Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 728x90

SOLAS Big Boat Challenge - Wild Oats XI and Loyal battle it out

by Jim Gale CYCA Media on 10 Dec 2013
Wild Oats XI - SOLAS Big Boat Challenge 2013 Andrea Francolini
SOLAS Big Boat Challenge, hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, was held on Sydney Harbour today. It has been a long time coming - but at last we have seen Bob Oatley’s six time Rolex Sydney Hobart line honours winner, Wild Oats XI, go head to head against Perpetual LOYAL, widely tipped as the boat most likely to rain on Bob Oatley’s parade in 2013.

Perpetual LOYAL owner Anthony Bell did it in 2011 with his former Loyal, (now racing as Ragamuffin 100), and is very optimistic he can do it again in a boat often acclaimed as the fastest 100 foot super maxi in the world.

Yet we are still none the wiser.

In a much stronger than forecast nor-westerly Perpetual LOYAL and Wild Oats XI followed a give-no-quarter start with a neck and neck reach down the first leg past Shark Island, with Perpetual LOYAL holding a slight edge .

Nothing changed as they tacked up to Fort Denison. In the strong breeze and flat water they looked very even in boat speed, with Perpetual LOYAL looking just so fast, and oh so powerful. Maybe a bit too powerful. As she surged past the stone fortress a big gust swept across Perpetual LOYAL and blew out her huge R1 headsail.

'We carried the R1 in stronger conditions than we should,' a rueful Bell remarked post-race.

'In a longer race we would have changed our headsail sooner. But this is a fun day, we were going very fast….we popped it.'

While Perpetual LOYAL struggled, Wild Oats XI slipped past, and with a big reef in her mainsail to counter the gusts she just took off. Maintaining her full mainsail a still over-powered Perpetual LOYAL struggled and Wild Oats XI pulled further and further away.

With her replacement mast, installed just last night, Wild Oats XI finished the race as we have seen her do so often, with an intimidating display of precise crew work and raw boat speed.

Further back in the fleet, the strong conditions, so problematic for the 100 footers were just what Rob Hanna, at the helm of his TP52 Shogun V wanted. TP 52s revel in a strong breeze and flat water, and Shogun V just looked fast all around the race track. And the looks were not deceiving.

Shogun V edged out Matt Allen’s brand new Carkeek 60 Ichi Ban to win the 2013 SOLAS Big Boat Challenge on corrected time by 1 minute 26 seconds.

Yet second placed Matt Allen will be very happy with the performance of his latest Ichi Ban. He has his sights firmly set on winning this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart and believes that the 60 footer rates better and is more competitive in a wider range of possible race conditions than his previous Volvo 70.

Allen has only had the boat a couple of weeks and there is still some fine tuning to do, and it always takes a while to get to know a new boat, so expect Ichi Ban to be faster by Boxing Day.

'We were getting faster and faster as we adjusted the trim today,' Allen said after the race.

'What we need to do now for Hobart is get all the systems working well and learn how to trim the boat to get the best out of her.'

While Wild Oats XI and Perpetual LOYAL battled it out for line honours, not far astern Peter Harburg’s new Volvo 70 Black Jack set about stealing the show. Indeed, after a brilliant start the 70 footer powered around Shark Island and round the second mark in the lead, ahead of the Big 3, the 100 foot super maxis Perpetual LOYAL, Wild Oats XI and Wild Thing.

'We were thrilled,' Harburg said later. 'I couldn’t believe we led for the first two marks.'

By the first spin around Fort Denison God was back in his heaven and Perpetual LOYAL and Wild Oats XI had edged past Black Jack to take the lead, but the smaller boat just would not let them go, nipping at their heels as they swept around the course.

Harburg and his sailing master Mark Bradford used the delivery trip from Queensland in a strong southerly as a full race rehearsal, and have been training hard since arriving in Sydney. It showed.


Black Jack was smoking, holding an early edge over rival New Zealand Volvo 70 Giacomo that quickly became a chasm when the Queenslanders put a big slab reef in their mainsail while the Kiwi’s struggled in their overpowered boat.

While all the Rolex Sydney Hobart line honours talk is about Wild Oats XI and Perpetual LOYAL, Harburg believes that in the right conditions his smaller, slipperier boat is faster than the maxis and sees the race as wide open. 'There are 8 boats this year that have made a huge investment (in winning line honours)' he says.

It was a disappointing day for Wild Thing, the other 100 footer in today’s SOLAS Big Boat Challenge fleet. Grant Wharrington jumped the start and had to go back to do it all over again. His race was over before it started. At times Wild Thing looked very fast, at other times sluggish. In the end she crossed the line fourth, behind Black Jack.

One yacht was forced to retire Southern Excellence, and owner/skipper Andrew Wenham says he will be fully prepared for Boxing Day, and hopes for a top 10 finish in the ocean classic.

Anthony Bell, too, is confident he will have his torn R1 back from New Zealand in time for the Rolex Sydney Hobart. It’s just that 'today was a more expensive day than we expected,' he mused.

'Welcome to 100 footers,' quipped Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards, who knows he has a real race on his hands after Christmas. 'Loyal is an impressive piece of kit.'




