by Rob Kothe
Launched just a week ago, Graeme Wood’s Sydney 47CR, Wot’s Next, is shaping as a serious IRC threat in this weekend’s Savills SORC Regatta and in the 2005 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race.
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The 28th Savills Short Ocean Racing Championship is being used by Wood and his gun crew, who have between them a total of 140 Hobart races, to prepare for a serious tilt at this year’s 61st annual Hobart race.
The Savills SORC has two strong IRC handicap fleets, with new boats in both fleets. Division A starters, including Steven David’s’ Wild Joe, the last Admirals Cup winner with Sydney, Hamilton Island and Coffs Harbour victories under his belt, Stephen Ainsworth's fast new Reichel Pugh 60 Loki, the Gosford to Lord Howe winner and Geoff Ross’ Judel Vrolijk 52 Yendys, will all be keen to continue their fine records. The addition of Wot’s Next will certainly rack up the pressure on the proven racers.
One of the founders of the Wot If Internet accommodation giant, Graeme Woods is not new to sailing. He has campaigned his Murray 42 Helter Skelter for the last three seasons out of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, with the Brisbane to Gladstone race being his main focus.
This will be his first Hobart Race but his crew will probably be one of the most experienced racing south this year, with numerous 140 Hobart wins between them; Michael Green (26), Navigator David Ellis (23), Jacko Goluzd (25), Hugh Brodie (19), Ron Jacobs (17), Greg O'Shea (11), Simon Reffold (8), Tim Paola (8) and Martin Thompson (3).
Wot’s Next will have her IRC certificate by Friday and can be expected to rate well. She could easily follow on from the success of her Sydney 47CR sister ships, Jem and Gomez, who has won the Premier IRC division for the last two years at Hamilton Island Race Week.
This latest Sydney 47CR has a fixed bowsprit and carries a suite of North Sails asymmetric spinnakers. Her upwind sails are carbon composite Hoods D4.
Her interior is ‘racy’, reflecting her owner’s plans. She will certainly be faster than the luxuriously appointed Jem, being half a tonne lighter, with aluminium pipe cots and only one head.
Woods commented this morning; ‘A very experienced crew and they are a good bunch of guys. We’ve only had four hours on the boat so far and we are looking forward to an interesting Savills regatta.’
This year’s event has expanded. Savills Australia has extended their sponsorship of the Savills Short Ocean Racing Championship to provide a one-day, yacht racing event on Sydney Harbour on Saturday November 26th, titled the Savills Seven Islands Race.
The Savills Seven Islands Notice of Race and Entry Form are available online at www.sail-world.com/savillsSORC2005 or http://www.mhyc.com.au/7islandsrace.htm