Please select your home edition
Edition
PredictWind.com 2014

SOLAS Big Boat Challenge - Mat Belcher to join Wild Oats XI crew

by Rob Mundle on 9 Dec 2013
Wild Oats XI at full speed while crossing Bass Strait during her record-breaking run in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 2012. The new hydrofoil wing will help lift her bow over waves in the 2013 event. Brett Costello/News Ltd © http://www.news.com.au
The SOLAS Big Boat Challenge gets underway on Sydney Harbour tomorrow. Australian Olympic Gold Medalist, and the International Sailing Federation’s World Sailor of the Year, Matt Belcher, will step into a new world tomorrow when he joins the crew of Rolex Sydney Hobart race record holder, Wild Oats XI.

The Big Boat Challenge is a curtain raiser for some of the largest and fastest yachts contesting the 628 nautical mile Rolex Sydney Hobart race, which starts on Boxing Day, December 26.

This year’s Big Boat Challenge will see the first-ever showdown between the two 30-metre long supermaxis which are considered to be the fastest in the world – Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI, and Anthony Bell’s Perpetual Loyal. Wild Oats XI will be going for her seventh line honours in the Challenge, and will be hunting for a record-equalling seventh line honours win in the Hobart race. Perpetual Loyal, which has a string of impressive victories in the northern hemisphere to her credit, will be making her racing debut in Australian waters.

'The Solas Big Boat Challenge is an excellent test for the crew as we prepare for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race,' Wild Oats XI skipper, Mark Richards, said today. 'However, regardless of the result, it can’t be considered a guide for the big race to Hobart because they are two very different contests. The good thing is that because of the intense nature of the course inside Sydney Harbour, there will be no room for error tomorrow: the race demands flawless crew work.'

Tomorrow’s event will be a big step-up for Matt Belcher, who in recent years has dominated the world in 4.7 metre long Olympic 470 dinghy class. Last weekend he re-wrote world sailing history when he secured his 17th consecutive major regatta victory in the class. It was crewman Will Ryan’s 10th straight regatta victory.

'It will be great to be aboard Wild Oats XI with some of the best offshore sailors in the world,' Belcher said. 'I’ve never sailed aboard any yacht so large and so fast. The power and speed of Wild Oats XI is amazing. It will be really interesting to see how it all works.'

Despite having been released from hospital just three days ago, Wild Oats XI’s owner, 85-year-old Bob Oatley, plans to be aboard the yacht tomorrow, and his intention is to steer his yacht for much of the race.

'I’m really looking forward to the Big Boat Challenge,' Bob Oatley said. 'We’ve done a lot to the yacht to improve her speed in preparation for the Rolex Sydney Hobart race, so I’m keen to see how she performs.'

After being out of action for two weeks while a fractured section of her new mast was repaired, Wild Oats XI returned to racing last weekend with an impressive line honours victory, and race record time, for the 118 nautical mile Port Hacking – Bird Island race out of Sydney.

The 2013 SOLAS Big Boat Challenge will start off Steele Point, Vaucluse, at 12.30pm tomorrow. The 14 nautical mile course will take the fleet of 14 yachts twice around Sydney Harbour, before finishing off Opera House.
Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best EyewearCooper Teamwear 660x82 1Jeanneau Sunfast 660x82

Related Articles

Louis Vuitton America's Cup – More action shots by Jude Robertson
Photographer Jude Robertson has provided this gallery of images from day one Photographer Jude Robertson has provided this gallery of images from day one
Posted today at 4:26 pm
Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers –Day 1 images by Jude Robertson
Photographer Jude Robertson has provided this gallery of images from day one Photographer Jude Robertson has provided this gallery of images from day one
Posted today at 4:14 pm
America's Cup - Scary video from today's collision between GBR and JPN
LRBAR's hull not been stopped by SBTJ's windward foil there would have been serious injuries aboard the Japanese boat. All I can say is that had LRBAR's hull not been stopped by SBTJ's windward foil there would have been serious injuries aboard the Japanese boat. Moreover, notwithstanding the damage done to Land Rover BAR's boat, there must be considerable damage to the dagger-foil case of SBTJ. Considerable.
Posted today at 5:23 am
Oracle Team USA opens 35th America's Cup with a convincing win
Oracle Team USA opened its quest for a three-peat with a win over Groupama Team France on Saturday afternoon in Bermuda. In picture perfect conditions, skipper Jimmy Spithill won the first start of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers with a timed run to the starting line.
Posted on 27 May
Thrilling races during tropical 33rd Delta Lloyd Regatta
The organisation was testing new formats for 49er, 49erFX and RS:X. It was a great success and made the finals exciting Medemblik welcomed a lot of talent, including those preparing for World Championships and World Cups, and some starting new Olympic campaigns. There were also many Olympic Rio sailors who’ve just started their season again.
Posted on 27 May
Onboard Phaedo^3's Transpacific Course World Record run across Pacific
The past few years we have had a good share of success with at least one wrong turn in our racing program. When Brian Thompson and I were planning the Phaedo3 program we had a wish list of races and records which would be nice to attempt if we had a MOD70.
Posted on 27 May
Riva Cup – Some more action shots by Elena Giolai
Photographer Elena Giolai has provided this gallery of images of Dyas, 5O5, Korsar Int. 14' classes Photographer Elena Giolai has provided this gallery of images of Dyas, 5O5, Korsar Int. 14' classes
Posted on 27 May
Riva Cup images by Elena Giolai
Photographer Elena Giolai has provided this gallery of images of Dyas, 5O5, Korsar Int. 14' classes Photographer Elena Giolai has provided this gallery of images of Dyas, 5O5, Korsar Int. 14' classes
Posted on 27 May
Photo finishes on final day of 2017 Samui Regatta
A five day regatta can be tough, there were some tired sailors on the beach this morning for the final day showdown A five day regatta can be tough, and after the long four-hour-plus coastal race yesterday, there were some tired sailors on the beach this morning for the final day showdown. Breeze to the South of Chaweng was blowing a healthy eight to 10 knots as Race Officer Ross Chisholm readied the fleet for two windward/ leewards to close out the series.
Posted on 26 May
Delta Lloyd Regatta – Medal race time for 470 and Laser
The wind was a bit tricky but Laser and 470 were able to start as scheduled giving them some time before the medal races An exciting Friday saw the last of the races before the medal races are sailed. The wind was a bit tricky in the morning, but Laser and 470 were able to start their races as scheduled, giving them some time before the medal races to prepare.
Posted on 26 May