sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 – Is Wild Thing the Wild Card?
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 – Is Wild Thing the Wild Card?

'Grant Wharington’s (Maxi Wild Thing) campaign gets off to a solid start in the first afternoon of the race - Rolex Sydney Hobart 2011'    © Rolex/Daniel Forster

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 will always have its favorites and underdogs. But for Grant Wharington, whose boat ‘Wild Thing’ is considered a dark horse in the Boxing Day race, the true winner will not be determined not on the betting table but in the volatile seas.

At about $1.50, the bookies are ranking Wild Oats XI firm line honours favourite in this 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart; then they have Ragamuffin-Loyal at $3.25 and Lahana at $10 – and finally you get to Grant (Wharo) Wharington’s Wild Thing, at $13.

Pretty generous odds considering the punters, the bookies, Wild Thing’s rivals, not even Wharington himself knows just how fast his new-look super maxi is.

The black hulled 100 footer truly is the dark horse in the dash to Hobart.

Since last year, there have been massive changes to Wild Thing, including a completely new back end. The last nine and a half metres of the formerly 98 foot (30 metre) super maxi have been chopped off and a new 10 metre stern glued on, bringing the hull length up to 100 feet and widening the stern so that the sides now run parallel from the widest point new the mast.

A new underwater shape, plus the crew can now get their weight right aft when the big boat is planing on a broad reach. There is also all new titanium standing rigging and a completely new wardrobe of sails.

'There’s not much of the original boat now,' Wharington says. 'We’ve kept the 6.8 metre deep keel we put on in 2009 (originally Wild Thing’s keel was a modest 4.8 metres, lengthened to 5.2 in 2005). She’s better now than when she was brand new; when she won line honours in 2003.'

Of course her rivals are getting faster too. Each winter, yachties tinker with their boats. It fills in those short, windless winter days and super maxi owners have the resources to tinker more than most.

Wild Oats XI has publicly revealed her new for’ard retractable centreboard and keel winglets, to improve her light wind performance, as will her massive new lightweight Code Zero. The team reckon if they had averaged a gain of just one second a mile last year they would have been in Hobart 11 minutes earlier. The changes have been made to find seconds, minutes – possibly even hours. Nothing like the performance impact Wharington will be looking for from the modifications he has made to Wild Thing.

The thing is, though, no-one knows how big an impact.

The final pieces for the new rigging arrived from Sri Lanka while Wild Thing was on her way down to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia from Queensland; the brand new main arrived in Sydney from Los Angeles a day after the yacht.

None were in time for the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge, the only opportunity Wharington or his opponents might have had to compare performances before the Boxing Day start. Wild Thing is the Great Unknown, much more so than Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin-Loyal, of the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart.

Wharington’s boat is now 4 tonnes lighter than her rivals. Her underwater shape is closer, now, to Wild Oats XI’s. Could she be as fast?

It’s the sort of cat-among-the-pigeons scenario that no doubt appeals to the brash young (for a super maxi owner) Wharington. A tradie by background (a carpenter), ex Victorian Wharo is a rough diamond in the smooth world of big time yachting.

You would never mistake this straight talking, bit-of-a-larrikin charmer for a merchant banker or lawyer. He gets his hands filthy on Wild Thing. There isn’t a bolt or hydraulic valve on the boat he doesn’t know personally.

Wharo seems to have worked out long ago that he will be dead a long time. Life is an adventure, not a career – and he loves flat out fast boats. His first Wild Thing, 25 years ago was widely seen as an affront to the more staid racing yachts of the time. Not for nothing did he call her Wild Thing.

'When we started in the Kenwood Cup in 1990, we were the mavericks,' he says with a grin. 'Those were the IOR days,' he says, when speeds of 10 knots, even on a maxi, were something to talk about.

Sports journalists love him. Articulate, accessible; he’s always good for a quote and most years lobs at least one bombshell. He championed canting keels on big boats early on, and paid the price in 2004 of pushing the boundaries when the boat capsized, keel-less in Bass Strait.

