Please select your home edition
X-Yachts AUS X4 728 - 3

Beau Geste’s Christmas wish for Rolex Sydney Hobart

by Lisa Ratcliff on 25 Dec 2016
SOLAS 2016 - Beau Geste on Sydney Harbour Andrea Francolini Photography
On Christmas Eve morning competitors in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race received the Bureau of Meteorology’s official race forecast, indicating a fast start on Sydney Harbour in north-easterlies likely to strengthen throughout the afternoon as the fleet sprints down the NSW coast.

A more traditional Hobart race with a decent upwind slog is the preference for Beau Geste’s sailing team, but it’s unlikely their Christmas wish will be fulfilled this year.

“Beau Geste would prefer a more traditional Hobart race with some solid upwind sailing,” admits tactician Gavin Brady, a 12 time Sydney Hobart competitor. “If it was a typical upwind we’d be on the hammer of the big boats. The four supermaxis have the extra waterline length and the forecast suits them. Beau Geste has given up 20 feet of waterline length and the Volvo 70s 30ft. It’s still on the cards we could get more southerly flow than is forecast.”

Of most concern in terms of finishing the race is hitting an object Brady warns. “In the back of everyone’s mind is hitting a sunfish or ocean debris at speed. We saw it in last year’s Sydney to Hobart and the guys doing the Vendee Globe have had issues. There seems to be more things to hit these days and doing 20 knots in these big boats, 90% of the time you won’t know what you ran into.

“With the warmer ocean temperatures we are seeing more marine life closer to the coast around the world… whales, sharks and sunfish…and seeing more ocean debris. Sailors are watching the wind and waves all the time and have a better idea of what’s happening to our oceans than most.

“Given Beau Geste’s twin rudders and dagger boards, my big concern is running into a floating object.”

Twelve New Zealanders who make up the majority of the Cloudy Bay sponsored 80-footer Beau Geste will farewell their families and head back across the Tasman Sea Christmas Day afternoon to join the Sydney component, including skipper Aaron Rowe and food stylist Donna Hay, and make final preparations for a forecast that’s been consistent for close to two weeks.

Speaking from Auckland Brady suggests that despite the steady forecast competitors can still expect the 628 nautical mile challenge to throw up its usual surprises, especially during the light patches. “The bluewater classic’s unpredictability in real time is famous worldwide.”

Brady says like the rest of the big boats Beau Geste is set up for multiple weather scenarios and on his guess for the pacesetters: “I expect there will be an early breakaway pack with the nor’easter, including us, and whoever makes one mistake will drop out.”

He predicts Beau Geste’s driving/trimming teams will be the busiest, particularly in the first phase given Beau Geste is like a big dinghy downwind and the trimmers and helmsman have to be in sync at all times.

A downhill sleigh ride is great news for Hay who is in charge of the galley and keeping the crew of 17, including herself, well fed and hydrated. Karl Kwok’s 80-footer will stay relatively flat and won’t be pounding into waves with the breeze behind, though crews can expect a southerly change to swing through Monday evening bringing 15-25 knot winds that will make things uncomfortable by comparison.

Winds are then forecast to return to the NNE and a warm and dry race is welcome news for the 900 or so sailors.

Whatever the eventual conditions Brady has his money on strong corrected time results for the medium size boats. “The second half of the race is unknown. No-one’s got a good handle on the last 200 nautical miles in any size range, and if they think they do they are kidding themselves.

“It will be the final 200 miles that sorts out the handicap winner.”

Beau Geste is the fifth largest among the now 89-boat fleet and carries one of the most experienced sailing teams including Olympians, America’s Cup and around-the-world sailors who will head to the starting area on Sydney Harbour from Woolwich Dock on Boxing Day morning.

Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes will be a guest of Cloudy Bay and will be on board Beau Geste prior to the 1pm start.

Rolly Tasker Sails 2019 728x90 FooterVaikobi 2019 - Footer 2Gul 2019 GAMMA Footer

Related Articles

America's Cup: Base construction - Timelapse Video
Check this timelapse video of the America's Cup base construction in Auckland The infrastructure build project for the 36th America's Cup has been underway for over six months.Take a look at this time-lapse footage of our progress over the first sixth months of the 36th America's Cup infrastructure project
Posted today at 6:33 am
Fast multihulls finished, next up Comanche
Jason Carroll's Argo crossed the finish line at Diamond Head in Transpac 50 After Jason Carroll's Argo crossed the finish line at Diamond Head last night 20:52:32 local time, only 29 minutes later Peter Cunningham's PowerPlay crossed the line, followed 6.5 hours later by Giovanni Soldini's Maserati
Posted today at 5:07 am
Governor's Cup 2019 at Balboa Yacht Club day 3
Leonard Takahashi (NZL) continues his winning ways Leonard Takahashi (NZL, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron) solidified his chances of reaching the semi-finals of Balboa Yacht Club's 53rd Governor's Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship presented by DISC Sports
Posted today at 4:29 am
Paris2024: Has Peace broken out in Laser Wars?
Will surprise legal moves be enough to head off the Rule change for the Laser class? With the Laser class considering a significant Rules change Laser Performance Europe may have gazumped the vote with the announcement in social media that they have signed four key agreements required for the class to retain its Olympic status.
Posted today at 3:24 am
Nacra 15 Gold for Australia at Youth Worlds
Success for Will Cooley and Rebecca Hancock in Gdynia, Poland Australian Sailing's Will Cooley and Rebecca Hancock have won gold in the Mixed Nacra 15 at the 2019 Hempel Youth Sailing World Championships in Gdynia, Poland with one day to spare.
Posted today at 2:08 am
Finn Silver Cup day 3
Oskari Muhonen on top after tough third day at Finn U23 Worlds The 2017 U23 Finn World Champion, Oskari Muhonen, from Finland, has taken the lead at the 2019 U23 Finn World Championship for the Jorg Bruder Finn Silver Cup in Anzio, Italy, after wining both races sailed late on Thursday in a very difficult breeze.
Posted on 18 Jul
Race Yachts Premium Brokerage
Asia's champion Mandrake III is available for sale Asia's champion Mandrake III is available for sale. She has an amazing racing record and is a true racer cruiser with a comfortable interior to match her blistering speed.
Posted on 18 Jul
GKA Freestyle World Cup Fuerteventura preview
Kitesurfing to take place at the legendary Sotavento It'll take place at the legendary Sotavento, in the south of the island, a notoriously windy location that has played host to countless kiting and windsurfing World Tour stops over the years.
Posted on 18 Jul
Hempel Youth Sailing Worlds day 4
Three gold medals decided The penultimate day of the 2019 Hempel Youth Sailing World Championships in Gdynia, Poland saw three gold medals decided ahead of Friday's final races.
Posted on 18 Jul
SYRA18: The very latest in sheer foiling pleasure
NTFM SYRA 18 launch during Foiling Week held in Malcesine on Lake Garda Foiling has generated huge interest in the sailing world. Since its introduction to the Moth class and subsequent adoption by the America's Cup and beyond, the imagination of sailors around the world has been captured.
Posted on 18 Jul