While there’s still plenty of racecourse action to be enjoyed in the Transat Jacques Vabre and the Mini Transat, the fabled Sydney Hobart Race is already commanding international headlines. The 'Boxing Day Bash' as it’s lovingly called, is set to kick off on December 26 (Boxing Day) with its typical dramatic start in Sydney Harbor. A fleet of 95 boats are expected to be on the starting line this year, and race experts are already calling it one of the strongest turn-outs in years, with five 100-footers, three 80-footers, 15 70-footers and 22 boats that will be flying international colors.
Rolex Sydney to Hobart 2013 Press Conference - Cruising Yacht Club of Australia - 26/11/2013
'This will be the most competitive offshore race ever,' said Karl Kwok, owner of the new Botin 80 'Beau Geste'. 'There has never been a line-up of boats sailed at this high level in any offshore event.'
At the front of the fleet will be the turbo sleds, including 'Wild Oats XI' (course record holders and the Challenger of Record for the 35th America’s Cup) and 'Perpetual LOYAL' (the former 'Speedboat/Rambler 100'), but there will be plenty of other teams intent on putting as much pressure on 'Wild Oats XI’s' record as possible.
Inside, get the latest scoop on the 69th Sydney Hobart Race, including coverage of the recent press conference and a sneak preview at some of the brand-new hardware that will be rocketing towards Bass Straight come Boxing Day.
Meanwhile, skippers competing in the singlehanded Mini Transat Race are being confronted with a low-pressure system that’s set to possibly divide the fleet, based on their position when the new weather arrives. As of this writing, a mere 17 miles separated the first two boats in the Prototype class (and less than 115 miles separated the top five boats), while the Production class saw less than 100 miles separating the fastest two sailors. Get the full Mini Transat download, inside this issue, and stay tuned to the website for more on this race, as it unfurls.
Also offshore-related, Volvo Ocean Race organizers have announced that they are close to signing two more entries in the 2014/2015 event, which will be contested using One Design boats for the first time in the race’s storm-battered history.
'They’re in what I call the ‘contract closing’ stage,' said Knut Frostad, CEO of the VOR at a recent press conference. 'We are confident enough about being seven that we are building the seventh boat and it’s more than half finished'
With some luck, this announcement could mean that as many as seven teams could be competing in the next edition of this grueling ocean contest.
And in match-racing news, the Monsoon Cup kicked off today, with teams enjoying light conditions off of Kuala Terengganu. According to reports, Taylor Canfield and his USone team took three straight wins, clearly demonstrating to the fleet why they were billed as event favorites. Get the full Monsoon Cup report, including a great photo gallery, inside.
Also inside, get the latest news from the Transat Jacques Vabre, the Clipper Around the World Yacht Race and the sixth Annual Carlos Aguilar Match Race, where Don Wilson and his crew recently took top honors. Enjoy!
May the four winds blow you safely home,