Traditionalists were horrified when he opted for electric winches on a racing boat. 'Initially it was a cost thing,' he explains. 'Electric winches were $300,000 cheaper than conventional pedestal winches. Then we realised these small electric motors replaced 10 coffee grinders cluttering up the deck; it was practically a no-brainer.'

Not surprisingly Wharington feels vindicated. The IOR tortoises have given way to the exhilarating hares of Loki and the TP52s. To cant or not to cant, is the question for those chasing a handicap win, but no question at all for the line honours contenders where speed, not rating is king.

Electric winches are the rule on the big boats. And so, for that matter, are PR advisers feeding the media. 'If you look at UBS Wild Thing, my original Melbourne Osaka boat 25 years ago, she is still immaculate and looks remarkably similar to today’s TP52s,' he offers.

Grant Wharrington, owner of WILD THING -  Andrea Francolini - Rolex ©   Click Here to view large photo


Wharington believes that tinkering at the edges, making existing boats go faster, is the immediate future for the top end of the fleet. 'These are so expensive to build no-one is going to build a new one, you need to tweak what you’ve got,' he explains.

'The next big speed advance will be in saving weight, including crew weight,' he says.

Electric winches did away with a lot of hefty prop forwards on the coffee grinders, and furling sails have culled a few more gorillas. 'You don’t need so many people with furling sails. We’re thinking we might try a furling mainsail next year, and if it works, we might use it to go to Hobart.'

Though he will sail with a full crew of 18 this year, he thinks less crew, and crew weight will be the future. He has six women in the crew this year, and even amongst the men, no real monsters.

Wild Thing has taken a rating hit with all the changes. The emphasis is very much on getting there first, but of course, first she has to get there at all. After the high of the 2003 line honours win, it has been a wild ride for everyone.

Capsizes, last minute scrambling for Alfa Romeo’s spare mast from the south of France in 2009, limping into Hobart with the top mast section dangling high above the deck in 2007 and retiring after suffering sail damage early in last year’s race.

There is still a huge amount of work to do between now and Boxing Day, but Wharo seems to feed off high drama, impending deadlines, even disaster. 'If you’re going to step off the back of a boat into a life raft in Bass Strait, do it with six helicopters and an 80 foot police launch hovering around you,' he is able to joke about 2004.

Some years you win, some you lose.

In modern sport, even the champion teams like the All Blacks, Manchester United, Geelong, the Melbourne Storm, like to know everything there is to know about their opponents, and then some. There is nothing as irritating as a long-odds ambush.

Wild Oats XI and Ragamuffin/Loyal deserve their short odds, but they will have to wait until the first afternoon, as they storm past Wollongong and Jervis Bay towards Green Cape, before they know whether the bookies have got it right about Wharo.


by Jim Gale

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=104870

4:10 AM Thu 20 Dec 2012GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

Related News Stories:

21 Dec 2012  Rolex Sydney Hobart - Lisa Blair wins last-minute crew spot
20 Dec 2012  Rolex Sydney Hobart – Kiwi Olympic wonder bound for big race
19 Dec 2012  Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 – The Rise of the Beneteaus
19 Dec 2012  Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 – Sailors with disabilities make return
19 Dec 2012  Wild Oats XI seeks Rolex Sydney Hobart clean sweep
19 Dec 2012  Rolex Sydney Hobart - Love & War in the rigours of the NSW south coast
18 Dec 2012  Clipper Race champ still hopes to land crew place in Boxing Day's race
18 Dec 2012  Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 – Warwick Sherman living life to fullest
18 Dec 2012  Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 – Ragamuffin-Loyal on track
18 Dec 2012  Rolex Sydney Hobart - Kinsmans have the Race in their crosshairs
MORE STORIES ...






News - USA and the World

A successful medal haul for the Australian Sailing Team (AST) at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Melbourne with five gold, five silver and three bronze in the Olympic class program, plus two gold and one bronze in the Paralympic fleet. Hear what the sailors had to say about their performance, along with some great video footage of the week's racing on Port Phillip. ... [more]  

Bart’s Bash, the global sailing race that took place in 60 countries around the world, on September 21st, 2014 raised an incredible £366,391.95 for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation. The race was held in memory of Andrew 'Bart' Simpson, the Olympic gold medal sailor who died in May 2013. ... [more]  

RORC Transatlantic: As with every yacht participating in the race, staff from Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina greeted the French team on arrival with warm congratulations, a cold beer and a welcome basket from the Grenadian Tourism Association on behalf of the people of Grenada. The crew of five looked tired after nearly 17 days at sea, but owner, Frank Lang was full of praise for his crew. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Perpetual Loyal is no stranger to the Rolex Sydney Hobart. Winning line honours in 2011, they have continued to be a contender, especially in heavier breezes. ... [more]  

In a lot of ways, it was kind of befitting that the best conditions of the last day of the Sailing World Cup – Melbourne, were saved for the Women’s Laser Radial Medal Race. Apart from highlighting them in glorious sunshine, like Huey’s own spotlights, it also brought into frame that were only two girls 470 crews in attendance for the regatta. ... [more]  

The website for the 2015 Finn Gold Cup in Takapuna, New Zealand, has been launched. The Finn class is eagerly anticipating a return to Takapuna Boating Club for what will be only the second Finn World Championship to be held in New Zealand. It will have been 35 years since Cam Lewis (USA) beat John Bertrand (USA) in a thrilling final race showdown in 1980, to take the Gold Cup. ... [more]  

Looking for a great Christmas present which you can buy with a few mouse clicks? Bob Fisher's books on the Round the World races, Farr 40's and the definitive America's Cup two volume set are still available, along with other titles from South Atlantic Publishing. ... [more]  

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - In January Nqoba, from Durban, will embark on his Yachtmaster qualification and will have none other than legendary sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to ever sail solo, non-stop round the world in 1968-69, as his mentor as he takes the first steps to realise his dream of circumnavigating the globe at the helm of a Clipper 70. ... [more]  

IFDS 2014 Worlds: But as you reflect back on the year, we hope you will agree that week of competition in Halifax, Nova Scotia set a new standard for disabled sailing. It was the largest world regatta yet with 18 SKUD-18 teams, 14 Sonar teams and 49 2.4mR competitors and the largest number of countries participating. There were some challenging days finding enough wind to race. ... [more]  

The 2015 McDougall + McConaghy Moth World Championship is set to be even more of a spectacle this year, with the return of the Zhik ‘Mothapolooza’ which promises a potential head-to-head with teams of America’s Cup and Olympic sailors. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Chris Nicholson Interview - Part 2 - On the Rocks *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz, Auckland, NZ
Part 2 of three part, 80 minute, interview with Team Vestas Wind skipper, Chris Nicholson on the wrecking of the Volvo Ocean Race yacht on an idyllic atoll in the South Indian Ocean during the night of November 29. In this part, Nicholson covers what happened from the time the Volvo65 hit the reef on the SE corner of the Cargados Carajos Shoals. ... [more]  

Last Saturday saw the third annual St. Maarten Regatta Beach Clean-Up organized by the St. Maarten Regatta as part of the Regatta Art Competition. Unfortunately, due to exams, not many children showed up. ... [more]  

US Sailing’s Olympic Sailing Committee (OSC) has released the selection procedures for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team (Sailing) in the 10 events selected for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games. The Games of the XXXI Olympiad will take place from August 5-21, 2016, and the sailing events will be based at Marina de Gloria on Rio de Janeiro’s harbor front. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - When the cannon fires sending the 118 entries on their way in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 70th Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on December 26, two yachts will stand out, because they first competed back in the early days of the race. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race have announced from their headquarters in Alicante, Spain that an independent report has been commissioned into the grounding of Team Vestas Wind’s boat on a reef in the Indian Ocean. The report will be released during the Auckland stopover. ... [more]  

The French sailor scratches his newly shaved skin. He tentatively reaches towards a plate of fried chicken pieces. Still not sure. He rubs his chin again. He hesitates. Laurent briefly runs his eye over the other plates, but finally he can no longer resist the crispy fried chicken pieces. 'This is what I’ve been waiting for,' says the cheerful Frenchman. ... [more]  

