Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Sydney Hobart Race 2012 – Ambersail, KLC Bengal cross finish line

by Jim Gale on 29 Dec 2012
Ambersail rounding Tasman Island on Day 4 ROLEX-Carlo Borlenghi
The Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 2012 finally saw its only non-Australasian yachts crossing the finish line on Saturday with only six minutes separating Lithuanian Volvo 60 Ambersail and Japanese KLC Bengal at the end of their 628-nautical mile voyage.

They came the furthest of any yachts to compete in the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart from the other side of the planet, in very different boats, representing very different sailing cultures and traditions, but they finished just minutes apart.

A 12 year old Lithuanian Volvo 60 that roams the world from race to race called Ambersail, and KLC Bengal 7, a two year old Humphreys 54 hailing from Japan arrived in Sydney never having taken part in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 628 nautical mile race before. And Ambersail was the first Lithuanian entry ever.

Yet in a fleet of 76, spread across 140 miles of ocean, this morning the only two non-Australasian boats in the race found they were converged at Tasman light with no other yachts in sight, rounding Cape Raoul and launching into Storm Bay within hailing distance of each other.

The two raced side by side across Storm Bay, match racing the final leg up the Derwent River.

In the end, Ambersail crossed the line six minutes ahead of the Japanese, a very satisfying result for her skipper, Simonas Steponavicius. 'We have met this boat quite a few times before,' he said.

'She used to carry the UK flag and was called Oyster Catcher. She and Jazz are our usual benchmark boats.'

Jazz had already finished five hours earlier, but Steponavicius can live with that this time. 'I am not surprised Jazz did her own thing in her own courtyard,' he said.

There seemed to be nothing that could dent the Lithuanian’s spirits dockside today.

'This is a must do race,' he declared. 'It is exactly what I had imagined - it is tough. The conditions are very changeable. We even got a squall from the Southern Ocean at the entrance to Storm Bay.'

On the other side of Constitution Dock, the Japanese were spraying champagne about the boat and cheering, though skipper Yoshihiko Murase regretted the fish that had got away at Cape Hauy.

'It was a very good race, but not as good as we expected,' he ruefully remarked. 'We had all the TP52s behind us, but after Cape Hauy they passed us.'

Local knowledge says keep well away from the wind shadow created by the Tasmanian coast in a westerly, a lesson no doubt now inscribed in Kanji on a bulkhead deep inside KLC Bengal 7.

'We all enjoyed the scenery down the Tasmanian coast though,' Murase added.

Both boats had covered huge distances to take part in the Rolex Sydney Hobart. Ambersail, the first ever Lithuanian entrant, has covered some 100,000 miles over the years, roaming from race to race.

Normally in November she would have competed in the Rolex Middle Sea Race in the Mediterranean after some racing in America, but this year she turned south from the Caribbean instead.

Steponavicius rates the Middle Sea, the Rolex Fastnet and the Rolex Sydney Hobart the top three races in the world: 'They are all very different,' he says. 'The Middle Sea race is very tactically challenging; sailed in a lot of wind shadows. The Fastnet is also very challenging, with the tides and tidal barriers.

'The Hobart is an ocean race where you sail a big distance from north to south, so there is an extreme change of climate and season. A brilliantly interesting race, it is different from everything we have done,' Steponavicius continued.

'Yesterday we ran with full spinnaker in winds gusting to 25 knots, in a huge swell, at a speed of 27 knots. It was exhilarating, especially at night.

'We sailed from Japan for 33 days non-stop to be here,' said Murase, 'and it was more than worth it.'



Arriving at Sydney City Marine, owner Syd Fischer was on hand to welcome them. 'They looked as fresh as anything and were smiling. Then they told me they were at sea for 33 days. I couldn’t believe it,' Fischer said.

So will they come back?

'Maybe, I will think about that in one or two days,' a tired Murase offered. 'The last part of the race was very hard.'

