Rolex Sydney Hobart 2012 - While the 60-70 footers look favoured by this year's weather, there are some very good boats waiting for their chances.
Michael Hiatt’s Living Doll - Rolex Sydney Hobart 2011
Victorian sailor Michael Hiatt has an excellent Sydney Hobart record and is looking to go just a little better this year. Last year his Farr 55 Living Doll won the major pre-Hobart qualifier, the Sydney to Southport race, and was a close second to Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki in the 2011 Sydney Hobart race.
Hiatt is looking forward to the race but is a realist about the weather
‘With the current forecast, we think Black Jack, Loki and Ichiban have the best of the conditions.
‘Unless the 100 footers are going absolutely incredibly fast and just wrap it all up. That doesn’t happen very often but it could be one of those times that it does. If everything is reasonably normal, because the 100 foot super maxis are not really good handicap boats, it’s probably out of about three or four boats in the 60-70 foot range.
‘But if the front changes speed we might have a chance if we can get a better share of the running and reaching. Then who knows... If the big boats stall we will be in with a good chance. We will keep working hard at it. First we have to win our division and if we can do just that we will be very happy. After that we just need some luck.
Another top notch competitor not ready to slit his wrists because of the apparent big boat weather forecast is Geoff Boettcher, one of two South Australian’s ever to win the Hobart race, did so in 2010 with his Reichel Pugh 52 Holden Secret Mens Business 3.5
He was in fine form when we spoke to him just after dawn this morning. ‘It's going to be a challenging race. We might be a little small for the weather sweet spot, with the bigger boats favoured; they have a longer running pattern than us.
‘But only a hiccup for them could make all the difference. They might pull into the Derwent and stall for a couple of hours and that is all we need to be there.
‘We’ve had a good preparation this year. It’s been good because we didn’t have to take the boat back to Adelaide.
'We did the Sydney Gold Coast and we are happy with that and we have put a few new stronger guys on and we have got an excellent crew. The boat is in excellent condition and the overall campaign has been probably one of the most relaxed ones we have had.
‘I think if we can get across Bass Strait with the kite up we will be well placed. We have an excellent afterguard who will make the tactical decisions. I just steer the boat where they want us to go and make sure my hair is looking good.
‘Michael Dunstan always put the crew together and we always like sailing with Julian Freeman because he knows where Tasmania is.
‘We have got Nick Burridge from Team New Zealand and we have David Oliver back on board after he hurt himself in 2010 and missed out. We have got ten of the 2010 winning crew and Ollie and Burridge and more strength too with Simon Cunnington.
Secret Mens Business 3.5 nears the finish line, winning the Tattersall's Cup - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2010
'And to round things off this year we are very pleased to have General Motors Holden as a sponsor. It is a bit of a home grown brand because Holden was founded in South Australia. There are a lot of family ties. I was an apprentice for General Motors before I was called up and went to Vietnam. My father worked there for 42 years and I had uncles working there.
‘I will be pretty chuffed to sail down Sydney Harbour with a big Holden logo on the sail and it's clear with this morning’s breeze, that we will have a solid spinnaker start.
‘We’ve been practicing hard, though yesterday (Christmas Day) the practicing was only gentle and all in the bar. Just for Hobart itself really. ‘
A big grin from the South Australian and yes his hair will look right.
Now it’s up to Hughie and his mates.
Michael Hiatt's Living Doll in the Derwent River - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2010
Holdens Secret Mens Business 3.5