 
37 Eleni Finished    04:02:59:17   6.3        
 Tony Levett (6) NSW    30 Dec, 3:59pm  
 
38 Another Challenge Finished    04:02:59:46   6.3        
 Chris Lewin(3) VIC    30 Dec, 3:59pm  
 
39 Zen Finished    04:03:27:06   6.3        
 Gordon Ketelbey (7) NSW    30 Dec, 4:27pm  
 
 
40 L’Ange De Milon Finished    04:03:30:58   6.3        
 Jacques Pelletier France    30 Dec, 4:30pm  
 
41 L’Altra Donna Finished    04:03:59:53   6.3        
 Andy Kearnan NSW    30 Dec, 4:59pm  
 
42 Copernicus Finished    04:04:14:22   6.3        
 Greg Zyner (3) NSW    30 Dec, 5:14pm  
 
 
43 She’s The Culprit Finished    04:04:21:29   6.3        
 Todd Leary (2) TAS    30 Dec, 5:21pm  
 
44 LMR Solar Finished    04:04:38:13   6.2        
 Michael Martin (2) NSW    30 Dec, 5:38pm  
 
45 Local Hero* Finished    04:04:46:09   6.2        
 Peter Mosely NSW    30 Dec, 5:46pm  
 
 
46 Secret Men’s Business #1 Finished    04:05:03:05   6.2        
 Ross Trembath (13), Rob Curtis (4) NSW    30 Dec, 6:03pm  
 
47 Flying Fish Arctos Finished    04:05:15:17   6.2        
 Martin Silk (1) NSW    30 Dec, 6:15pm  
 
48 Ray White Spirit of Koomooloo Finished    04:06:48:11   6.1        
 Mike Freebairn (7) QLD    30 Dec, 7:48pm  
 
 
49 Shepherd Centre Finished    04:07:44:11   6.1        
 Hugh Torode (1) NSW    30 Dec, 8:44pm  
 
50 Scarlet Ribbon* Finished    04:09:03:06   6.0        
 Richard Buxton VIC    30 Dec, 10:03pm  
 
51 Obsession Finished    04:09:06:57   6.0        
 Nikita Brilliantov NSW    30 Dec, 10:06pm  
 
 
52 Chancellor Finished    04:09:13:20   6.0        
 Ted Tooher (5) NSW    30 Dec, 10:13pm  
 
53 Geomatic Joker Finished    04:09:16:49   6.0        
 Grant Chipperfield (1) VIC    30 Dec, 10:16pm  
 
54 Onelife* Finished    04:10:26:35   5.9        
 Alberto Biffignandi Italy    30 Dec, 11:26pm  
 
 
55 Allegro Finished    05:00:54:11   5.2        
 John Taylor (15) NSW    31 Dec, 1:54pm  
 
56 Mille Sabords Finished    05:00:56:38   5.2        
 Stephane Howarth VIC    31 Dec, 1:56pm  
 
57 Wahoo Finished    05:00:56:54   5.2        
 Graham Mulligan NSW    31 Dec, 1:56pm  
 
 
58 Aurora Finished    05:00:58:56   5.2        
 Jim Holley (22) NSW    31 Dec, 1:58pm  
 
59 Crossbow Finished    05:01:07:53   5.2        
 David Stenhouse (1) & David Cutcliffe (5) NSW    31 Dec, 2:07pm  
 
60 Abracadabra Finished    05:01:18:49   5.2        
 James Murchison (6) NSW    31 Dec, 2:18pm  
 
 
61 Blunderbuss Finished    05:01:21:40   5.2        
 Tony Kinsman QLD    31 Dec, 2:21pm  
 
62 She Finished    05:01:22:34   5.2        
 Peter Rodgers (15) NSW    31 Dec, 2:22pm  
 
63 Dawn Star* Finished    05:01:47:36   5.2        
 William Hubbard III USA    31 Dec, 2:47pm  
 
 
64 CIC Secure Inca Finished    05:02:26:31   5.1        
 Noel Sneddon (5) ACT    31 Dec, 3:26pm  
 
65 Young Ones Finished    05:02:56:59   5.1        
 Ian Miller (2) VIC    31 Dec, 3:56pm  
 
66 Illusion Finished    05:03:00:36   5.1        
 Jonathan Stone NSW    31 Dec, 4:00pm  
 
 
67 Charlie’s Dream Finished    05:03:39:49   5.1        
 Peter Lewis (2) QLD    31 Dec, 4:39pm  
 
68 Polaris of Belmont Finished    05:03:42:56   5.1        
 Chris Dawe (6) NSW    31 Dec, 4:42pm  
 
69 Wave Sweeper Finished    05:06:08:30   5.0        
 Morgan Rogers (2) NSW    31 Dec, 7:08pm  
 
 
 Alchemy III* Retired – at Port           
 Jarrod Ritchie TAS      
 
 Bacardi* Retired – at Port           
 Martin Power (8) VIC      
 
 Brindabella* Retired – at Port           
 Jim Cooney NSW      
 
 
 Calm Retired – at Port           
 Jason Van der Slot (5) VIC      
 
 Exile* Retired – at Port           
 Rob Reynolds (1) NSW      
 
 Jazz Player* Retired – at Port           
 Andrew Lawrence (1) VIC      
 
 
 Nautical Circle* Retired – at Port           
 Matthew Prentice (1) NSW      
 
 Nemesis Retired – at Port           
 Jeffery Taylor USA      
 
 Pirelli Celestial* Retired – at Port           
 Sam Haynes NSW      
 
 
 Salona II* Retired – at Port           
 Phillip King (13) NSW      
 
 Scarlet Runner* Retired – at Port           
 Robert Date (2) VIC      
 
 Shamrock* Retired – at Port           
 Tony Donnellan (1) VIC      
 
 
 Shining Sea* Retired – at Port           
 Andrew Corletto (1) SA      
 
 Southern Excellence* Retired – at Port           
 Andrew Wenham (4) NSW      
 
 Swish* Retired – at Port           
 Steven Proud (3) NSW      
 
 
 Two True* Retired – at Port           
 Andrew Saies (5) SA      
 
 Wot Eva* Retired – at Port           
 David Pescud (19) NSW      
 
 Yuuzoo* Retired – at Port           
 Ludde Ingvall (7) NSW      
 
 
 

Notes
Local Hero – awarded 30 minutes redress under RRS 62.1(c) for coming to the assistance of Bacardi
Scarlet Ribbon – cruising division boat
Onelife – cruising division boat
Dawn Star – 40 minutes redress granted under RRS 62.1(c) for locating and sinking a liferaft lost from Titania of Cowes
Alchemy III – boom damage
Bacardi – broken mast
Brindabella – damaged mainsail
Exile – steering damage
Jazz Player – damaged mainsail
Nautical Circle – Engine problems
Pirelli Celestial – Sail damage
Salona II – Steering Problems
Scarlet Runner – Sail damage
Shamrock – damage to rudder bearing
Shining Sea – Broken Rudder
Southern Excellence – At Sydney
Swish – radio damage – heading to Sydney
Two True – Engine problems
Wot Eva – engine problem
Yuuzoo – torn headsail