Line Honours results Start : 12:30

Place

Sail No

Boat Name

Skipper

Fin Tim

Elapsd

Score

1

10001

WILD OATS XI

Robert Oatley

13:40:10

01:10:10

1.0

2

SYD1000

PERPETUAL LOYAL

Anthony Bell

13:42:34

01:12:34

2.0

3

52570

BLACK JACK

Peter Harburg

13:45:59

01:15:59

3.0

4

AUS10

WILD THING

Bc 39 Pty Ltd

13:47:29

01:17:29

4.0

5

NZL70000

GIACOMO

Jim Delegat

13:53:54

01:23:54

5.0

6

AUS01

ICHI BAN

Matt Allen

13:56:05

01:26:05

6.0

7

AUS280

SHOGUN V

Rob Hanna

14:02:24

01:32:24

7.0

8

29

THE RED HAND

Graham O'Niell

14:02:53

01:32:53

8.0

9

10000

BRINDABELLA

Jim Cooney

14:05:00

01:35:00

9.0

10

SYD222

YOU'RE HIRED

Stuart Dart

14:09:23

01:39:23

10.0

11

601

GINGER

Leslie Green

14:09:57

01:39:57

11.0

12

SM24

TERRA FIRMA

Nicholas Bartels

14:13:21

01:43:21

12.0

DNC

AUS40

KOOKABURRA

Graeme Wilson

 

 

15.0

RET

AUS03

SOUTHERNEXCELLENCEII

Andrew Wenham

 

 

15.0

Mackay BoatsNaiadSouthern Spars - 100

Related Articles

Alex Thomson finishes second in the Vendée Globe
Thomson, 42, crossed the finish line of the race in Les Sables d'Olonne, today on his 60ft racing yacht Hugo Boss. Thomson, 42, crossed the finish line of the race in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, at 0737hrs UTC today on his 60ft racing yacht Hugo Boss.
Posted today at 12:41 pm
Alex Thomson defies the odds to finish second in the Vendée Globe
After 74 days, 19 hours and 35 minutes at sea, British sailor Alex Thomson reached the finish line on his boat Hugo Boss After 74 days, 19 hours and 35 minutes at sea, British sailor Alex Thomson reached the finish line on his boat Hugo Boss at 7:37 UTC Friday 20th January 2017, and in doing so broke his own British record of 80 days for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe in a monohull.
Posted today at 12:31 pm
Quantum Key West Race Week heads down to the wire in four classes
Four classes are up for grabs with one race remaining. Tomorrow's lone race for all classes will decide the winner Four classes are up for grabs with one race remaining at the 30th anniversary Quantum Key West Race Week. Tomorrow's lone race for all classes will decide the winner in the 52 Super Series, J/111 Class, J/70 Class and the ORC Class.
Posted today at 12:09 pm
Mount Gay Round Barbados Series - Another glorious day on racecourse
The final day of the Coastal Series at the 81st Mount Gay Round Barbados Regatta concluded in spectacular style today The final day of the Coastal Series at the 81st Mount Gay Round Barbados Regatta, organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, concluded in spectacular style today with sunshine, a good working breeze up to 17-18kts, and a relatively flat sea.
Posted today at 6:46 am
Quantum Key West Race Week - Day 4 action-shots by Nico Martinez
Nico Martinez was on water at 2017 Quantum Key West Race Week, 52 Super Series and provided this gallery of images Photographer Nico Martinez was on water at 2017 Quantum Key West Race Week, 52 Super Series and provided this gallery of images from Day 3 action.
Posted today at 4:42 am
Quantum Key West Race Week - Provezza lead into a Fiery Friday Finale
Ergin Imre’s Provezza crew go into the one race final day showdown holding a two points cushion over three boats Solid, consistent sailing over the nine races sailed so far for the 52 Super Series fleet at Quantum Key West Race Week sees Ergin Imre’s Provezza crew go into the one race final day showdown holding a two points cushion over three boats all locked up on the same points tally.
Posted today at 4:08 am
Quantum Key West Race Week - Day 4 action-shots by Max Ranchi
Max Ranchi was on water at 2017 Quantum Key West Race Week, 52 Super Series and provided this gallery of images Photographer Max Ranchi was on water at 2017 Quantum Key West Race Week, 52 Super Series and provided this gallery of images from Day 4 - Race eight and nine action.
Posted today at 3:22 am
Quantum Key West Race Week - Azzurra stays in the top group
Azzurra is just two points behind the current leader in the provisional results, Provezza, as are Quantum and Platoon. Azzurra is just two points behind the current leader in the provisional results, Provezza, as are Quantum and Platoon. With just one race to go tomorrow, the games are still open for the TP52s racing in the Key West Sailing Week.
Posted today at 3:13 am
America's Cup - Racing schedule and sights for fans in Bermuda
Those considering making the trip to Bermuda need to be aware of the race schedule and the different options. With the America's Cup due to get underway in five months time, those considering making the trip to Bermuda need to be aware of the race schedule and the different options. The travel blog extract and images outline some of the tourist attractions in Bermuda, that are available during the gaps in racing, or give an alternative if your team gets eliminated and you need grief therapy.
Posted today at 3:04 am
Le Cléac'h smashes Vendée Globe race record in spectacular style
Dozens of spectator boats took to the water to welcome their new hero back to the French port of Les Sables d'Olonne. Dozens of spectator boats took to the water to welcome their new hero back to the French port of Les Sables d'Olonne.
Posted on 19 Jan