Sail World Australia Test 11:21

21 Dec 2009                              If you have trouble reading this email CLICK HERE                To respond to this email CLICK HERE


The Stuff of Dreams

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.

The Line Honours betting this afternoon was

Wild Oats XI 1.80
Alfa Romeo 2.25
ICAP Leopard 4.75
Etihad Stadium – formerly Skandia Wild Thing 11.00
Investec Loyal – formerly Maximus 13.00
Lahana 34.00
Rapture 34.00

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 Rolex 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

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