Please select your home edition
Edition
BandG Triton2 AUS 728x90

Rolex Sydney Hobart - its all about timing

by Rob Kothe on 22 Dec 2011
Secret Mens Business 3.5 nears the finish line, winning the Tattersall’s Cup - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2010 Crosbie Lorimer http://www.crosbielorimer.com
Computer driven handicap predictions for the 628 mile Rolex Sydney to Hobart race ignore the fact that most races are won and lost in the last 40 miles from Tasman Light across Storm Bay, past the Iron Pot and up the Derwent.

As we have explained over the years, every ten minutes or so during the race, the computers spit out a new number set, with ranking. At best, these need to be taken with a tablespoon of sea salt.

In the maze of numbers, there is one more important than all the others in deciding if the figures are 'back of the boat fantasy land stuff' or not.

It’s the ETA. Turn Tasman Light at 20:00 and Huey says ‘Good that you could come and thank your mother for the fish’ or words to that effect….

The reason is the factor that has caused heartache and grief in the last 66 Hobart races - the Derwent River goes to sleep at night.

A boat arriving at the Iron Pot 11 miles from the finish line might have averaged ten knots from Eddystone Light to Storm Bay. However it may take two or three or four hours to go the last eleven miles depending just how tired the Derwent is. It seems most Hobart sailors have a story to tell and year after year, they look for sympathy from other sailors, but they don’t get it.

Many a boat has been famous at 20:00 hours, but at 03:00 is drifting up the Derwent.

You see the wind gods use the Sydney Hobart race to remind mortals that most things in life are about timing. So it's way too early to decide a handicap chance, which is most easily done when the boats are tied up in Constitution Dock.

The 2010 Tattetersalls Cup (IRC handicap ) winner Geoff Boettcher's Reichel-Pugh 49 Secret Mens Business 3.5 finished at an almost perfect time 1.42pm.

Not just a few sailors have had the Weather Gate slam in their face; just about every one of us has had a 'Derwent experience.'

(A Sail-World tip - use a lighted candle in a winch socket to find the breeze, it’s more sensitive than cigarette smoke and it winds up the smokers who have been dreaming they would get a quick few puffs on the non-smoking boat in the wee small hours on the Derwent River.)

So we are not going to spend every night during the Hobart race writing feverishly about the half hourly changes in Handicap positions, we are going to have a few Tasmanian Boags or Cascades and do what the Derwent does - go to sleep.
Harken AUS HL Snatch Block 660x82Pacific Sailing School 660x82 1Pantaenius - Fixed Value

Related Articles

It’s all moving on…
The starting point was seeing that Phaedo3 had taken Line Honours in the Newport Harbour YC Cabo Race. The starting point was seeing that Phaedo3 had taken Line Honours in the Newport Harbour YC Cabo Race. I am still thinking about Miles Seddon’s great material about what is like on board from So What’s It Really like? True, he was not there for this run down the West coast of the North American landmass, but it is a little akin to his ‘spray back vortex’, the vacuum caused by the incredible feats
Posted on 20 Mar
MYC Helly Hansen Women's Challenge 2017 - Crosbie Lorimer Images
In what is fast becoming a tradition, the Manly Yacht Club Helly Hansen Women's Challenge keelboat races started off In what is fast becoming a tradition, the Manly Yacht Club Helly Hansen Women's Challenge keelboat races started off in wet weather today (Sunday), before clearing to a fine afternoon. The fleet of 23 yachts enjoyed moderate 15-18 knot east nor'easterlies for their harbour course. Little Nico, skippered by Sonja Walters, with Katie Spithill at the helm, relished the downwind running
Posted on 19 Mar
New Pacific 52 class makes its debut in San Francisco
The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. Invisible Hand for San Francisco's Frank Slootman replaces his earlier RP63 of the same name. She will soon be joined by a second Cookson build, Bad Pack (Tom Holthus) from the same moulds. A third, RIO 52 is for RIO 100 supermaxi owner Manouch Moshayedi.
Posted on 18 Mar
Securely moored to the quay, or cast adrift?
With boating, you have to cast the lines off in order to go and get into it. With boating, you have to cast the lines off in order to go and get into it. However, when it comes to your insurer, you kind of expect that they’re going to be as bound to you as the standing rigging is to the mast, the ring frames to the hull, or the engine mounts to the runners, and the propellers to the shafts, skegs and cutlass bearings. Whom would you rather be insured with?
Posted on 15 Mar
So what’s it really like?
For ages now, these editorials have talked about multihull this, record that, outrageous boat speed and 24-hour runs For ages now, well it seems like that anyway, these editorials have talked about multihull this, record that, outrageous boat speed and incredible 24-hour runs. In their own very unique way they totally represent the technical avant-garde, and thank God for that. Where would we be without their impressive shapes, wonderful rigs, and now of course, foiling magic.
Posted on 6 Mar
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ give first look at the pedaling AC50
Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. The team has been sailing for the previous two days making news headlines after it was revealed in Sail-World.com that the AC50 would become only the second yacht in America's Cup history to use pedal power.
Posted on 16 Feb
America's Cup - Kiwis sign Olympic Cyclist for the Tour de Bermuda
Ttop cyclist Simon van Velthooven, a 2012 Olympic Bronze cycling medallist had been signed by the America's Cup team Emirates Team New Zealand put in a second foiling display on Auckland's Waitemata harbour ahead of the official launching of their AC50 tomorrow. With brighter skies the cycling team took their places on the pedalstals and used leg power to provide the hydraulic pressure necessary to run the AC50's control systems for the foils and wingsail.
Posted on 15 Feb
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Suck it up, sunshine!
The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour, another two million watching on TV, and the constant buzz and whir of media helicopters overhead. 88 boats, from Australia, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Japan, Korea, China, oh and New Zealand, had lined up on three start lines.
Posted on 31 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - More merriment on the airwaves
Here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and Hobart Race Control So on December 29, 2016, after the River Derwent had let just three boats home (Perpetual Loyal, Giacomo and Scallywag, all inside the old race record, she went to sleep for a lot of the day. This made it frustrating for the sailors, some of whom saw the lighter side. So after seeing some of those in Dark & Stormy, here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and HRC
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Sydney Hobart Race-Dark and stormy, well because it is Dark and Stormy
Proving that there is a lighter side to the frustrations that is a race to Hobart Well it is now dark and the rain 'storms' have passed, but proving that there is a lighter side to the frustrations that is a race to Hobart, the custom Murray 37, Dark & Stormy had a wonderful exchange on the radio. Quite possibly it was co-owner and Navigator Terry Courts on the VHF in the super-frank exchange with Hobart Race Control at around 1928hrs on 29/12/16.
Posted on 29 Dec 2016