Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Isotak Ocean

Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race - ‘The Swiss Army Knife’

by Rob Mundle on 16 Dec 2013
Wild Oats XI crewman, Nathan Ellis, shows off the yacht’s radical new carbon fibre, hydrofoil wing - Rolex Sydney to Hobart 2013 Andrea Francolini
Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race gets underway in less than 10 days, December 26th 2013. When Bob Oatley’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Race record holder, the 30-metre long supermaxi, Wild Oats XI, was lifted from the waters of Sydney Harbour today it became very apparent why the yacht is now referred to affectionately as ‘The Swiss Army Knife’.

Extending from the hull below the waterline were five appendages of varying shapes and sizes, and protruding out to one side at the waterline was the latest addition – a radical, carbon fibre, wing-like hydrofoil which it is hoped will provide the speed needed to achieve a record-equalling seventh line honours in the 628 nautical mile Hobart classic, which starts on Boxing Day.

The concept is another world-first for 85-year-old Oatley, who more than a decade ago introduced the now universally accepted canting keel to this particular facet of international ocean racing.


The wing is a development of a concept designed by English company, Dynamic Stability Systems which primarily assists a yacht’s stability. The system fitted to Wild Oats XI has been created to provide hydrofoil-type lift to the forward sections of the yacht so drag is reduced and speed increased.

It has only been during the past 10 days that Wild Oats XI’s skipper, Mark Richards, and his crew, have had the wind conditions needed to fully test the wing – and they are elated by the results.

'This year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Race is going to be one of the most keenly contested in recent times, for both line and handicap honours,' Richards said today. 'Wild Oats XI has just had her eighth birthday, so we had to do something to give the old girl a new lease of life. I think this wing will do it, especially if we get fast downwind conditions during the race.'
Richards explained that the wing will come into effect when the yacht achieves 18 knots boat speed. At that speed the foil – which is fully enclosed within the hull when not in use – will be extended more than two metres out to the leeward side. When fully extended it will provide between eight and 10 tonnes lift to the forward sections of the yacht.

'The trial results were quite remarkable,' Richards said. 'There was an impressive increase in speed. We’re not getting too carried away, but from what we have seen, if we get the right conditions in the Hobart race the wing might make the difference.'

Wild Oats XI has three other retractable foils below the waterline – two daggerboards and a shallow centerboard at the bow, which is used for upwind sailing in light conditions. She also features a canting keel and a permanent rudder at the stern.

Zhik ZKG 660x82PredictWind.com 2014Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

Rolex Sydney Hobart- Raw footage from the ABC helicopter
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia presents a series of five videos taken from a helicopter in the last Rolex Sydney Hobar Cruising Yacht Club of Australia presents a series of five videos taken from a helicopter in the last Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. The race begand in light to moderate air, on the second day the breeze filled in giving fast downwind sailing conditions and on the third day the southerly gale hit, along with big swells and breaking seas.
Posted on 10 Mar 2014
Rolex Sydney Hobart - One of the most exciting editions on record
The 69th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race shaped up early to be one of the most amazing editions on record. The 69th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race shaped up early to be one of the most amazing editions on record. The 94-boat fleet featured five 100 foot maxis, three Volvo 70s, seven former race winners and a seriously competitive lineup across the fleet.
Posted on 7 Jan 2014
Rolex Sydney Hobart- America’s Cup heroes take on Sydney-Hobart
Iain Murray and Ian ‘Fresh’ Burns bested Tom Slingsby and Stan Honey for line honors in the Sydney-Hobart race. Iain Murray and Ian ‘Fresh’ Burns bested Tom Slingsby and Stan Honey for line honors in the Sydney-Hobart race. Murray and Burns, aboard Wild Oats X!, were first across the finishing line in Hobart, coming from behind to beat rookie Slingsby and Honey on Perpetual Loyal.
Posted on 4 Jan 2014
Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race - The final four
Rolex Sydney Hobart - Sailors’ loved-ones may need to block their ears as stories of survival come flooding in Rolex Sydney Hobart - Sailors’ loved-ones may need to block their ears as stories of survival come flooding in with the smallest yachts bringing up the rear of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet.
Posted on 1 Jan 2014
Rolex Sydney Hobart; Rounding Tasman Island -Got a Few Hours To Spare?
It’s hard to imagine how Hobart was ever discovered by sea, really. It’s hard to imagine how Hobart was ever discovered by sea, really. There are two dimensions of the city’s sea defences – neither has anything to do with the military - that have seemed to make Hobart an elusive chimera to many a seafarer over the decades and centuries.
Posted on 1 Jan 2014
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Bacardi to return for 70th edition
Rolex Sydney Hobart - The old and slow Bacardi already has sponsors clamoring to have their name on her heavy frame Rolex Sydney Hobart - She’s not your typical sailing billboard, yet the old and slow Bacardi already has sponsors clamoring to have their name on her heavy frame for next year’s 70th anniversary Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Posted on 31 Dec 2013
Rolex Sydney Hobart - Making tracks to the finish line
With New Year’s Eve looming tonight, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet made tracks to the finish line in Hobart. With New Year’s Eve looming tonight, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet made tracks to the finish line in Hobart. By midday on December 31, only two yachts were still at sea. From a total of 94 race starters, 82 yachts have now finished in Hobart, and ten yachts had retired.
Posted on 31 Dec 2013
Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race wrap up video
The 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race wrap up with Overall and Divisional winners confirmed. The 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race wrap up with Overall and Divisional winners confirmed.
Posted on 31 Dec 2013
Rolex Sydney Hobart 2013 - Television coverage of the start
Rolex Sydney Hobart - Here in two parts is the Channel 7 coverage of the 69th race, courtesy of France's Daily Motion Rolex Sydney Hobart 2013 - Here in two parts is the Channel 7 coverage of the 69th race, courtesy of France's Daily Motion video network.
Posted on 31 Dec 2013
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - And then there were four
In the CYCA’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, at 8.00am this morning, four yachts were left at sea. In the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, at 8.00am this morning, four yachts were left at sea and all four were expected to make it across the finish line and into Constitution Dock in time to ring in the New Year.
Posted on 31 Dec 2013