Please select your home edition
Edition
PredictWind.com 2014

SOLAS Big Boat Challenge - Maxis rule supreme

by Lisa Ratcliff on 7 Dec 2011
Wild Oats XI © Andrea Francolini Photography http://www.afrancolini.com/
December 13 on Sydney Harbour the country’s mightiest maxi yachts will rule supreme for the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s annual SOLAS Big Boat Challenge.

Up to 20 of these V8s of ocean racing will gather off Steele Point, Vaucluse, for the 12.30pm start of the 18th edition of sailing’s most popular spectacle in the lead up to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, which will start in the same vicinity 13 days later.

The tight 14 nautical mile course will take the fleet around the harbour two-and-a-half times, passing many of Sydney’s famous landmarks including Fort Denison, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and the Sydney Opera House, which backdrops the finish line.

It might be a fun race in the eyes of many, but when the course is laid, the countdown clock begins, the TV helicopters buzz overhead and the adrenaline kicks in, the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge becomes a one-of-a-kind gladiatorial contest.

Bob Oatley’s silver sleek 100 footer Wild Oats XI has taken the chequered flag four times in the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge and being 1.54 tons lighter than Investec Loyal, the sprint course is on paper better suited to Wild Oats’ skipper Mark Richards and his champion crew.

Anthony Bell’s same sized Investec Loyal will be looking to punch above its heavier weight, using its A-list crew roll call to maximise the Harbour’s short runway.

'While we have been busy preparing our campaign for the Great Race [Rolex Sydney Hobart], the team is looking forward to the short course of the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge next week,' said Bell. 'It’s a great spectacle on Sydney Harbour and we are eager to compete'.

Multiple line honours winner in its heyday, Jim Cooney’s Jutson 80, Brindabella, will be among the starting pack, as will Peter Millard and John Honan’s well-sailed 30m maxi, Lahana, and Grant Wharington’s Wild Thing.


A major battle for handicap honours is looming among the 50-55 footers with Marcus Blackmore’s nippy TP52, Hooligan, out to snare yet another trophy before farewelling his TP52 class mates who are heading to Hobart come Boxing Day.

Interstaters revel in the chance to sail unimpeded around one of the world’s most beautiful harbours, and they are coming from south of the border in numbers to unsettle the local fleet; Rob Date’s RP52, Scarlet Runner, Rob Hanna’s newly purchased TP52, Shogun V, and Nicholas Bartels’ Cookson 50, Terra Firma.

The SOLAS Big Boat Challenge is one of the CYCA’s major fundraising events for its Safety of Life at Sea Trusts, which was established following the stormy 1998 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Next Tuesday the highest bidders from an eBay auction will join race crews aboard competing boats, meeting many of the sport’s heroes and getting an inimitable taste of big boat sailing.

Auction details and eBay links at http://cyca.com.au/newsDetail.asp?key=5494

Mackay BoatsZhik ZKG 660x82Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best Eyewear

Related Articles

Vendee Globe - From Conrad Colman this evening
I might not be going very fast but I'm certainly keeping busy here on Foresight Natural Energy. I might not be going very fast but I'm certainly keeping busy here on Foresight Natural Energy. Indeed, never have I worked so hard to go so slowly! The problem is that I am sailing upwind in light winds which is never a recipe for breathless speed and certainly not now! Going downwind on a slow boat, the wind pushes against the windward side of the sail
Posted today at 4:34 am
SCYA Midwinter Regatta - Sam Heck and Robert Marcus in action
Sam Heck and Merry Cheers decided that just having bought a new Farr 40 race boat, Viva La Vida, wasn’t quite enough. Sam Heck and Merry Cheers decided that just having bought a new Farr 40 race boat, Viva La Vida, wasn’t quite enough. They wanted to race it, right away. So they entered the 2017 SCYA Midwinter Regatta through Long Beach Yacht Club, which hosted their class, and won in the first racing sailboat that they have ever owned.
Posted today at 4:05 am
Overall winner crowned at Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in St. Petersburg
The first event of 2017 Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta wrapped in St. Petersburg on Sunday. The first event of the 2017 Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta wrapped in St. Petersburg on Sunday. After a weekend of close competition in the Lightning division, the class winner — Steve Hayden, 49, of Lake Mary, Fla. — was awarded the regatta’s overall prize.
Posted today at 2:41 am
RORC Caribbean 600 race kicks off tomorrow
The light air forecast is not good news for the Italian ocean racing trimaran which is designed for much stronger winds. Soldini’s men have been monitoring the weather situation closely after the formation of a low-pressure storm system far to the north of Antigua disrupted the normal strong trade wind conditions.
Posted on 19 Feb
Vendée Globe – Roura to finish Monday morning with Super Superbigou
Eleven skippers have already finished and eleven were forced to abandon their race. Seven solo racers were still at sea this Sunday afternoon. Eleven skippers have already finished and eleven were forced to abandon their race.
Posted on 19 Feb
Spectacular opening for the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600
The highly acclaimed Antigua Band 1761 took to the stage and lit the blue touch paper. Sailors enjoyed a traditional Caribbean welcome with the Panache Steel Orchestra opening the musical entertainment, complimentary drinks and fine Caribbean fayre.
Posted on 19 Feb
H.H NOOD Regatta - Local sailors make waves on Tampa Bay during Day 2
Michael Zonnenberg, of the Lightning division, is currently one of only two local skippers leading a class. With sailors from across the country and beyond in town for the annual Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta this weekend, stand-out local skippers were a highlight of Saturday's competition. Michael Zonnenberg, of the Lightning division, is currently one of only two local skippers leading a class.
Posted on 19 Feb
Krabi waters deliver a spectacular Day 3 of the Bay Regatta 2017
Opting for just two starts each day – monohulls / multihulls – has proven a successful strategy for 2017 The Bay Regatta Opting for just two starts each day – monohulls and multihulls – has proven a successful strategy for the 2017 The Bay Regatta, getting the boats off early and enjoying the good breeze and eye-candy that is the Andaman triangle of Phuket-Phang Nga-Krabi.
Posted on 18 Feb
Amedeo writes his own Vendée Globe story
Parisian political journalist turned solo ocean race Fabrice Amedeo secured 11th place when he crossed the finish line Parisian political journalist turned solo ocean race Fabrice Amedeo secured 11th place when he crossed the finish line off Les Sables d'Olonne at 09 hrs 03 m UTC this morning Saturday 18th February.
Posted on 18 Feb
Vendee Globe - Under a square head jury rig and storm jib - Day 104
Conrad Colman updates from the Atlantic as he makes 6.2kts under Jury Rig with 488nm remaining to sail Conrad Colman updates from the Atlantic as he makes 6.2kts under Jury Rig with 488nm remaining to sail to reach the finish line of the Vendee Globe. The single handed sailor is attempting to become the first competitor in the eight editions of the solo non-stop round the world race to complete the course using only natural energy. He has 200nm under the makeshift rig
Posted on 18 Feb