Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Melanin Lenses

Rolex Sydney to Hobart - Close tussle for line honours predicted

by Danielle McKay on 24 Dec 2013
Super maxi skippers talk to the media after receiving the race briefing L-R: Syd Fischer – Ragamuffin 100; Mark Richards – Wild Oats XI and Anthony Bell – Perpetual LOYAL - Rolex Sydney to Hobart 2013 © Rolex/Daniel Forster http://www.regattanews.com
For the 69th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race there will be no race record according to the latest from the Bureau of Meteorology’s Andrew Treloar – although Wild Oats XI’s skipper, Mark Richards, said 'anything could happen.'

That’s the bad news, but the good news is a much closer tussle for line honours is predicted between Wild Oats XI and Perpetual Loyal in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s annual 628 nautical mile race.

Gone is the opening 24-hours of shorts and t-shirt sailing under spinnaker that the Bureau predicted last Friday, instead Treloar now expects a southerly start and possible thunderstorms.

Treloar also spelled some bad news for the smaller boats, which will likely face not one, but two southerlies, the second being gale force, as they trudge across Bass Strait long after the bigger boats have tied up safely at Hobart’s Constitution Dock.

Crews are expected to be donning their foul-weather gear as they head to the start line on Boxing Day, with a south-south-easterly wind of up to 30 knots predicted.

That will ease to about 15 knots down the New South Wales Coast, and tend east/north-east; it’s here where the maxis are expected to hit their stride and break away from the pack.

Conditions will remain much the same on Friday morning, but freshen from the north-east to about 20 knots, with a strong wind warning near Gabo Island off Victoria, setting the scene for the most crucial part of the race.

Crews will have to work hard to capitalise on every mile in the north-east conditions, which are predicted to prevail until Saturday, before gale force winds from the west-south-west hit hard from Saturday night through to Sunday morning.

A couple of days ago, this race looked tailor-made for the defending champion Wild Oats XI.


That’s not the case now. With a slow start, and so many shifting weather patterns on the track, this is fast becoming as much a race for navigators and tacticians as the boat drivers.

It’s a forecast that’s made Perpetual LOYAL skipper Anthony Bell a little more optimistic.

'Things are much more uncertain now, I think we’re going to be in for a proper boat race,’’ he said. 'We were a little bit depressed a day or so ago, now we’ve moved from depression to uncertainty.

It’s made Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards far more wary of his competitors.

'It’s going to be a very tricky race, don’t rip up your tickets until the death,’’ he said.

'There’s a big variation in designs, and each boat will have favoured conditions for themselves at some time and not so much down the track.'

With some of the 100-footers’ skippers admitting there will be times when they will have to throttle back to stay in one piece, the Volvo 70s Giacomo and Black Jack, as well as the Hong Kong maxi Beau Geste, will have a chance to have a good crack at them.

The downhill run is something the crew aboard the race’s wildest of wild cards, Karl Kwok’s new Beau Geste, is looking forward to most.

Driver/trimmer Dave Sweet said during the yacht’s first big sail, across the Tasman to the race start, she clocked up more than 30 knots boat speed downwind.

'We hit 30 knots a few times, and we had to rein her in,’’ he said. 'This thing is really going to be a different beast, she’s a big, powerful boat, and she’s going to go really well downwind.'

Having sailed in to Sydney relatively under the radar, the Botin 80 has remained somewhat of a mystery. Sweet reckons that’s an advantage too.

'We’re a bit of a dark horse to the fleet, but she is a dark horse to us as well, we don’t really know what the boat’s capable of, but we’ll find out in the race that’s for sure.'

Ragamuffin 100’s Syd Fisher gave no hint he’ll be backing off on his 45th race south.

'We’ll push the boat as hard as we can,’’ he said. 'We’ve got the gear for any weather; we’ll take it as it comes.'

While Wild Rose skipper Roger Hickman says his crew’s prepared for the second southerly because they’re used to copping 'dregs of the weather' in his 43-footer.

'The old girl goes nearly as fast upwind as she does downwind, so we don’t really mind which direction the wind comes from,’’ he said.

'But there is a lot of East Coast current running this year, so that helps us; because we’re slow and the current’s strong that really does give us a leg up.

'If you’re fast and the current’s strong, it’s a much smaller percentage of your speed.'

Related Articles

Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Thou doth protest too much, me thinks
And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen about now. At any rate, it is simply an adaptation of Lady Gertrude’s original line. We merely seek to use it as a way to demonstrate that when there is a lot of brouhaha going on, the smoke screen ultimately ends up as a lovely, colourful flag as to the real intent behind it.
Posted on 18 Apr
An interview with Jake Beattie about the 2016 Race to Alaska
In 2014, Jake Beattie and a few friends envisioned the Race to Alaska. Now, it’s time this wild race’s second edition. In 2014, Jake Beattie-the executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington, and a few friends hatched the bold idea of a human-powered race to Ketchikan, Alaska, took flight. They decided that their human-powered race would start in Port Townsend, Washington and run to Ketchikan, by way of the inside passage between Vancouver Island and British Columbia.
Posted on 14 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Go fast girls - 49er FX sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt
Paris Henken and Helena Scutt will be representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which will be their first Olympiad. American’s Paris Henken (20) and Helena Scutt (23) recently won a berth to represent the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the high-performance 49er FX skiff, a goal that the team has been working on for almost three years. While this is their first Games, writing them off as Olympic newbies would require ignoring their recent results and their strong teamwork.
Posted on 13 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
North Technology - Southern SparsBakewell-White Yacht DesignBarz Optics - Floaters