All Rolex Sydney Hobart yachts expected in for New Year

Wave Sweeper in action
Rolex Sydney Hobart sailors Greg Zyner and Morgan Rogers, respectively owners of the yachts Copernicus and Wave Sweeper, threw the mooring lines at Constitution Dock well-wishers between 6.50am and 7.50am this morning as twelve other yachts still remained at sea.

The two New South Welshmen and their crews arrived in good form, all eager to hit the showers and join in the celebrations with their yachtie mates, some of whom have been partying for over 24 hours now in what has turned out to be a slow race for the mid to small range boats.

Wave Sweeper, the Beneteau 40.7 which had the distinction of finishing last in the 2010, race, lived up to Roger’s expectation of not being last this year. Before leaving the CYCA in Sydney for the Boxing Day start, Rogers promised 'I won’t be last this time – there’s a couple of boats we know we can beat.'

Rogers, whose yacht was the former successful Le Billet, sailed the race with a mostly Russian crew who seemed to have made the difference, although most are novice Hobart sailors.

The 12 yachts remaining at sea are expected into Hobart today, among them Sean Langman’s nine metre gaff rigged Maluka, the American entry Nemesis (Jeffrey Taylor) and John Bankart’s Hanse 400, Eressea, from Mooloolaba in in Queensland.

The trio is expected to vie for the last yacht into Hobart award, but others are nearby, including Not Negotiable owned by John Rayner of Kettering in Tasmania and Derwent Sailing Squadron yacht, Natelle Two, which is in the hands of 22 year-old Laura Roper, who has her experienced dad Glenn and brother, Ashley aboard.

Maluka, which stormed home to eighth overall in her first Hobart in 2006, has Langman’s 18 year old son, Pete, in charge of the boat and his older sister Nicki aboard. The family affair has the wisdom of dad Sean, who will have 22 Rolex Sydney Hobart’s to his credit when Maluka, the smallest and oldest yacht in the race (she turns 70 in 2012) docks in Hobart this afternoon.

Along with Nemesis, Maluka had 40 nautical miles to go to reach the Hobart finish line at 7.45am, while Eressea was a further mile astern. The three are expected to finish this afternoon, but this morning were struggling with light winds which are not expected to pick up until after lunch.

Today the public will have the opportunity to acknowledge the overall winner and some of the divisional winners on the presentation stage at Constitution Dock at 1100 local time.

The official trophy presentation will take place at the RYCT on 1 January.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race website