'I would do my best to come back every year. As often as I can,' the Lithuanian Steponavicius Rolex Sydney Hobary Yacht Race 2012

Henri Lloyd 50 YearsFremantle to Bali Race 660x82Ensign 660

Related Articles

Sydney-Hobart Race 2012 - How the other half lives
'This Way Up' a Sydney 36, was one of the smallest boats in fleet this year but finished well at Sydney to Hobart Race Sydney to Hobart Race 2012. Well Sydney to Hobart Race has come and gone again for another year, and as always, no shortage of coverage of the big end of town and their awe inspiring speed. But there were 77 boats in the fleet, what’s it like at the other end…???
Posted on 30 Jan 2013
Wild Oats XI completes mission after historic treble
Wild Oats XI, Mark Richards capitalized on new technology, hardwork to ease last year’s painful loss The Wild Oats XI and skipper Mark Richards converted the pain of last year’s loss to Investec Loyal to an epic win by pulling off a treble in the 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Posted on 16 Jan 2013
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race – the better mousetrap
Rolex Sydney Hobart 2012 - The grand classic ocean race is remembered for many things. Rolex Sydney Hobart 2012 - The grand classic ocean race is remembered for many things from records and personal achievements, to tribulations and unfortunately, disasters too. 2012 will be no different in that department. However, rising out of the turmoil with a plan and path forward is the Supermaxi, Wild Thing and her enigmatic Skipper, Grant Wharington.
Posted on 2 Jan 2013
Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race video selection
Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2012 - A selection of videos Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2012 - A selection of videos including pre-race drama, 50 Golden Years three part documentary and more footage of the race.
Posted on 2 Jan 2013
Blue Water Point Score 2012 - Ainsworth, Loki part ways on high note
Ainsworth capped four-year partnership with Loki on winning note, bagging the CYCA's Blue Water Point Score (BWPS) Veteran sailor Stephen Ainsworth capped his four-year partnership with his Reichel/Pugh 63 Loki on a winning note, bagging the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Blue Water Point Score (BWPS) after landing second overall in the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.
Posted on 1 Jan 2013
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 – Quartet of honorary gentlemen
Sydney Hobart Race 2012 presented its highest award to John Kirkjian, Peter Campbell, Rowan Johnston and John Honeysett The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 presented its highest award to John Kirkjian, Peter Campbell, Rowan Johnston and John Honeysett for their individual contributions to the Boxing Day spectacle throughout the years.
Posted on 1 Jan 2013
Sydney Hobart 2012 – Maluka of Kermandie's arrival formally ends race
Sydney Hobart race officially ended after Sean Langman-skippered Maluka of Kermandie crossed finish line at 9.40.12pm he Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 officially closed its curtain after Sean Langman-skippered Maluka of Kermandie crossed the finish line at 9.40.12pm, ending up last on line in the 628-nautical mile ocean race for the second consecutive year.
Posted on 1 Jan 2013
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 – Prizegiving on New Year’s Day
Sydney Hobart Race 2012 scheduled to formally award the trophies to the overall and divisional winners on January 1 The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 is scheduled to formally award the trophies to the overall and divisional winners of this year’s Boxing Day Race classic at 11:00am on Tuesday 1 January 2013 at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.
Posted on 31 Dec 2012
Sydney Hobart 2012 – Dump Truckers vow return
Justin Wells, Dump Truck crew vow to compete in 628 nautical mile race after being forced to retire The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 had been a testing journey for 2012 Ocean Racing Rookie of the Year Justin Wells and the crew of Dump Truck, who vowed to make their return in the Boxing Day classic after retiring from this year’s race with the finish line just roughly 100 nautical miles away.
Posted on 31 Dec 2012
Rolex Sydney Hobart 2012 - The match races within the race
The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has been billed as the match races within the race The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has been billed as the match races within the race – long-time foes battling for glory across several divisions, with just seconds separating winner from loser, while many had nervous waits for final results.
Posted on 31 Dec 2012