Transatlantic Race: After time correction, Apollo 7 is leading IRC Two. Nigel's team included three close friends from his home town of Plymouth, Devon: Steve Wassell, James Slater and Mark Davies. Also on board were two offshore specialists: Dan Gohl, a past Class40 world champion and Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Record holder as well as Rolex Fastnet Race winner Brett Aarons. ... [more]  

The 2014 OK Dinghy World Championship opens at Black Rock Yacht Club on Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne, Australia, on December 28th and so far there are around 80 entries, with perhaps a few more before registration closes. This 52nd OK Dinghy World Championship will be the third time that Black Rock YC has hosted the event, following 1982 and 1990. ... [more]  

Adelaide Sailing Club played host once again to the Melges 24 class for its 'Christmas Sprint Series', the third three day M24 regatta in five weeks held by ASC which, (in the same season the club is also hosting the M24 Australian Championship) says something about the power of persuasion, energy and organisation being put in to M24 class by its Australian Secretary Donna Evans. ... [more]  

The team, led by Jerome Clerc, will not compete on the 2015 Extreme circuit but intends instead to focus entirely on the Decision 35 Vulcain Trophy season in Switzerland. The professional sailing squad onboard Realteam capped a superb 2014 season with a third place in Sydney last weekend that put them on the third step of the overall Extreme Sailing Series Championship podium. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Chris Nicholson on the Team Vestas Wind disaster - 1 *Feature by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz, Auckland, NZ
Part 1 of three part interview with Team Vestas Wind skipper, Chris Nicholson on the wrecking of the Volvo Ocean Race yacht on an idyllic atoll in the South Indian Ocean during the night of November 29. In this part, Nicholson discusses the factors leading up to hitting the reef, interspersed with other research information, charts, video and images. Parts 2 and 3 will follow on consecutive days. ... [more]  

USA 4 Windsurfing campaign by USA 4 Windsurfing Campaign
Change is inevitable. No matter how hard you try to keep things the same, there comes a time when you must move on. The harder you resist, the more difficult the change. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Bob Oatley’s Rolex Sydney Hobart race record holder, Wild Oats XI, is out of the water for a final modification after a high speed and rough weather training run off Sydney. ... [more]  

This is Peter Perfect in the Turbo Terrific from the 60s cartoon series, the Wacky Races. Of course, to Australians and a plethora of motoring enthusiasts the world over, the real life Peter Perfect will always be The King of The Mountain. RIP Brocky (Peter Geoffrey Brock). ... [more]  

RORC Transatlantic Race 2014: The Spirit of Adventure crew of 15 were met dockside by representatives of the Royal Ocean Racing Club and well wishers at Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina. After enjoying an ice cold beer, the first cold drink for two weeks, the crew cleared customs and headed for the Victory Bar for eggs and bacon. ... [more]  

ISAF World Sailing Rankings - 15 December 2014 - The World Cup Final was a 100-point regatta and whilst Shaw took maximum points, Tartaglini’s eighth was enough for her to hold on to World number one heading into 2015. Shaw remains at World number two with Laura Linares (ITA) at World number three and 2014 World Champion Charline Picon (FRA) at World number four. ... [more]  

Comanche; Supermaxi Showdown VIDEO by Dale Lorimer, Sydney
In what is touted to be one of the most hotly contested Rolex Sydney Hobart line honours battles in recent history, there's been plenty of on-water supermaxi activity over the last week. ... [more]  

Commodores Cup - There was barely four knots of wind for the start of race one today. Brian and I started in port tack, at the committee boat, hit the right corner, and never looked back. There were a few tricky moments on the first run, in four knots of wind, but we managed our position well. For the second lap, the breeze built to six knots and steadied out a bit which made out lives easier. ... [more]  

2014 /2015 International Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series - Event No. 1 - One final light air race concluded the 2014/15 Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series Act No. 1 on Sunday, hosted by Coconut Grove Sailing Club (CGSC) with championship winner Jason Michas on Midnight Blue along with tactician Mark Mendelblatt and crew Trevor Moore winning the final heat and taking the overall win. ... [more]  

