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Sail-World newsletter about the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, which starts on 26th December 2012  If you don't want to receive this news,     A single click here and you won't  (this will not affect other news you receive from us)

Rolex Sydney to Hobart 2012 – Just hours before the 68th start

A diver takes a moment's respite from the rigours of hull cleaning at the CYCA. - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race  © Alex McKinnon
On Christmas Eve John Curnow reported for Sail-World from the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2012 that Conjecture itself really does appear to be on target for both Line Honours and the Overall Winner at present.

That remains unchanged but one thing that has settled down a little in to recognisable pattern is the weather. It's now Boxing Day morning, just hours before the start and by the time you read this we will be in the final weather briefing. The change went through yesterday with about 20mm of rain. Winds gusted into the mid 20's from the south but are easing off now. It's heavily overcast but is beginning to break up and now the sun is peeping through.

Tomorrow it will clock around from Sou'east to Nor'east and may make 25 knots, which will allow the downwind flyers to open up the throttle. In the case of the Maxis, they should be able to match that and with a little extra assistance, even get on towards 30 knots. All of which is a great way to cover ground and despatch some of the 628 nautical miles required to get to Hobart.

After that, a series of what appears to be benign Westerly changes will roll through and slow progress down significantly. On the East coast of Tasmania by Friday, this will look more like a Southerly airstream and build that famous eddy that circulates anti-clockwise around and can provide for some very interesting and challenging transitions as you plough on to Tasman Island.

The current theory still expects that the overall winner will come from the likes of IchiBan, Blackjack or Loki, who comprise a wolf pack of magnificent minimaxis. The Maxis themselves are not out of contention yet and Lahana, who rates exceptionally well for her 30m length, may be the dark horse in this whole equation. If you had to go for it, you might think it is IchiBan year, especially if Hughie, the God of Wind, allows for a longer period under spinnaker. Note also, that if the wind from the Nor'east does build past the expected 25knots, then the three Volvo 60s will also begin to come in to the equation, rapidly.

The race record is also within reach, given that it is only a 15knot average. Even though that is an impressive number, what is even more impressive is the ability for Wild Oats XI, Ragamuffin Loyal and the recently-updated-yet-once-more and previous winner, Wild Thing, to canter off at a pace that disposes of nautical miles as if they are used tissues when you have a cold.

WILD THING, Sail n: M 10, Owner: Grant Wharington, State: QLD, Division: IRC, Design: Jones 98 Maxi - Rolex Sydney Hobart 2010  © Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi


Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Commodore, Howard Piggott, commented on the level of variance that would seem to be on offer. ‘It's going to be a good tactical and challenging race, which it should be. There'll be times when the breeze will change and bring on some big decisions and I would think most of the sail wardrobe will be used, too.'

In terms of the all-important sail choices and what is to be left on the quay before you go, Howard said, ‘I would be reluctant to leave a light spinnaker out of the mix, with the way the forecast is reading and there certainly are times when you need to have the whole inventory at your disposal. The Drifter is a very handy sail to get the boat moving in those ultra-light moments and I imagine most of the fleet will have them packed on board and not at the bottom of the stack either.'

Earlier on we saw how there is an old adage for this race that you go out early and come in late. It refers to being out to sea off the New South Wales coast and then much closer in as you approach the end of the second stage of this iconic event. At the time Sail-World noted that this may be a year for that strategy to be well and truly tested. Right now, there are more than a few computer models that suggest that the converse could well be the track to pursue. At any rate, before we shorten the odds any more on conjecture winning the lot, our newsletter readers can see what those actually travelling South in the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race have to say.

For the most detailed coverage of this year's race stay with Sail-World.com. Our 24x7 team will be in the air, on the water in the harbour and offshore.

Get some cornstarch (we will explain later), put your thermals on, your mid-layer and your offshore pants and jacket and come along for the ride!!

Santa and Elf come striding down the dock at the CYCA. - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race  © Alex McKinnon


Things are building up here at the CYCA, as the action on A finger demonstrates... - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race  Alex McKinnon


Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team



Rolex Sydney Hobart 2012 - Are these the Serious Handicap Contenders?
Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team,
Former CYCA Commodore Matt Allen, one of Australia's toughest offshore yacht racing campaigners is preparing to sail in his 23rd Sydney Hobart race. He believes that if the current forecast comes to fruition that only a small number of the 77 boat fleet, the bigger boats in the race will be in a position to take the overall handicap victory in this year's Sydney to Hobart Race as the faster boa... [more]
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Sydney Hobart: Will it be Supermaxi or Sunfish?
Rob Kothe and the Sail-World team,
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 68 years. The very noticeable thing is that rudders and keels continue to shrink in width and depth while getting longer and thinner.... [more]
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Rolex Sydney Hobart 2012 – Faster 50's are waiting for their chances
Rob Kothe and the Sail-World team,
While the 60-70 footers look favoured by this year's weather, there are some very good boats waiting for their chances. Victorian sailor Michael Hiatt has an excellent Sydney Hobart record and is looking to go just a little better this year. Geoff Boettcher put the winning program in 2010 and he is not about to slit his wrist over the weather forecast either.... [more]
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Rolex Sydney Hobart - Will Wild Oats XI arrive on record pace?
Rob Mundle,
Mark Richards, the skipper of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race record holder, Wild Oats XI, sees the current weather outlook for this year's big race – which starts on Boxing Day – being more favourable for high speed sailing than what was experienced when the 30-metre long supermaxi set record in 2005.... [more]
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Rolex Sydney Hobart - Live Radio Traffic including Skeds
www.sail-world.com,
Rolex Sydney Hobart - Live Radio Traffic - listen to the action. Daily position reports ‘skeds' will be conducted at 1905 hours today 26 December on 4483 kHz and at 0735 and 1705 hours on each subsequent day on 6516 kHz. Beyond the radio skeds, the drama of every Sydney Hobart race has played out on HF radio.... [more]
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Rolex Sydney Hobart 2102; Faces of the Race
Crosbie Lorimer,
Crosbie Lorimer was at the CYCA on a sparkling summer's day for the Christmas Eve briefing for skippers. With Christmas Day weather at the polar opposite extreme here is a selection of pictures taken of faces at the Club yesterday and of yacht racing on Sydney Harbour in the last week, that combines the colour and monochrome of our erratic early summer weather.... [more]
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Rolex Sydney Hobart 2012; Lead-Up Images by Dale Lorimer
Dale Lorimer,
Dale Lorimer has been busy following many of the lead-up events to this year's Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Here is a selection of her images. Photo of the week was undoubtedly the image of Bob Oatley's smart new walking stick; made of carbon fibre by McConaghy Yachts, it sports a model of Wild Oats XI for a handle!... [more]
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Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race – Christmas cheer
John Curnow,
Santa Claus and his Christmas cheer arrived at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia to spread happiness amongst the four international crews competing in the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. And they needed some cheer for it was a pretty dreary day in old Sydney town, as the thunder bellowed and the rains rolled in, often with more than a decent vigour.... [more]
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Rolex Sydney to Hobart - Christmas is just the day before Boxing Day
Rob Kothe,
For thousands of Australia's offshore sailors, Christmas Day is really just the day before Boxing Day, and for every year since 1945, that has been the day that the Sydney to Hobart yacht race starts.... [more]
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Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - A fleet action pictorial
Anna Parker, Sail-World.com,
The prestigious 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is set to get underway soon and we are now taking a look back at fleet action from last year's race.... [more]
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Rolex Sydney Hobart - The ambiance before the race
Anna Parker, Sail-World.com,
The start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is quickly approaching. Enjoy this image gallery of previous editions, dockside ambiance and the excitement on the docks.... [more]
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Rolex Sydney Hobart 2012 - Onboard Wild Oats XI
Andrea Francolini,
Andrea Francolini brings you action from the Rolex Sydney Hobart 2012 Line Honours favourite Bob Oatley's Wild Oats XI... [more]
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Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 - Big boats favourites to win race
Jim Gale,
The weather forecast for the upcoming Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 will certainly give big boats a considerable edge in the 628-nautical mile off shore ocean racing as 20-knot southerly breeze provides a humdinger of a start of what would be a fast and furious edition of Australia's premier sailing classic.... [more]
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Rolex Sydney Hobart 2012 - Alex McKinnon's dockside pictures
Alex McKinnon,
2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Photographer Alex McKinnon was out and about on the quay at the CYCA to capture the day's dockside action.... [more]
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Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 - Tony Cable going strong at no. 47
Jim Gale,
The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 will be another memorable journey for sailing veteran Tony Cable, who has been a witness of rich tradition and festivity of the Boxing Day race extravaganza since 1961.... [more]
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Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race – conjecture is the current winner
John Curnow,
Indeed, conjecture itself really does appear to be on target for both Line Honours and the Overall Winner at present. One thing that has settled down a little in to recognisable pattern is the weather. Boxing Day should be the favoured Southerly start with the accordant spinnakers.... [more]
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Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 - Upset win eyed by International fleet
Danielle McKay,
The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 will not only put the spotlight on the perennial Aussie contenders but as well as the international fleet headed by the Lithuanian, Japanese, and of course, the Kiwi challengers, who are very much capable of pulling off some surprises in the Boxing Day race.... [more]
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Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 - Sherman leans on beginners' luck
Jim Gale,
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race rookie Warwick Sherman hopes to lean on ‘beginners luck' as the first timer goes all out for his dream aboard his his Sydney GTS 43 Occasional Course Language.... [more]
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Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 - Wild Oats XI banks on long preparation
Rob Mundle,
The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012 will be the culmination of a nine-month programme for the designers and crew of Wild Oats XI in their attempt to make history in Australia's premier offshore ocean racing classic.... [more]
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Rolex Sydney Hobart 2012 - Alex McKinnon pictures from VO60 - Merit
Alex McKinnon,
2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Photographer Alex McKinnon joined the crew of VO60, Merit, for their training run on a delightfully sunny Sydney Harbour.... [more]
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Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - it's your choice
John Curnow,
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - There has been a sailor's adage that's been around forever when it comes to this race, and that is that you go out early and come in late. And no, it is not talking about Christmas night celebrations, either.... [more]
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Rolex Sydney Hobart - Going south as crew? Is your name spelt right?
Rob Kothe & Trevor Walkley,
Around 250,000 sailors and families will be following the Sydney Hobart race via Sail-World.com Around half of the fleet have already updated their Sail-World Boat notes, if your skipper and your boat are in that group, thanks. You might want to look at the notes again and polish them and check the crew names spelling etc. If not please do it now, we have sent access codes to skippers and c... [more]
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