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Sydney Hobart Race, VOR and Cup—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 18 Dec 2013
Wild Oats XI chases Giacomo ahead of the start if the 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart in just over a week. Andrea Francolini
Let’s face it: Tuning-out the overtly commercial buzz of the holiday season and focusing on what really matters-time with the family and plenty of coverage of the Sydney to Hobart Race-can be tough to achieve. Fortunately, Sail-World has you covered on this front with the best Sydney-Hobart coverage on the planet, leading up to the Boxing Day (December 26) start and continuing as the boats plunge south along the coast and across Bass Straight and the celebratory corks start popping. In the meantime, we’ve done our best to pack this issue with enough offshore-sailing content to get you through the last few day’s of shopping mayhem (hint: head to a chandlery-it’s far safer in there right now than a mall!)

For starters, news has hit that Jim Delegat, the owner of New Zealand’s Oyster Bay Winery has put together a star-studded team to try and take top honors in the Hobart. Delegat purchased the former Volvo Open 70 'Groupama 4', renamed it 'Giacomo' (after his grandfather) and aims to go big in next week’s race.



'I assembled my management team for the job, including Rodney Keenan and Steve Cotton,' said Delegat. 'Cotton was the main helmsman and tactician on 'Living Doll'. He’s done a number of Volvo races. I built the team from there. In Auckland you don’t have to go far to find the talent. There are class sailors everywhere.'



As for his motivations for investing a seven-figure sum into his Sydney Hobart venture, Delegat was honest and straightforward. 'I’m 64. I’ve spent 25 years on and off boats. I feel my time has come. 'Giacomo' is the boat to do the job. She carries the spirit of my grandfather, who started our vineyards. I’m skipper. I steer. I’m in the afterguard.'

More on Delegat and his 'Giacomo' campaign, inside this issue.



Also Sydney-Hobart related, there’s plenty of great media, inside, on the rather dramatic modifications that have been made to Bob Oatley’s 'Wild Oats XI' preceding this year’s Boxing Day Bash. The boat has been dubbed a 'Swiss Army knife' maxi, due to its stunning number of appendages, and is considered a strong contender for line honors in this year’s event. Also, it should be noted that the Oatley’s are the Challenger of Record for the 35th America’s Cup, so you can imagine that the pressure is on for the mighty grey Reichel/Pugh super maxi to perform in this year’s Hobart.

'We started off looking at a foil in the bow to lift the bow up, but as it evolved, it moved further and further back,' said Mark Richards, 'Wild Oats XI’s' skipper, about some of the new apendage packages that have been added to the now-aging maxi in order to keep her competitive against a whole hoist of new threats, both from super maxis such as 'Perpetual LOYAL' (ex-'Speedboat/Rambler 100'), as well as from well-sailed VO70s such as 'Giacomo'.



'We’ve been together a long time-nine years-and we read each other like a book,' said Richards of the advantage that the Wild Oats team enjoys after having sailed together for nearly a decade. 'You can bring out the big names but teamwork takes time. There’s no bullshit on our boat, everyone knows his job.'



Get the full Sydney-Hobart report, inside this issue, and stay tuned for more from this classic bluewater tussle, as it unfurls.

And in Cup news, be sure to check out winning skipper Jimmy Spithill’s thoughts on what team jersey he will likely be seen wearing for AC35. 'For me Oracle Team USA has been a way of life,' said Spithill. 'We won the first campaign in Valencia and defended it in San Francisco. Larry Ellison is a teammate, he is more than an owner-he is a friend of mine. Russell Coutts is someone from whom I have just learned so much and I really owe a lot to those guys. I can’t see myself going anywhere but Oracle. '



Also inside, be sure to get the full download on the sailors that have been shortlisted for this year’s prestigious Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards, don’t miss the latest news from the Volvo Ocean Race and be sure to check in with the Clipper Round the World Race fleet. Enjoy!

May the four winds blow you safely home,

Wildwind 2016 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht DesignT Clewring J-class

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