2014 RORC Transatlantic Race - Aref Lahham's Swan 68, Yacana crossed the finish line of the RORC Transatlantic Race on Sunday 14th December at 03:25 UTC. The crew are all friends from Greece and the German Frers designed yacht with classic lines is beautifully maintained and balanced for a heavy displacement yacht. ... [more]  

2014 Extreme Sailing Series - Act 8 - The Wave, Muscat’s long tenure of the Extreme Sailing Series crown came to an end in Sydney today when Swiss team Alinghi won the eighth and final Act of the year to take an overall victory in the 2014 series despite a superb late challenge from Tom Slingsby on Oman Air. ... [more]  

Images of the Extreme Sailing Series, Act 8, Sydney, Australia and video about most memorable in the Series' eight-year history. The Series was won by Alinghi after an action packed three days of racing on the confines of Sydney Harbour, which was the venue for the international series for the first time. ... [more]  

In this case it was the 5,220-nautical mile stage from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi – the second stage of this year’s Volvo – that took the crew on the China-sponsored entry Dongfeng Race Team just under 24 days to complete. But the striking thing about the men on board Dongfeng is that all of them were finding it very hard to think of anything except the final few hours. ... [more]  

Extreme Sailing Series: Alinghi crowned 2014 and Sydney champions
Extreme Sailing Series -Sydney Land Rover recognises talent
ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne - Medal Race Images
Extreme Sailing Series: Alinghi dons ESS Crown, Oman Air wins award
18ft Skiffs: Rooklyn scores win in Syd. Barnett Jr. Memorial Trophy
ISAF Sailing World Cup: Fan cranks up for final Melbourne day + Videos
Miami Star Winter Series - Commodores Cup Day 1
Extreme Sailing Series: Delayed coverage - Day 4 +Audio *Feature
Volvo Ocean Race - Dongfeng score another excellent result
Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series - Fleet rumbles in Miami
Extreme Sailing Series - The Wave, Muscat see championship bid slip
2014 RORC Transatlantic Race - From acorns grow oaks
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Brunel (NED) wins Leg 2
2014 RORC Transatlantic Race - Oakcliff Ocean Racing Team wins
Extreme Sailing Series: Day 3 image gallery from Sydney Harbour *Feature
The Extreme Sailing Series™ - Action-packed day on Sydney Harbour
Early Christmas presents for ISAF Sailing World Cup medallists + Video
Volvo Ocean Race: Leg 2 finish - Team Brunel wins from Dongfeng *Feature
Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series - Day 1 overall
2014/2015 Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series - Images by Joy Dunigan
Extreme Sailing Series: Live coverage - Day 3 +Audio *Feature   
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta kicks off with successful sponsor party   
Successful seventh edition of 2014 World Yacht Racing Forum   
2014 Star Sailors League Finals - Catching up with Robert Stanjek   
2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup - Melbourne - Day 6 Preview   
Extreme Sailing Series - Act 8 Photos and season highs and lows video   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 Leg Two - Final fight to the finish + Video   
Extreme Sailing Series Act 8 - McMillan tops table in Sydney + Video   
Anna Tunnicliffe: Alinghi - Day 2: Extreme Sailing Series, Sydney   
ISAF SWC Melbourne - Top ten prepare for Port Phillip showdown + Video   
Extreme Sailing Series Act Eight 2014 – Photos by Andrea Francolini   
Volvo Ocean Race: Three way alley-brawl on final day of Leg 2 *Feature   
International Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series 2014-15: Holiday heat   
ISAF SWC Melbourne: Family affair for Papua New Guinea sailors + Video   
Australian 18 Footers League Club Championship - Stormy capsize   
RORC Transatlantic Race - Lupa spice it up for Line Honours victory   
Extreme Sailing Series: Replay coverage - Day 2 +Audio *Feature   
America's Cup: Oracle crew member's penalty for cheating is reduced *Feature   
US Tour: Four GC32s to compete at Quantum Key West Race Week + Video   
Extreme Sailing Series Act 8 - Wet, wild and windy   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT