Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad

Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race - 'Big' boats safely dockside

by Alex Bocage on 29 Dec 2013
Approaching storm on morning of Day 4 - Rolex Sydney to Hobart 2013 © Rolex/Daniel Forster http://www.regattanews.com
In this year’s Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, with all of the 'big' boats safely dockside in Hobart by the early hours this morning (December 29th), attention turned to the fleet still racing on day four of the 628 nautical mile offshore classic. As forecast, a low pressure system crossed through Tasmania yesterday evening (December 28) and brought with it southwesterly winds of excess in 40 knots and 4 – 5 meter seas.


The sharp change in weather conditions took its’ toll in fairly short order, with five yachts retiring overnight, including the leading British Clipper 70 Henri Lloyd, which was east of Cape Barren Island when it lost its rudder bearing. Wedgetail was dismasted south of Tasman Island. The 55-footer, with veteran offshore navigator Adrienne Cahalan onboard, was considered a pre-race favourite.

The mid-coast section of the Tasmanian east coast proved treacherous for many in the fleet as most chose some protection closer to shore. But at Tasman Island, the fleet had to harden up into the southwesterly wind and massive seas.


The low pressure system had been forecast well in advance, which gave competitors time to plot the best route towards Hobart. American Hartwell Jordan, sailing on the German entry, Jens Kellinghausen’s Varuna, said, 'We knew we were going to have the big shift to the left. Basically what everyone was doing was jockeying for position so you’re close enough to Tasman Island so you’re not going to get slammed by the front, and you can cut the corner a bit on anyone that’s outside you.

'The tradeoff off to being outside is more breeze, so you’re running down the coast quicker – you’ll get the big header, but then you’re going to have to sail back in 45 knots of breeze.'

Guillermo Attadil, Varuna’s navigator added 'As we arrived at Tasman Island last night, we saw the band of clouds and were looking at the barometer dropping down really quickly. It was really tough, the sea state was really bad and it was really gusty, so the wind went from 20 – 40 knots very quickly, and it was a bit messy the first few hours.

The Spanish sailor Attadil, a veteran of many offshore round the world and distance races (as well as America’s Cup and Olympic Tornado and Star classes), remarked of the Rolex Sydney Hobart, 'These kind of (‘short’ ocean) races are really tough because you don’t go into a watch routine, you are on all the time and need all hands for manoeuvres. I think this is tougher than a VOR or long offshore race. It’s like a sprint of 600 miles.'


Tailing Varuna down the coast was Darryl Hodgkinson’s, Victoire – a Cookson 50 that has finished second, twice in the race. The two yachts were closely matched, but Victoire finally legged ahead in the early hours (December 29) and led to the finish line, crossing just 30 minutes ahead of Varuna.

Victoire is currently standing as overall handicap leader. Hodgkinson described a bucolic start and first two days of racing, and said 'We sailed across Bass Strait and we’re looking at all of the stars, just glorious and thinking ‘why hasn’t it ever been like this before.’ Then, in the building northeasterly yesterday (December 28), it was going fabulously, nothing was breaking and we’re all holding on for dear life. The water is coming over the decks, and it’s a thrill – we were going downwind in 25-30 knots.

'And of course, it all goes to hell when the southwesterly starts. Then the reality sets in, you get cold…you haven’t eaten, the thrill turns into ‘when is this going to end?!’ But there is an amazing exhilaration in it and it’s been one of those unique Hobarts we’ll never forget!'

For now, Hodgkinson and his crew will have to wait until tomorrow for Roger Hickman’s Farr 43, Wild Rose, the last yacht with a possible shot at beating them.

As of 4pm local time AEDT, there were 65 yachts still racing, 19 finishers, and 10 retired.



Related Articles

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
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
Volvo Ocean Race appoints stadium racing pioneer as new CEO
Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Today his appointment has been confirmed.
Posted on 31 Mar
Large spectator fleet heading north for boat watching season
I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase, but it is insanely apt and hilarious all at the same time, however. I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase. It is insanely apt and hilarious, all at the same time, however. Well then, boat watching season is definitely upon us once more. The whales will soon be gathering again off the coast of Queensland to observe all manner of racing and cruising craft as they head North for a Winter in the sun.
Posted on 29 Mar
Laser creator Ian Bruce passes away (1933 - 2016)
Ian Bruce, driving force behind the Laser dinghy, sadly passed away at his daughter's home on Monday March 21 2016. Ian Bruce, driving force behind the Laser dinghy, sadly passed away at his daughter's home on Monday March 21 2016. His legacy to our sport, Canadian sailing and his beloved Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club will be praised and honoured for years to come.
Posted on 24 Mar
T Clewring One DesignNaiad/Oracle SupplierNorth Technology - Southern Spars