For the last 64 years the 628 nautical mile Sydney to Hobart ocean race has tended to find out if a boat and crew are properly prepared.
Boats that come straight from the factory, off the ocean freighter, have not been raced for a long time or have last minute do or die assemblies, tend to be those that have little issues and that sometimes means Sydney, Bateman's Bay or Eden are the first port of call rather than Hobart.
One of the easy guides to a boats preparedness going into the Hobart is Middle Harbours Short Ocean Racing Championship (SSORC), the traditional short and sharp offshore series at the end of November.
Boats that are on site and sorted a month before Boxing Day have to be a better bet than those that are still bolting on chain plates two or three sleeps before the start of this blue water classic.
In the handicap fleet, Stephen Ainsworth's Reichel Pugh 63 Loki, Geoff Ross Reichel Pugh 55 Yendys and Bob Steel's 2008 Rolex Sydney Hobart overall winner Quest, the top three IRC Racers at the SSORC are well sorted, while for others the tyranny of distance delivers issues.
Major spinnaker issues on the Kiwi built and Sean Langman chartered Investec Loyal and an ordinary start by Ran in Saturday's Rolex Passage Race were not positives this close to the big race. However, at least they were on a start line a week before the main event.
Right now its safe to assume the work to be done' list on Grant Wharington's Etihad Stadium, the former Skandia Wild Thing, is a bit longer than most.
Dismasted off the Victorian coast just nine days ago, most pundits had written the 30 metre (98 foot) supermaxi off for 2009.
However Wharington is a fighter; in theory the two parts of the 45 metre Alfa Romeo mast that has to modified for his supermaxi Etihad Stadium, will touch down on a Qantas flight from Singapore at 1400 on (Monday) and will arrive by truck at the Sydney City Marina in Rozelle Sydney at 1700 Monday. Then the work begins.
While Wharington remains his 'ever positive' self, we wonder what he actually thinks his chances of getting past Eden with the unexpected interruption to his preparation, really are? Right now there are a lot of boats that might be a better Hobart arrival bet. Earlier in the week the Melbourne sailor was saying the odds were 1000-1 against.
Today he was much more upbeat. 'We're taking everything one hour and one day at a time and we're quietly confident that we will make it to the start line on Boxing Day for the 2009 Role Sydney Hobart.'
Given the complexity of the task and the time available, if Wharro and his supermaxi Etihad Stadium race up the Derwent into fourth place or better on line honours in the 2009 Rolex Sydney to Hobart, it will be the stuff of dreams...
Rob Kothe & the Sail-World Team
Sydney Hobart Fast Track - an impossible dream for Etihad Stadium? Jody O'Brien, Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - dismasted nine days ago, on a delivery passage to Sydney. its been a roller coaster ride for the owner and crew of the former Sydney Hobart line honours winner Skandia Wild Thing now renamed Etihad Stadium. Project Start Line is on track for the Etihad Stadium Supermaxi with Grant Wharington and his crew pleased with their progress over the weekend to prepare the 98 f... [more] Onsend this story
Rolex Trophy Rating Series: Limit wins series –Living Doll the race Di Pearson CYCA Media, They judged the Shark Island start perfectly, were the third yacht heading out of Sydney Harbour and then Alan Brierty and his Limit crew mowed down the JV 72 RÁN, gybing inside her under spinnaker, with the finish line in sight, catching a nice puff to beat RÁN, and more importantly, Loki, their main adversary for the series.... [more] Onsend this story
Rolex Sydney Hobart - Follow the action with Bass & Flinders Cruises Sail-World, On Boxing Day Bass & Flinders vessels Ocean Dreaming I, Ocean Dreaming 2 and Sun Cat will follow the Sydney to Hobart fleet right from the start. ‘We take our boat out with 200 passengers and we are able to follow them down the leading boats because our vessels do travel at about 28 knots, so we can keep up with them out on the ocean.... [more] Onsend this story
Updating Rolex Sydney Hobart Fleet Notes Rob Kothe & Trevor Walkley, Sail-World's Fleet Notes for the 64th annual Rolex Sydney to Hobart race are on-line now. If you are racing south, check if the skipper has spelled your name right and has detailed correctly the number of Hobart's you've done. That is if he's not even put you on the list yet. If you see any errors, please ask your skipper to correct the boat notes now.... [more] Onsend this story
Rolex Trophy Series pictures from Andrea Francolini Sail-World.com, Rolex Trophy Rating Series pictures from photographer Andrea Francolini.... [more] Onsend this story
Rolex Trophy Passage Series – Alfa Romeo comes out firing Di Pearson, Neville Crichton and his Alfa Romeo crew made short work of Day 1 of the Rolex Trophy Passage Series. In what was ultimately a reaching race for the top half of the fleet, it was a comfortable offshore race sailed under a sunny sky on relatively flat seas.... [more] Onsend this story
