Yachting Australia President and former CYCA Commodore Matt Allen is mounting a strong challenge for the Rolex Sydney Hobart’s most important handicap trophy, the Tattersall’s Cup with yet another Ichi Ban.
Ichi Ban on her first sail off South Head
His brand new 60 footer, designed by Shaun Carkeek and built by Dubai-based Premier Composite Technologies (PCT) arrived in Australia two weeks ago.
Allen says ‘It is a conventional fixed keel, light displacement boat with plenty of sail area. It’s a powerful strong boat designed for Australian conditions with hydraulic systems and winches.
'Having Neil Cox as the project manager has been great. He ran the Volvo 70 CAMPER build project.
‘The new Ichi Ban came out of the factory exactly on time for the shipping schedule. We dry fitted the keel and the rudder at the factory. The mast and sails were here when the boat arrived into Port Botany on the 11th. So now we are on the water.'
Allen has assembled a very strong crew, including Gordon Maguire, Will Oxley, Phil Hamer, Doug McGain, Darren Senogles, Robert Case, Michael Spies, Anthony Merrington and the list goes on. A good solid ocean racing team, lots of Volvo experience and lots of Sydney to Hobart experience.
Allen continues 'I believe 60ft is a good size for ocean racing and the average wave pattern heading south. 70ft is sometimes too fast for the waves and 52ft is quite small when going upwind in heavy conditions. Also with modern tight luff downwind sails the 60 footer can be more efficient than a 52. Under IRC you can go up to 18 so certainly the designer is recommending we sail with maximum crew members.
‘We know we will be competitive and we have a very good fleet to sail against that’s for sure.
‘The handicap fleet will be interesting, amongst the 50-70’s, we have the Volvo 70s. It doesn’t seem that there will be many TP52s this year or as many as we have seen in the past years but there are still a few and they are always hard to beat.
‘And the Beau Geste the new Botin 80 sailing from New Zealand will be an interesting entry.
‘Right now for us, we are going to do that Southern Cross Cup series. That is the passage series, Twin Island Race and the Hobart and we have got to do the qualifier that will tack onto that Twin Island Race.
'Keep going basically. Obviously we need to go out and find some wind and test the boat in light airs initially just to make sure everything is working and as we get a bit more confident go and get a bit more wind and send the thing and make sure that everything works.’
And then it will be Boxing Day...