sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : How Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race winners are anointed
How Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race winners are anointed

'Last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart overall winner Loki performs well in IRC and has many podium places to show for it.'    © Rolex/Daniel Forster    Click Here to view large photo

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is all about who gets there first for many casual spectators and also many in the media. There are few sights in sport more awesome than a 100 foot super maxi blasting through the waves at better than 25 knots. It takes incredible skill, teamwork, resolve and cash to win line honours in a race as long, tactically complex and downright cantankerous as the Hobart.

And anyway, isn’t that what races are - a race to be first across the line?

Yet in this race, it is very rare for a boat to both win line honours and come first (win overall). Wild Oats XI was the last to do it when she famously took line honours, won the race and broke the record in 2005.

If the winner was the first across the line, then the fleet this year would be maybe four, five boats, not the 78 that will line up on Boxing Day. Those other 74 odd boats aren’t there to make up the numbers - they are there to win the Tattersall’s Cup - the true holy grail of Australian ocean racing.

The winner of the Rolex Sydney Hobart isn’t the first to get there, it’s the boat that takes the least time, or should we say, the least 'handicapped' time, such as players have in golf.

Build a big carbon fibre thoroughbred with a canting keel and of course it will get to Hobart before a modest, conventional little boat, but the Rolex Sydney Hobart isn’t just a race between yachts, it’s a contest between crews. So this is a handicap race.

For a time between 1999 and early 2003, Hobart yachts competed under both the IMS and IRC handicapping systems, with the top IMS boat winning the Tattersall’s Cup. But in the 2004 race, the CYCA determined that the yacht that won on IRC would henceforth win the race outright.

Under the IRC rule, an owner takes a whole lot of fairly straightforward measurements of his or her yacht; the length, weight, overhangs and sail sizes, whether the boat has a fixed or canting keel, water ballast, carbon fibre or aluminium mast.

That information is sent to the Rating Office of the Royal Ocean Racing Club in the UK, which then issues a rating for the boat, which is basically a multiplier of the boats elapsed time during a race.

Each hour the boat takes to finish is multiplied by its rating time handicap factor to produce its corrected time. The higher the rating, the bigger the multiplier, the bigger the difference between handicap time and elapsed time.

Think of it this way. Each boat is effectively compared to a theoretical yacht with a 1 rating, so its rating is how many minutes it should be ahead of or behind that theoretical yacht after an hour’s sailing if both crews are sailing their boats as well as they can.

The winner is the crew which takes the least time to reach Hobart once its handicap is applied.

IRC took over from IMS, largely because the latter sought to become the perfect formula for wildly different yacht shapes and sizes. It took very technical, scientific approach. All of a yacht’s measurements were compiled to create a 3D model that could predict the boat’s speed in a range of anticipated wind and wave conditions using a Velocity Prediction Program.

It was a great improvement over the IOR handicap system which had dominated yacht racing for years and years. Whereas IMS based its speed forecasts on a view of the whole hull and rig, IOR measured a whole lot of different points on the boat, so designers began putting lots of little bumps and curves here and there, not because they made the boat safer or faster, sometimes quite the contrary, but because they reduced the rating.

Mainsails got smaller, while big, hard to manage headsails got even bigger. The best designers 'gamed' the rule. So in the 70’s, the top IOR boats were heavy displacement, fine bowed, very powerful to windward, but very prone to broaching downwind. They certainly had their heart stopping moments, but you would never call them exhilarating.

Then, later, as the rule evolved, designers like Bruce Farr swept the field with wedge shaped, fuller stern boats that many criticised as not particularly seaworthy.

IMS boats were cleaner, faster, more fun and less expensive. But over time, this quest for the perfect rule became ever more complex and technical, and designers found they could game the rule with slab sided, high freeboard, low stability yachts.

Geoff Ross was initially a great supporter of IMS, campaigning some of the best IMS racers in Australia under the name Yendys, but he now says that IMS proved a complete failure.

'It failed owners,' Ross says, 'Because it did not protect them from new boats.' An expensive, state of the art IMS boat could become superseded and uncompetitive within months as the next, latest IMS design rolled out of the yard.

By contrast, IRC is much simpler, and it tends to favour medium displacement boats and simple rigs. It also protects owners from new boats, Ross says. 'It preserves the competitiveness of existing boats and rewards new boats. Look at Loki,' he says, 'she is four years old now but she is still winning races.'

The same can be said for Love & War, the 39 year-old wooden boat that won the Rolex Sydney Hobart for the third time in 2006, and others like her.

Love & War, the 39 year-old wooden boat that won the Rolex Sydney Hobart for the third time in 2006. -  © Rolex-Daniel Forster   Click Here to view large photo

Moreover, a secrecy clause means that designers cannot game the IRC rule so easily. Only the RORC Rating Office knows the formula, which they are constantly amending in response to results and owner feedback. The RORC burghers guide designers and owners from the back room, issuing new guidelines every year, but there is no definitive, public formula that will allow a designer to guarantee the owner an absolute rating.

IRC acolytes consider this secrecy the strength of the system. There is as yet no clear idea of what an optimal IRC yacht might look like, and in recent years we have seen the rule produce some really exciting boats that are immense fun to sail, but safe and very forgiving. Whereas once even elite ocean racers plodded down to Hobart at nine knots, today 25 knot plus reaches are the order of the day on the top boats.

Some though, like Ed Psaltis, a former Hobart winner, do worry about what he calls the secret fudge factor 'that allows the powers that be to act like gods,' favouring a particular style of boat.

The IRC rule was originally introduced to give mum and dad cruiser racers a way to compete against the IMS Grand Prix boats. Psaltis, who’s super-fast and exciting skiff-like Ker 40 AFR Midnight Rambler is very much a Grand Prix racer, believes while the rule has spawned exciting bigger boats, like the TP52’s and last year’s race winner, Loki, a Reichel/Pugh 63; in the 38 to 45 foot range the rule favours what he calls 'a certain type of French built cruiser racer'.

Bruce Taylor, who’s latest Chutzpah is one of the most exciting boats in the fleet, worries that since the 38 to 45 foot range is the entry level for ocean racing, the next generation won’t leave their thrilling, edgy skiffs for what he sees as the stodgy boats voted most likely to win by the English rating office.

83, AFR Midnight Rambler, Sail No: 8338, Owner: Ed Psaltis, Design: Ker 40, LOA (m): 12.2, State: NSW -  © Rolex-Daniel Forster   Click Here to view large photo
Psaltis says that Bruce Farr is already designing a Beneteau 40 that beats the rule, the same way designers beat the IOR rule. 'Good designers can always beat any rule,' he surmises.

Critics and advocates of the prevailing system all agree, though, that there has to be a balance in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, and in ocean racing generally, between the club friendly cruiser racers and the flat out Grand Prix types.

The CYCA points to the wide range of yachts, from super maxis to 30 year old former IOR veterans like Love & War, Beneteau 40’s, to last year’s thoroughbred Loki, which have graced the podium in recent years as clear evidence that the IRC handicapping system is working well.

Both cruiser racer and elite Grand Prix crews are in with a winning chance in a race that somehow continues to inspire amateurs and professionals alike. A Loki can win, but so can a Maluka.

Globally a trans Atlantic war is developing between the English and the French, who love IRC, and the Americans, who are pushing for a sort of son of IMS, the ORCi, which is transparent and takes the best of IMS, but is not as technically complex.

Psaltis like ORCi because of its transparency, but Ross says what matters is not whether the rule is transparent or secret, but what results it has produced. 'It has produced quicker, better balanced boats and astonishingly good racing.'

That debate will no doubt provide hours of fun in club bars around Australia over the next few years, and this year a number of yachts will be competing in both IRC and ORCi categories. Who knows how the yachts will be rated in 2020?

However, for the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart, IRC rules.

Rolex Sydney Hobart website


by Jim Gale

  

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

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=104759

11:47 PM Sun 16 Dec 2012GMT


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







News - USA and the World

Volvo Ocean Race: Leading the Charge - your VOR Form Guide by Ben Gladwell, Boating New Zealand - www.stu
For the first time, the Volvo Ocean Race is to be contested in a strict, one-design class. The emphasis is shifted from who has the best boat to suit the conditions to who has the best men - or women - onboard. ... [more]  

Three America's Cup sailors have been named in the top 20 sports earners, in a list published in the New Zealand Herald this week. Topping the list is Sir Russell Coutts with a claimed earnings of $13million. He is just a $1million ahead of an English Premier League player, Winston Reid, and motor racing ace, Scott Dixon. All Black captain, Ritchie McCaw is ranked #5. ... [more]  

Melges 32 World Championship - Prepare for off-the-charts action by International Melges 32 Class Association
Entering its sixth World Championship season, the International Melges 32 Class Association has raced at arguably every world-class venue on the globe, has seen the most respected pro and amateur sailors on its courses and most importantly, learned valuable lessons of what owners and sailors want so that the Melges 32 continues to be strongest one design grand prix sportboat on the planet. ... [more]  

With light winds continuing to dominate on day six of the Davidoff Cool Water Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam, the decision was made to begin the Reno SUP Challenge during the afternoon, which saw twelve teams battling it out in heats of two for a place in tomorrow’s final, to keep the crowds entertained. ... [more]  

Photographer Carlo Borlenghi was on deck for day three of Les Voiles de Saint Tropez to capture these stunning images of the action. ... [more]  

The IFDS Rankings for Paralympic Classes have been released. It's a British 1-2 at the top of the 2.4mR Rankings with Megan Pascoe at world number one and Helena Lucas at world number two. 2014 World Champion Heiko Kroger (GER) sits at world number seven but counts less regattas than those above him. ... [more]  

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and Rolex are happy to reveal the Nominees for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2014. ISAF received nominations for the 2014 Awards from across the world for sailors representing all aspects of the sport. ... [more]  

Like the name implies, the goal of the boater-funded BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is to educate boaters about safe and clean boating. The Foundation is looking to fund Grassroots Grant projects that utilize new, innovative approaches that encourage safe and clean boating among the boating public. ... [more]  

The 35th edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race is fast approaching and appears likely to rewrite the record books. Entries are shortly due to close and the Royal Malta Yacht Club is already bracing itself for the biggest fleet to grace its island home since the Great Siege of 1565. The Ottoman Armada of 450 years ago was recorded to be 193 in strength. ... [more]  

The Notice of Race for ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, scheduled for 25-31 January 2015, has been released. On-line entry will open on 10 November 2014. The deadline for priority entries with regards to quotas is 5 December 2014. Entries must be received no later than 5 January 2015 to qualify for early entry. ... [more]  

A stellar list of just under 100 broadcasters has been lined up to showcase the world’s toughest ocean challenge, the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, to a new global audience of fans. The 12th edition has offered channels a line-up of a new 39-part weekly half-hour show plus special short bespoke features. ... [more]  

Photographer Eugenia Bakunova of leading Russian website www.mainsail.ru was on the water at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez on the French Riveria , and provided this gallery of images of the classics and other yachts racing on Day 2 ... [more]  

New Ragamuffin 100 emerges from the hull build in Nowra *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
Ragamuffin 100, which started out as a modified Elliott design, Maximus, is another supermaxi undergoing a major rebuild or retrofit. Across the Tasman, the new Ragamuffin 100 will be virtually a new boat with a a new hull design by Andy Dovell / Syd Fischer / David Witt. The hull mould and shell was built by Innovation Composites at the Nowra facility. ... [more]  

Southern Spars ships the world's tallest masts by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz
Leading world sparmaker, Southern Spars, has shipped two spars for a new 85 metre ketch. The superyacht will carry two 93metre masts which will be the world’s tallest rigs on one gigantic yacht. ... [more]  

Professional sailing photographers from all over the world are invited to join the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image award 2014. Started in 2009, the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image is the world’s premier photography competition dedicated to the sport of sailing. The prestigious trophy will be awarded during the World Yacht Racing Forum in Barcelona, on December 11, 2014. ... [more]  

David Kellett (AUS) is to be awarded the ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy which honours an individual for their outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing. The ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy, first presented in 1988 in memory of Beppe Croce, the ISAF President from 1969 to 1986, will be presented to Kellett at the 2014 ISAF Annual Conference in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. ... [more]  

After being graced with plenty of late summer sunshine during the opening days of the event, more autumnal weather moved in on the fifth day of the Davidoff Cool Water Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam with grey skies and infrequent showers. Unfortunately though the light winds continued as the sailors endured another lay day. ... [more]  

In a move that is expected to benefit recreational boaters, on Oct. 22 the US Coast Guard will drop the current life jacket type code scheme -- Type I, II, III, IV and V -- that has been used for years to label and differentiate the types of life jackets and their specific use. ... [more]  

Kate Nota and her team onboard the J/111 Odyssey won the Ripple Effect Short Video Contest, which was part of the Ida Lewis Distance Race this summer (August 15). ... [more]  

The largest Laser World Championship in history will be taking place on the south coast of France when 515 sailors, representing 36 different countries, begin racing on October 5 to open the 2014 Audi Laser Masters’ World Championships. The Laser remains one of the best and most popular boats worldwide in which to enjoy the sport of sailing. ... [more]  

Carlo Borlenghi was back on the water for day two at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez to capture these images. ... [more]  

It has been an interesting journey so far for the Chinese team in the Volvo Ocean Race, Dongfeng Race Team. Approximately 10 months ago this team set out on a mission to select and train Chinese recruits in the hope that they would be ‘race ready’ for the start of leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race fans can now carry the world’s toughest ocean race in their pocket, thanks to the launch of a new official mobile app. Developed for both iOS and Android systems, the app is available for download from the App Store and Google Play now – and boasts a host of exciting features which will allow users to be closer to the on-water adventure than ever before. ... [more]  

Race teams planning next season’s calendar could do worse than sign up for the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series 2015 which runs from 16-24 January. This event, which kick starts the Caribbean race season, was re-launched in 2014 with a new race format and plenty of record-breaking opportunities. It proved such a success that an even bigger entry is expected in 2015. ... [more]  

Photographer Eugenia Bakunova of leading Russian website www.mainsail.ru was on the water at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez on the French Riveria , and provided this gallery of images of the classics and other yachts racing ... [more]  

Sunset+Vine|APP, the Oxford-based unit of the multi-award winning UK independent TV sports production and media company Sunset+Vine, has helped ISAF smash all previous broadcaster records for the recent Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships. ... [more]  

2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup - Melbourne - Don’t forget to enter the ISAF Sailing World Cup – Melbourne. There are only two days left to take advantage of the discounted entry price offer. ... [more]  

2014 12 Metre North American Championships - Two days of a northerly (first strong, then light) and one day of a building southwesterly put six 12 Metre yachts to the test at their North American Championships, which were held off Newport, R.I. over September 26-28. Gunther Buerman’s (Newport, R.I.) KZ-3 and Dennis Williams’ (Hobe Sound, Fla.) Victory ’83 defended their titles ... [more]  

The waiting game continued on day four of the Davidoff Cool Water Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam as the light winds continued. Over the course of the day a few sailors took the opportunity to make the most of the small waves on offer, either surfing or SUPping. After spending the day on hold the sailors were released at 4:30pm. ... [more]  

After Gmunden, Austria, in 2011 and Cala de' Medici, Italy, in 2012 and after a pained second place, same points with the Portogues 'Credite Egs' in Portosin, Spain, last year, the Italian crew coming from Puglia 'Euz II Monella Vagabonda', with Sandro Montefusco at the helm and his brother Paolo as a tactician, confirms for the third time the Platu 25 World Championship title. ... [more]  

Carlo Borlenghi was on deck for the first day of competition at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez to capture these images. ... [more]  

Photographer Ingrid Abery was on site for day one of racing at the 2014 Les Voiles de Saint Tropez to capture these images. ... [more]  

The final day of the 2014 U.S. Team Racing Championship ended up being a half day of sailing due to a complete shutdown of the wind. However, the fleet completed enough races to count Gold Round Robin 3 and crown Ladies and Gentlemen as the back-to-back Team Racing Champions. ... [more]  

National Sailing Hall of Fame inducts eight
2016 ISAF Youth Match Racing Worlds - Bid guidelines now published
Volvo Ocean Race: Last medical training for the onboard sailors +Video
2014 Melges 20 Pacific Coast Championship - Images by Erik Simonson
J/105 North American Champs- Rod Wilmer and Terry McLaughlin succeeds
Extreme Sailing Series: Burling and Tuke back on board for Nice Act
2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen wins US event
America's Cup: Oracle Team USA's AC72 takes to the streets
Alpari World Match Racing Tour - Canfield wins first Dutch Match Cup
Pantaenius and Camper & Nicholsons Marinas become strategic partners
Kite Foil Gold Cup Australia 2014 – Day two video
Bart's Bash: Update and Video - Information overload!
2014 U.S. Team Racing Championship - Day 2
2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - USA leads Denmark in Sheboygan final
2014 U.S. Adult Sailing Championship - Benz Faget wins third mallory
J/105 North American Champ - Wilmer/McLaughlin team maintain advantage
Images from Cannes: Régates Royales – Trophée Panerai
Régates Royales – Trophée Panerai: Cannes at its best
Dutch Match Cup - Gilmour keeps clean sheet in Lelystad
Dutch Match Cup - GAC Pindar through to fifth consecutive semi-final
Hobie 16 Open North Americans and 2015 Pan Am Games qualifier overall   
Volvo Ocean Race - Frostad on Boat Design and final changes (Part II) *Feature   
Volvo Ocean Race 10 days to go – Frostad on cultural change (Part I) *Feature   
2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race on NBC Sports Network in the U.S.   
2014 J/24 World Championship - Will Welles’ Cougar clinches   
2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - Meldgaard and Le Berre ready for semis   
2014 U.S. Adult Sailing Championship - Day 3   
2014 U.S. Team Racing Championship - Day 1 + Video   
America's Cup: Then and now - Coutts on why Oracle won, and the Venue   
Byte CII World Sailing Championship comes to Royal Varuna, Thailand   
Dutch Match Cup: Canfield wins Qualifying, six set for Quarters battle   
12 Metre North Americans - A blast from the America’s Cup past   
2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup qualification system published   
Volvo Ocean Race: Mapfre named as Spanish team sponsor + Video   
Extreme Sailing Series returns to Nice for the penultimate Act of 2014   
ISAF invites bids for 2016 Women's Match Racing World Championship   
2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup, Melbourne - Teaming up   
Mascalzone Latino Jr. named 2014 Melges 20 European Ranking Champion   
2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - Le Berre keeps winning in Sheboygan   
Hobie 16 Open North American Champ and Pan Am Games Qualifier - Day 4   


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 NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT