Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars

Rolex Sydney Hobart - Wild Oats XI to be upgraded

by Rob Mundle on 11 Mar 2011
Wild Oats XI - Rolex Sydney Hobart © Andrea Francolini Photography http://www.afrancolini.com/
Rolex Sydney Hobart - Bob Oatley’s record breaking supermaxi yacht, Wild Oats XI, is about to undergo an upgrade following news that the 30-meter long sloop is to face a powerful foreign challenger in the Rolex Sydney Hobart race later this year.

American George David has put Hobart race line honours, and hopefully an associated record breaking run, high on the agenda for the 30-meter offshore racer he recently chartered and renamed Rambler 100. Originally named Speedboat, Rambler 100 is recognised on the international sailing circuit as being unbeatable in the strong conditions that often prevail during the Sydney to Hobart race.

Since taking the reins David has made modifications to the yacht and already got her sailing better than ever. This was all too evident little more than a week ago when Rambler 100 took line honours and lopped almost four hours off the race record (previously held by the UK supermaxi, Leopard) in the RORC Caribbean 600, a 600 nautical mile race out of Antigua that loops around a chain of Caribbean islands.

Bob Oatley – a legendary Australian winemaker and owner of Hamilton Island – is all too aware of these facts and the challenge Wild Oats XI will face in the Hobart race. It has been a long held dream for the 83-year-old to see his record breaking yacht at least equal Hobart race history by claiming seven first-to-finish crowns. The sleek silver and red racer already has five of those seven wins to her credit, and she also holds the fastest time for the 628 nautical mile course: one day 18 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds, which was set in 2005.

Working closely with the yacht’s skipper, Mark ‘Ricko’ Richards, Oatley has commissioned Wild Oats XI’s designers at the Reichel-Pugh office in America, as well as other yacht design specialists, to research what can be done to turbo-charge his maxi for the showdown with Rambler 100.

Wild Oats XI is already out of the water and being prepared for surgery, however while Mark Richards has confirmed that a new keel will be fitted he has said little else: ‘We are looking at every avenue when it comes to making the boat faster. One thing we are definitely doing is running a computer analysis on a number of foil configurations.’

The latter point could be a clue as to what might be happening with the big boat. Wild Oats XI is a CBTF concept – a canting ballast/twin foil design – which means that she has a canting keel and foils (rudders) at the bow and stern. It is possible that when the yacht emerges from the builder’s shed mid-year the forward rudder/foil will have been replaced by a retractable twin-centreboard configuration like that seen on Volvo 70 round the world racers.

One thing Richards is very definite about is the magnitude of the challenge that will come from Rambler 100 in the Hobart race: ‘The result of the Hobart race this year will depend on the conditions we get. You are dealing with two totally different boats here: Rambler is a brute of a boat when compared to Wild Oats XI.

She’s far more powerful and carries about twenty per cent more sail. In fresh reaching conditions they will be gone – we won’t see them – but in the light to medium stuff we should be OK. I also think that there won’t be a lot in it if we get strong southerly headwinds.
‘The one thing for sure is that it’s going to be an incredibly exciting clash.’

The extent of the modifications to Wild Oats XI will be revealed in July when she is relaunched. She will contest the Audi Sydney-Gold Coast race at the end of that month before heading for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, which is scheduled for 19 – 27 Wild Oats XI
upffront 660x82Zhik Yachting 660x82Schaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82

Related Articles

Les Voiles de St Tropez France – Day 2 images by Ingrid Abery
Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day two Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day two
Posted today at 5:33 pm
Panerai Classic Yachts - Images from Régates Royales - Final day
The final round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge has concluded at Cannes in the 38th Régates Royales The final round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge has concluded at Cannes in the 38th Régates Royales. Eugenia Bakunova of mainsail.ru was on the water at Cannes and provided this gallery of images from the Final Day - there ws no racing due to the obvious lack of wind - but the images are still excellent.
Posted today at 3:28 pm
Team France Jeune selects its group for Red Bull Youth America's Cup
Franck Cammas and Jacques Cathelineau reveal the group of 14 youngsters who will now train together to prepare From 5 to 9 September, the city of Toulon played host to the second phase of the selection process launched by the Filière d’Excellence Team France (TF Excellence Network). After five days of events, Franck Cammas and Jacques Cathelineau (the French Sailing Federation’s Technical Director) reveal the group of 14 youngsters who will now train together to prepare
Posted today at 1:34 pm
French-flagged sailing team to make Extreme Sailing Series debut
30-year old Kiwi Adam Minoprio will lead the team, and he is looking forward to the challenge. Arriving fresh from victory on their GC32 in Sotogrande (Spain), the team of experienced foilers is expected to get competitive quickly on Lisbon’s stadium racetrack.
Posted today at 11:39 am
Groupama Nouvelle-Caledonie Race - Top Kiwi racer takes line honours
TeamVodafoneSailing/Frank Racing has taken line honours in the 650nm Groupama Nouvelle-Caledonie Race. The New Zealand ORMA60 trimaran TeamVodafoneSailing/Frank Racing has taken line honours in the 650nm Groupama Nouvelle-Calendonie Race. She crossed the finish line at 10.33.12 on Tuesday morning, local time.
Posted today at 4:00 am
Trifecta of Trophies for Dennis Williams and his Victory '83 Team
Nine 12 Metre teams made it a long weekend in Newport as they competed in their North American Championship Nine 12 Metre teams made it a long weekend in Newport as they competed in their North American Championship, hosted by Ida Lewis Yacht Club from Friday through Sunday (September 23-25). Sailing on sloops best known as the America’s Cup boats during that event’s so-called “Golden Era” (1958-1987), the teams competed in three divisions – Grand Prix, Modern and Traditional
Posted today at 2:32 am
Extreme Sailing Series - Lisbon joins the race to restore ocean health
Extreme Sailing Series™ organiser OC Sport is proud to announce that they have joined the race to restore ocean health Extreme Sailing Series™ organiser OC Sport is proud to announce that they have joined the race to restore ocean health with Sailors for the Sea’s Clean Regattas programme.
Posted today at 1:36 am
Previewing the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds with Paul Cayard
Sail-World talked with Paul Cayard before the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds to learn more about this high-profile regatta. When it comes to sailing on San Francisco Bay, Paul Cayard has traded tacks with some of the world’s best, including Dennis Conner, Tom Blackaller and John Kostecki. From September 27 to October 1, Cayard will join forces with owner Carlo Alberini aboard the Italian-flagged Calvi Network at the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds. I caught up with Cayard to learn more about this high-profile regatta.
Posted on 26 Sep
Les Voiles de St Tropez France – Day 1 images by Ingrid Abery
Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day one Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day one
Posted on 26 Sep
Melges 32 World Championship – Previewing the podium
13 teams from five countries are primed to descend on the sailing capital of the United States, Newport, Rhode Island. Thirteen teams from five countries are primed to descend on the sailing capital of the United States, Newport, Rhode Island for the eighth edition, hosted by Sail Newport, launching out of the Newport Shipyard.
Posted on 26 Sep