Sail-World.com : Rolex Sydney Hobart 2011 - Sail-World previews the 67th adventure
Rolex Sydney Hobart 2011 - Sail-World previews the 67th adventure
'Line Honours Winner WILD OATS XI passing Tasmania’s iconic Organ Pipes - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race'
Rolex - Carlo Borlenghi ©
Just hours before the start of the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart you wouldn’t want to bet on anything other than Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI, the Reichel Pugh 30, winning her sixth Rolex Sydney Hobart on line honours, unless that is, you knew something from the wind god Huey.
Large seas from ex-tropical Cyclone Fina are already causing dangerous swell conditions on the NSW coast and as the southerly front builds the double height waves, rather than being 1 in 1000 might become 1in 300, and there could be some boat and crew testing conditions in the wee hours of tomorrow.
The reality is, only the loss or a major damage to the boat is going to stop Wild Oats XI beating the rest of the fleet on this 628 nautical mile race.
It's a course that skipper Mark Richards, tactician Iain Murray, navigator Adrienne Cahalan and their top notch crew know well; from the Shark Island start line in Sydney Harbour, out of Sydney Heads, down the Tasman Sea, around Tasman Light across Storm Bay, past the Iron Pot Light, up the Derwent River past the John Garrow Shoal and into Constitution Dock.
Behind her, Anthony Bell’s Investec Loyal will be ready in case the boat ahead stumbles.
She has stepped up a notch this year and we would not be surprised to see her very close or even at times leading Wild Oats XI. She has a good crew and a good programme put together by Michael Coxon of North Sails and has an excellent navigator in Stan Honey.
Behind them Grant Wharington’s Black Wild Thing, the Jones 98, and the 2003 line honours winners is likely to suffer this year. It is a low budget campaign in a high budget event. Wharington is sailing with a crew of 12 and his line honours chances require both of the boats ahead to fall but Wild Thing could certainly have an impact on handicap.
Betchoice.com Lahana, the Bakewell White (100 footer) is more likely a handicap chance. With an IRC rating at 1.683 compared to Wild Oats 1.954 Betchoice could be an interesting boat to watch if the race favours the big boats, although the current forecast indicates that seems unlikely.
Also in Division 0 is British sailor Alex Thomson’s Open 60 Hugo Boss, which really needs unusual conditions to figure in this race.
Matt Allen’s Jones 70 Ichi Ban, a modified Volvo Ocean Race boat, sailing with 33 times Hobart veteran Michael Green on board, is a well sailed boat with a new Hood sails inventory. On handicap terms, she may arrive too early in the day and suffer in lightish conditions.
The British entry, Chris Bull’s Cookson 50 Jazz is the rightful handicap favourite in division 0. She is in this fleet because she is a canting keelboat but she will in fact be racing against the IRC 1 boats as she has a very similar handicap to TP52s.
Last year she was beaten into second place by only 20 mins, by Geoff Boettcher's Secret Mens Business 3.5 and if the conditions are a bit variable and looking at the forecast that is the case, Jazz can certainly configure herself better than any other 50 footer for the change in circumstances.
Jazz (AUS) from Chris Bull during the 2010 Rolex Sydney Hobart, by Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex - Rolex Sydney Hobart - Sydney and Hobart: United by a Classic Daniel Forster/Rolex Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex
The bulk of the IRC 1 fleet, depending on whether you believe the current weather models, could reach the finish line in around two days and four hours, which would mean you are talking about 3-5 o’clock in the afternoon on Wednesday and that could be a good time to get there, with strong Derwent River conditions still likely.
The leader of the Division 1 fleet will be Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki, the Reichel Pugh 63 and Michael Hiatt’s Farr 55 Living Doll should be second, if she had gone the right way. Loki particularly may arrive too eary for a fast run up the river.
Then, on handicap terms, Jason Van Der Slot’s TP52 Calm looks like she will be one of the players, along with Rob Hanna’s Shogun, another TP52.
IRC Division 2 boats (fast 40 and 49 foot band mostly) might be unlucky and they may in fact finish in the wee hours of the following day. On time the weather gate may not help this division.
However amongst these competitors Ed Psaltis, Bob Thomas and Michael ‘Mix’ Bencsik’s AFR Midnight Rambler, the Ker 40, should go well.
Bruce Taylor’s Chutzpah, the Reichel Pugh 40, will need more downwind conditions than currently forecast.
Further back in the fleet IRC Division 3 includes Darryl Hodgkinson’s very well sailed Beneteau First 45 Victoire. This boat has an excellent track record to date. Tony Kirby’s X-41 Patrice 6 will go alright, if the conditions are heavy enough.
Then there is a slew of Sydney 38’s. Among them is Chris Lewin’s Deloitte As One. Lewin made his name some years ago sailing with the youngest crew, at that time, who had gone to Hobart. He had a very sensible training plan, sailing to Hobart and back in the months before the race. He did that back then and this year has been supervising Jessica Watson’s Ella Bache campaign and has made sure Jessica has done the same thing. Ella Bache will obviously be a boat that is much watched by everybody.
There are quite a few Sydney 38s in the fleet, so that battle alone will be interesting. There are also a number of Beneteau First 45s, which look pretty well handicapped.
Back in IRC Division 4, there is an old boat much loved by this scribe, Aurora, Jim and Mary Holley’s IOR Farr 40. I took her to Hobart in 1997 as Witchcraft 2 and we came second in IMS Division 2. She has figured amongst the results many times since.
The scary thing for handicap watchers is that the New York Yacht Club entry, Carina, Rives Potts’ McCurdy and Rhodes 48 which won the 2011 Newport to Bermuda Race and won its division in the 2011 Transatlantic race, won its division in the 2011 Fastnet Race and came fifth overall. She has the same rating as the old Aurora (by virtue of her age allowance).
If conditions turn at all heavy, don’t be the least bit surprised to see Carina doing a Love and War (the Sparkman and Stevens 48 that won the Tattersall’s Cup that particular year).
In fact, if it was 2006 you would be betting on Carina with some of the best known sailing veterans from the American scene on board, including Rives Potts himself (who has done five America’s Cup campaigns), Rick du Moulin, Bud Sutherland (who has done a similar number), Dirk Johnson the navigator and a legendary New Zealand sailor Sir Chris Bouzaid.
Also in this division is the Beneteau First 40 that won in 2009, Andrew Saies Two True and Roger Hickman’s Wild Rose, the old Farr 43 which in its early days was Wild Oats and the little 30 footer Peter Langman skippered Maluka Of Kermandie, a wonderful boat.
Overall an amazing fleet in diversity, size and speed.
The weather is proving to be a puzzle. All we really know at this stage, is that there will be a southerly front coming through during the first night. The leaders will hit it in daylight.
The second front appears to have evaporated (at this point in time) but we do know it will be a tactician’s nightmare negotiating potholes in Bass Strait and along the Tasmanian Coast.
One thing we can be sure of is the boat that wins the Tattersall’s Cup in 2011 will have navigators and tacticians who have really earned their keep.
Now for what will surely be, another fascinating and dramatic Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race.
by Rob Kothe & the Sail-World Team
Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall
4:54 PM Sun 25 Dec 2011 GMT
Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.
Click for further information on
MORE STORIES ...
2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Related News Stories:
Our Advertisers are committed to our sport, please support them!
This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia Pty. Ltd and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.
Photographs are copyright by law. If you wish to use or buy a photograph you must contact the photographer directly (there is a hyperlink in most cases to their website, or do a Google search.) with your request.
Please do not contact
as we cannot give permission for use of other photographer’s images.
Only if the photographer named on the image is Sail-world.com, Powerboat-world.com, Marinebusiness-world.com or NZBoating-World.com.
Ph: +61 2 8006 1873
or complete our
[ Banner Advertising Specification
[Bot Archive ]
Customised news feeds -Marine Industry companies, Clubs and Associations have their own customised version of our news feed on their website.