Rolex Trophy Rating Series - Loki throws a spanner in the works Di Pearson, Rolex Trophy Rating Series - Stephen Ainsworth's Loki has thrown a spanner in the works of near-sistership Limit, owned by Alan Brierty, today taking control of the Rolex Trophy Rating Series. It was Loki's turn in the Passage Race. 'Conditions were changeable, but it was basically a reach in and a reach out for the first few boats.' - Stephen Ainsworth.... [more] Onsend this story
First boats home in Rolex Trophy Series passage race Di Pearson, Neville Crichton and his Alfa Romeo crew made short work of the Rolex Trophy Rating Series 27 nautical mile Passage Race today, the 100 footer from New Zealand taking just one hour 48 mins 25 secs to complete the race... [more] Onsend this story
Project Start Line for Etihad Stadium Supermaxi crew Etihad Stadium Supermaxi Media, Everyone's skill sets within the crew are a vital ingredient to 'Project Start Line' – with sail-makers, electrical engineers and stainless steel fabricators working overtime with skipper and owner Grant Wharington on their common goal of lining up with all the other supermaxis in the 65th Rolex Sydney Hobart – a race that will be Grant's 24th .... [more] Onsend this story
UK maxi ICAP Leopard ready for ashes style battle with aussie defender Rolex Sydney Hobart Media, UK maxi ICAP Leopard will arrive in Sydney on Saturday 19 December, ready to race and hungry to beat the rest of the Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet to Hobart.... [more] Onsend this story
A big event development year behind us - An even bigger year ahead! Bob Williams, From Bob Williams, CEO, Ocean Events, the Western Australian company behind the Around Australia Ocean Race and Rally events. 'This year is almost done and what a wonderful year it has been. First half of the year saw sailors from Australia and around the world responding to our on-line questionnaire asking what they would like in the way of a Race and Rally around Australia.... [more] Onsend this story
Iconic maxi Lion New Zealand returns to Rolex Sydney Hobart Rolex Sydney Hobart Media, Twenty-five years on from its line honours victory in the great Australian ocean classic, iconic Kiwi Whitbread maxi Lion New Zealand has returned to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Lion New Zealand was built in 1984 for Sir Peter Blake and was his entry in the 1985/86 Whitbread Round The World yacht race.... [more] Onsend this story
Limit Match Races Loki for Rolex Trophy Rating Series Lead Di Pearson, Day 2 of the Rolex Trophy Series finally started with breeze just before 1.00pm on the Macquarie Circle off Sydney Heads.... [more] Onsend this story
Rolex Sydney Hobart - Follow the action with Bass & Flinders Cruises Sail-World, When the whale season finishes in early December, Bass & Flinders turn their attention to boat watching. 'If the forecast are right this year, it will be a spectacular sight as the fleets sets spinnakers as they come out of the heads. Last year we ran to Kurnell with the leaders came back through the fleet to the middle group,stayed with them and then came up to the tail enders'... [more] Onsend this story
Sally Rattle the sole woman owner/skipper in Sydney Hobart race Peter Campbell, Derwent Sailing Squadron member Sally Rattle will be the sole woman owner/skipper in this year's Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, sailing her Archambault 35 Archie.... [more] Onsend this story
Sydney - Hobart - The Real Race – for overall handicap honours Rob Kothe & the Sail-World Team, With the 2009 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Line Honours fleet locked in a speed battle, ignoring IRC ratings, just throwing up more ‘canvas' the 70 footers are the new big boats in Tattersalls Cup IRC terms.... [more] Onsend this story
Etihad Stadium Supermaxi skipper gets some sleep at last Jody O'Brien, The owner and skipper of the Etihad Stadium Supermaxi got to bed before 3am for the first time in a week last night, with a transport solution for the replacement mast appearing to be settled.... [more] Onsend this story
Sydney Hobart - East Coast Coast Current - It's Ripping.... Penny Haire, Strong currents of up to 4.5kts could bring boat breaking conditions for Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race... [more] Onsend this story
Sydney-Hobart Spectator fleet - no place for inexperienced skippers Bob Wonders, To join the recreational flotilla watching the start of the blue water classic demands a considerate helmsman. Commonsense is something we're all supposed to have, but it is often, too often, lacking among many recreational boat owners, be they skippering ‘tinnies' or megayachts.... [more] Onsend this story
Pictures from onboard Wild Oats XI Sail-World.com, Some people have great jobs, as these pictures from photographer Andrea Francolini show. Yesterday, Andrea was onboard Bob Oatley's Wild Oats XI.... [more] Onsend this story
Tidetech Sydney to Hobart currents now downloadable through Expedition Penny Haire, Fans of Expedition tactical and navigation software are used to it doing very clever things - and now they have something new to play with for this year's Hobart.... [more] Onsend this story