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Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - International entries on the rise

by Jennifer Crooks on 20 Sep 2012
2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet at South Head before exiting Sydney Harbour © Rolex/Daniel Forster http://www.regattanews.com
Ever since the release of the Notice of Race (NOR) for the 68th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, applications for entry for Australia’s blue water classic have been pouring in from around the world and as of today, the number is at thirty.

For the first time in the race’s history, Lithuania will be represented by Ambersail, a Volvo 60 that will be skippered by Simonas Steponavicius.

With her all-Lithuanian crew, Ambersail has competed in many major offshore regattas, including the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland, RORC Caribbean 600, Transatlantic, Rolex Fastnet and Rolex Middle Sea Races.

'This is a legendary yacht race - we have wanted to compete in this event for some time. We decided that this was the year to leave the beaten track of the Europe-Carribbean circle and head down under,' Steponavicius said.

Ambersail is currently being trekked across the Pacific and will stop in Auckland for maintenance in the beginning of December before making her way to Sydney.

Japan will be represented by Bengal7, a Humphreys 54 that was launched in 2010 for owner Yoshihiko Murase, and will be skippered by Yoichi Ito. Bengal7 is the first Japanese entry in the race since 1997, when Eiichiro Tatsui’s Summer Boy, representing Kansai Yacht Club, crossed the finish line in 18th place.

Geoff Hill is bringing his Dubois 90 Genuine Risk, the line honours winner of the 2012 Rolex China Sea Race, from Hong Kong; and Rikki, a Reichel Pugh 42 owned by Ray Haslar, will fly the Kiwi flag.

Leading the line honours charge again will be Bob Oatley‘s super maxi Wild Oats XI, with skipper Mark Richards at the helm, vying for a sixth line honours title.

'We’ll be on the pace the whole way to Hobart - racing the clock in the hope we can beat our own race record time,' Richards promised. 'Plus we’ll be doing our best to beat the fleet on corrected time too,' he added.

After winning last year’s race overall, Stephen Ainsworth declared he would bring his super sleek Reichel/Pugh 63 Loki back to defend her title, whilst Simon Kurts is bringing his 30 year old Sparkman and Stephens 47, Love and War, a three time overall winner of the Rolex Sydney Hobart, back to the start line.

A new boat to keep an eye out for will be Steven Proud’s ES44 Swish that has been launched recently and is currently on its way to Australia from the US. This replaces his Sydney 38 of the same moniker and ends an 18 month search for a suitable vessel.

The bulk of the current applications received to date are from Australia, with all states and the ACT being represented.

Tasmanian entrant Dump Truck, owned by Justin Wells and Edward Fader, second in IRC Division 2 in last year’s race, was the first entry to be received by the CYCA. The Ker 11.3 is representing Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, which has a rich history with the famous 628 nautical mile race it finishes each year.

The CYCA is predicting an international fleet of around 90 yachts will make the start line on Boxing Day, December 26 at 1pm AEDT.

Applications for Entry in the Rolex Sydney Hobart 2012 close on Thursday 1 November 2012 at 1700hrs AEDT.

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 Notice of Race is now online here with Applications for Entry being accepted Rolex Sydney Hobart website
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