Please select your home edition
Edition
Giacomo Yacht Sale

Fisher's View- Sailing perfection at Hamilton Island- Day 3

by Bob Fisher on 20 Aug 2014
Wild Oats XI - Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2014 Andrea Francolini http://www.afrancolini.com/
Top international yachting correspondent, Bob Fisher, rides for the day aboard the supermaxi Wild Oats XI. To say he was impressed is an understatement.

That perfection in sailing is impossible to achieve has been a universal experience and particularly in 10-knot winds, as we are all aware. At least I was until today, but one race changed all that. This Damascene moment came as a result of an invitation to sail aboard the perpetual line honours winner, the 100-foot supermaxi Wild Oats XI from owner Bob Oatley.

It was produced by a rare combination of factors, not the least the highly experienced crew led by skipper Mark 'Ricko' Richards and an afterguard led by tactician Iain Murray and navigator David Kellett. This combination tackled the running of this constantly improved (over ten years) racing yacht that seems a constant front-runner of the Sydney-Hobart Race with a regular crew that ensures it performs as smoothly as a Rolex watch.

There was almost complete silence throughout the three and a quarter hours we spent on the race among the islands of the Whitsunday groups – not a single shout. Each of the team knows what was expected of them for each of the manoeuvres that were executed and the order in which they had to be done. And Wild Oats XI is a highly complex boat with an array of appendages and water ballast to provide the constantly high speeds.

These were staggering. The boat speed indicator as we beat towards 'Unidentifed Rock' off Pentecost Island was registering 12.36 to 12.54 knots, and when I looked down to check the true wind speed it was 10.1 knots. Of course the sails were perfect and well trimmed, but exceeding the speed of the wind on this point of sail is more usual in multihulls. (Incidentally an AC45 wing-sailed cat was unable to hold us on this 50-minute leg – we beat her by four and a half minutes – nine percent).

We also took a lot of time out of our two well sailed monohull rivals, the 66ft Alive, and Karl Kwok’s TP-52, Beau Geste. The gap to those two widened as we took off on the shy reach to the southern end of Dent Island, on which stands the only west-facing lighthouse on the eastern seaboard of Australia. At first a reaching jib displaced the flatter one used for the beat and then the big asymmetric, pulling like a pack of horses, took our speed to an excess of 15 knots (and still the wind speed was no more than 10.2).

Rounding the south end of Dent Island we ran for the next hour, often looking aft to attempt to discern our two rivals who were becoming entangled with boats from other classes in this 182-boat regatta. Our progress, still without shouted orders was fast and purposeful in the sunshine and we rounded the northernmost turning mark off North Molle with the windward-going sails set after a perfect spinnaker takedown and beat our way to the northern end of Dent Island and the passage towards the finish off Hamilton Island Yacht Club. We had taken three hours and nineteen minutes for the 40-odd mile course and the smiles on our faces were universally broad.

Nothing, we felt, could spoil our day, but the handicapper doesn’t approve of several of the items that make Wild Oats X! – a ten-year old boat – as fast as she is and reversed the finishing order of the three finishers with Beau Geste again the winner from Phillip Turner’s Alive. With glasses in our hands, when we had repaired to the dock, raised to the crews who had triumphed, the broad smiles remained on the faces of the Wild Oats’ crew who felt that nothing should spoil their day.

Please Bob Oatley, let me sail with you again.
KZRaceFurlersGiacomo Yacht SaleSouthern Spars - 100

Related Articles

Musto launches official 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race collection
Musto's unveiling of the new Official Volvo Ocean Race Merchandise Collection marks a major milestone for the business Musto's unveiling of the new Official Volvo Ocean Race Merchandise Collection marks a major milestone for the business, as the brand continues to make major innovations to drive greater sustainability in its global business operations.
Posted today at 1:55 am
Consistency rewards Oman Air in tough Extreme Sailing Series opener
Three podium finishes in six races helped Phil Robertson's Team Oman Air outfit into third place overall on a tricky day Three podium finishes in six races helped Phil Robertson's Team Oman Air outfit into third place overall on a tricky opening day to Act 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Barcelona.
Posted today at 1:35 am
FNOB Impulse robbed of race win in action-packed Barcelona opener
A dramatic Act 4 curtain-raiser in Barcelona saw heartache for local wildcard crew FNOB Impulse when they were denied A dramatic Act 4 curtain-raiser in Barcelona saw heartache for local wildcard crew FNOB Impulse when they were denied their first win right on the finish line – as Alinghi took control of the scoreboard.
Posted today at 1:11 am
PAC 52's raising the bar in the Transpacific Yacht Race
An enthusiastic Frank Slootman was ecstatic with results after reaching Diamond Head following a 2,225 nm full on charge Under the guidance of Gavin Brady, considered the guru of all things PAC 52, Invisible Hand went on a hardcore efficiency program in the weeks that led up to the Transpac, fine tuning the rig, optimizing sail inventory, crew training and a few changes in personnel.
Posted on 21 Jul
Tour de France à la Voile – Outgunned in roses
Fondation FDJ Des Pieds et Des Mains become the seventh different team to have won a coastal or super final race In a final sprint more reminiscent of the Tour’s cycling equivalent, a breakaway group of four each had a chance of coastal race victory today at the final buoy.
Posted on 21 Jul
Capa Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek 2017 - day 2 - stirring the pot
A single round the islands race for the cruising classes and a windward-leeward followed by a passage for the racers A busy day on the water yesterday saw some excellent competition, close calls and racing incidents which resulted in a busy evening later for the Protest Committee onshore. All protests were heard, and come this morning the sailors were happy to be back out on the water as a forecast-defying 8-10 knot breeze got the fleet underway on Day 2 of the Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek 2017.
Posted on 21 Jul
Clipper 2017-18 Race – Ocean Racing Veteran takes over helm of Unicef
In addition to his Clipper Race achievements, Beggs, 57, is one of the UK’s best experienced racer and instructors In addition to his Clipper Race achievements, Beggs, 57, is one of the UK’s best experienced racer and instructors with over 340,000 nautical miles in his log book. Among his many racing campaigns are five Fastnet races as skipper, numerous Trans-Atlantic and Round Britain and Ireland races.
Posted on 21 Jul
2018 BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival – Registration open
Dubbed The Full Moon Race, 64 Islands, One Brilliant Night, the challenge is on for this 165-mile race. New for 2018 will be a long distance race around our 64 islands. Starting with the Round Tortola Race for the Nanny Cay Cup, sailors will continue to circumnavigate all the islands of the BVI's under the light of a full moon.
Posted on 21 Jul
Does Puerto Portals hold the key to the 52 Super Series title?
Müller-Spreer’s Platoon are breathing down their backs and Quantum Racing team are poised just six points off the lead. To date, this has been the most competitive 52 Super Series season yet. Four different teams have each won a regatta; Quantum Racing in Key West, Azzurra in Miami, Platoon at the Rolex TP52 World Championship in Scarlino and Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing in Porto Cervo.
Posted on 21 Jul
Melges 24 World Championship celebrates 20 years
Already for the 20th time as the first-ever Melges 24 World Championships were held in Torquay, England in 1998 During these twenty remarkable years fifteen Melges 24 skippers in open and fifteen in Corinthian division have been crowned as World Champions. Excitement grows to see who are going to be the next ones!
Posted on 21 Jul