sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Sydney Hobart: Supermaxi versus Sunfish - Ready to foil the party??
Sydney Hobart: Supermaxi versus Sunfish - Ready to foil the party??


'Pacific Sunfish'       Click Here to view large photo

Over the years sailors have stood and looked at the half model board of the handicap winners of the Sydney Hobart race, going back some 69 races.

The very noticeable thing is that rudders and keels continue to shrink in width and depth, while getting longer and thinner.


While the appendages we are assured, are stronger than ever and the keel bulbs are made of unobtainium or at very least depleted uranium, its hardly a wonder that the biggest and fastest boats in the fleet are becoming more and more concerned about colliding with soft marine objects.

Bob Oatley’s super maxi Wild Oats XI is once again leading the field as Rolex Sydney Hobart line honours favourite. She may another Hobart line honours race, if Anthony Bell's Perpetual Loyal,, the former Rambler 100 does not knock the Oats XI off but to win that crown she has to get to Hobart and now she has even more appendages in the water.

Not only does she have a canting keel, twinn rudders and a canard, n ow she has added the retractable aerofoil-shaped wing, the DSS, dynamic stability system, yet another sharp carbon fibre appendage, no wonder the crew call her a Swiss Army Knife.

And an ever growing threat to the complex task of geting this supermaxi, and her less exposed rivals Loyal, Wild Thing and Ragamauffin 100, the 628 nautical miles south to Hobart is this achievement is the gentle giant of the sea, the sunfish or mola mola, the word’s largest bony fish, which grows up to 2,500kg in weight.

The giant ocean sunfish basks on its side on the surface of the sea and there are lots and lots of them according to Hobart veterans.

Sunfish on surface -     Click Here to view large photo



'The track to Hobart is littered with sunfish,' said Grant Wharington the skipper of the the 100 footer supermaxi Wild Thing back in the race after the 2012 Paperwork debacle.

'You see them every 10 to 15 minutes out there. 'It's not a matter of if you are going to hit one, it's how hard.'

There have been plenty of hard hits. In the 2003 race Wharington's boat came to a dead stop from 13 knots in Bass Strait. At the time Navigator Will Oxley reported, ‘It was a shuddering stop. We stopped dead in the water and we slid sideways, we were preparing to drop sails when what-ever was on our keel came loose and suddenly we were away again.'

In 2004 the same yacht hit a giant sunfish and in 2005 she hit two sunfish during her delivery from Melbourne to Sydney before the race.

In 2005 Skandia was third across the line behind Wild Oats XI and Alfa Romeo. In 2006 she was again third behind Wild Oats XI and Ichi Ban, after breaking her forward canard when she hit a sunfish.

Wild Oats, which went on to win the 2005 Sydney to Hobart, also had a run-in with the giant sea creatures in her lead-up to the race with the impact damaging the rudder on the yacht and then again during the race. Skipper Mark Richards said 'We had three direct hits with sunfish. It wasn't pretty. There was blood everywhere behind the boat after one collision.'

Wharington says 'Sunfish have been a big problem in recent times. I think we’ve all hit them. Ricko (Mark Richards- Wild Oats XI) hit a couple the year before last I think, and the year before. They’re a pretty easy target, that’s for sure. Unfortunately when you’ve got a canting keel you’ve got three foils in the water and you’ve got plenty of chance of hitting them.'

With 20-30 knot nor'easterlies possibly powering the fleet south at some stages Wild Oats XI, Ragamuffin-Loyal, Lahana and Wild Thing will be sailing at similar 20-30 knot speeds.

'The big issue at these speeds is hitting a sunfish or a shark’ Richards says. 'We’ve hit sunfish at 25 knots and cut it in half. It can stop you dead.'

Richards is sure Wild Oats XI is strong enough to survive such an impact, but her two rudders,her canard and her down wind hydrafoil cross beam are very much at risk.

'We'll all be keeping a sharp lookout' said Ricko.

And they all will be… looking for a basking sunfish, about the size and weight of a Vee Dub innocently lolling about, ready to spoil the super maxi party. Or is that foil??


by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World team

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=117064

7:48 AM Mon 23 Dec 2013GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

Related News Stories:

23 Dec 2013  Vivre Victorians as they prepare for Rolex Sydney Hobart broadside
23 Dec 2013  Rolex Sydney Hobart - Having a Tasmanian Beer and going to sleep
23 Dec 2013  Reindeer, raceboats and Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
23 Dec 2013  Rolex Sydney to Hobart - Karl Kwok‘s Beau Geste aiming for a double
22 Dec 2013  Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race - Beau Geste arrives in town
22 Dec 2013  Rolex Sydney Hobart - Cannar undaunted about skippering smallest boat
22 Dec 2013  Rolex Sydney to Hobart - Wild Oats XI crew encouraged by final trial
22 Dec 2013  Video Coverage of 2012 Sydney to Hobart race
22 Dec 2013  Sailing legend prepares for thrill of Rolex Sydney Hobart chase
22 Dec 2013  From Concept to Start Line: Winning the Rolex Sydney Hobart
MORE STORIES ...






News - USA and the World















The first annual WetaFresh is a big success by Tim Wieringa, Muskegon, MI


















Techno 293 Worlds - France and Italy claim titles by International Windsurfing Association,














420 World Championship - Singapore and Spain out front by 420 International Class Association,




















2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup final qualification system published
Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac - Karma Sailing Group wins
Red Bull 49erFX: Easing into the Olympic scene at Rio
Kempe thrilled to invite himself to Gold Cup party
2014 420 World Championships - Singapore wins Day 2 race
Lightning strikes cut short CFJ Nationals
Etchells Invitational Cup - Girls on top in Cowes
National Sailing Hall of Fame reveals inductees
J/111 North American Championship - Wind Czar victorious
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race sets off August 10th
PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam - Antoine Albeau victorious on day 5
Snipe Western Hemisphere and Orient Championship headed for San Diego
WPA Championships - Kids race divisions offered
New Clever Pig launched by US Sailing
America's Cup: Group agrees to co-operate in London Meeting
Copa del Rey Mapfre - Build-up reveals some remarkable enthusiasm
Marblehead NOOD Regatta - Images by Leighton O'Connor
America's Cup: Two AC72 skippers discuss Foiling Moths and the Cup
RS Feva World Championship - Brilliant sailing on day 2
America's Cup: Alameda makes overtures on Venue hosting for San Fran *Feature
Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Race Week 2014 - Relishing a challenge   
Edgartown Race Weekend - BBBR and Round-the-Island Race winners named   
Etchells Invitational Cup - Aussies take early lead in Cowes   
PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam - Antoine Albeau strikes back on day 4   
Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta - All set for test event   
ISAF World Sailing Rankings for 28 July 2014   
29er World Championship - All set in Kingston   
ORC World Championship - Third Course area opens for huge fleet   
Day one of the Allen RS Feva World Championships   
Anna Tunnicliffe: Final two days of the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games   
Joachim Aschenbrenner takes gold at ISAF Youth Match Race Worlds 2014   
Maxi Soh scores double wins in CMRC Summer Doubleheader   
29er World Championship opening ceremonies in Confederation Park   
PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam - Action resumes on day 3   
Vic-Maui Yacht Race - Polishing the silverware   
Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race Start 2014 VIDEO   
Laser Radial Men’s World Championship 2014- Final day   
2014 Pacific Cup - Scarlet Runner wins   
Gladwell's Line: America's Cup - Joint Statement is a curious note *Feature   
ISAF Youth Match Racing World Champ - Top four battle it out for final   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL WAS US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT