The fastest yacht in the southern hemisphere, Sean Langman’s imposing 60-foot trimaran Team Australia and its six adrenaline-fuelled crewmembers are gearing up to try and break the first of a number of South Pacific course and race records. World-renowned marine forecaster Roger ‘Clouds’ Badham says conditions this coming Friday, February 22, could create the perfect weather window to break Mari Cha III’s 1999 course record from Sydney to Hobart.
Forecast fresh easterlies, little seaway and beating the start of the whale migration north from Antarctica are the necessary ingredients for the attempt. Based on current models all these elements are set to align later this week.
Langman and his crew are planning to leave Sydney Harbour from a set of bearings between North and South Head on Friday morning. They will use the famous Sydney Hobart yacht race finish line off Battery Point in Hobart to mark the end point of their record attempt.
A recording box will be installed tomorrow on Team Australia by World Sailing Speed Record Council representative John Brookes and the information verified at the finish, should the 14 year-old fastest course time be bettered.
Nicknamed ‘big bird’ after its arched beams and outrigger hulls and the fact it resembles a large bird in full flight when powered-up, Team Australia is back in the water having had work done, and is set to fly.
'It’s a record, it’s there to break,' says Langman matter-of-factly.
He’s also motivated by sailing ‘green’, that is the multihull will be driven solely by human power making it a clean run for the environment. Given some sectors of Australian sport are in the doldrums, Langman says it’s a good time to remind the public that sailing is one of Australia’s most successful sports given the country’s world-beating performance at the London Olympics.
Team Australia is conducting sea trials daily in anticipation of challenging the famous Sydney to Hobart course record.
The current record was set by the 147-foot Great British superyacht, Mari Cha III, in December 1999 in a time of one day 18 hours 27 minutes and 10 seconds, a time sanctioned by the WSSRC.
The sheer speed of the giant trimaran gives them the capacity to smash that record but, given the vagaries of the infamous Bass Strait and Derwent River, anything can happen.
Team Australia need to average more than 14.83 knots over the 630 nautical miles to break the official record.
Their ultimate goal is to sail from Sydney to Hobart in just 24 hours. This means averaging 26.25 knots or close to 50 kilometres an hour. With just six on the boat at those perilous speeds, sleep won’t be an option.
‘Big bird’ is ready to fly as soon as Roger Badham gives the nod.
Team Australia racing during Audi Hamilton Race week - Saltwater Images ©
To track Team Australia go to Team Australia
by Lisa Ratcliff
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4:48 AM Tue 19 Feb 2013GMT
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