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Barton Marine 2019 728x90

Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – The Lazarette Pt I

by John Curnow on 22 Dec 2016
Triton-Michael Cranitch/David Gotze - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2014 Howard Wright /IMAGE Professional Photography
You never no what you find when you go digging down in a boat’s lazarette. You’ll also never what you’ll find out until you ask! Often, the bigger the boat, the more gear and sometimes the odd gem really does appear. The more cruisy a boat is, the more likely you are to find a plethora of items, akin to Grandpa’s shed out the back.

So with many thanks to the breadth and depth of the fleet, thank you for telling us who and what you are. Below are the very comments they made.

KLC Bengal7 from Japan is a Humphreys 54 with a lifting keel. On board are veterans of the Transpac (LA to Hawaii) and the 5500nm Melbourne to Osaka. They have again sailed from Japan to Sydney this year for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and Mayuko Terao says, “Yasuharu Ando, the delivery Skipper, and the race crew have sailed over 140,000nm in the Pacific.” Well-done team and best of luck for this race, after your mainsail issues last year forced you out.

Flying Fish Arctos is Radford penned McIntyre 55. A friend tells me he remembers fondly how he spent a day on her about 15 years ago before she sailed around Antarctica. is a provider of training to maritime and alpine professionals.

Primitive Cool is the old Secret Men’s Business 3.5, the Reichel-Pugh 51 that was born as a 47, hence the half. John Newbold now owns her. The Melburnians have worked hard to build a strong, local team that competes regularly in and offshore. Collectively, the crew has over 120 Hobarts between them, with one crewmember doing their first, and the legendary Col Anderson from Doyle Sails doing his 36th! Boat Captain, David ‘Suds’ Sudano used to sail with Sean Langman on the ‘Skiff on Steroids’ (Grundig/Xena).

Kristen Buckland also comments, “The crew also includes Eric Holden (Navigator and Rolex Canadian Sailor of the Year) and Piers Hugh Smith, doing their third and second Rolex Sydney Hobart Race on Primitive Cool respectively, both of them off the back of their second place in the RORC Transatlantic on Team Maverick.”

“We also have crewmember Matt Setton doing his ninth Sydney to Hobart, leading up to his 2018 Melbourne to Osaka double-handed campaign on Jazz Player. Primitive Cool will again be showing our support for Sea Shepherd, whose mission owner John Newbold is very passionate about.” We like that! All the best you.

Seems fitting that the next boat is Hartbreaker, which was SMB2, then Shamrock. The RP46 is an absolute pencil, with a very fine groove, giving the helmers plenty to think about. Since getting her going again, Antony Walton and Alan Breidahl have taken her back North once more for Airlie Beach Race Week and the like, which was of course the locale of original misfortune, back in the day. We hope they continue their rise and avoidance of issues.

Quetzalcoatl is a Don Jones 40. He also penned all of his eight Cadibarras, except for the dinghy, which I think still exists as Cadibarra IX. Jones was also the designer of the former Line Honours winner, Wild Thing. The King Billy Pine strips with an epoxy skin vessel is light for her age (2001), and was bought by her current owners in 2007. They are Anthony Bruce, James Lee Warner and Anto Sweetapple, with the latter the Skipper. She has competed in the 2007, 08, 09, 11 and 14 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Races as well.

Sweetapple comments, “She is incredibly fast downwind. ‘The Flying Surfboard’ has achieved a top speed of 26.2 knots or 48.5km/h. We have a total of 33 Sydney to Hobart’s worth of experience in this year’s race. Anthony Bruce, Lee Warner, Anto Sweetapple and Mark Ayto (Navigator) have sailed in all five previous Sydney to Hobart’s under the current ownership. Our goal is to have a safe and fast trip to Hobart and finish in the Top Five of our divisions.”

Editor’s note: David Ulm is listed as the Chief Wave Whisperer, so he’s got one hell of job.

M3 is a Farr penned, Goetz (R.I, USA) built TP52. She had the gunwales in her quarters extended some time ago to allow crew to sit right aft and has always been quick. Brent Fowler of Quantum Sails WA is to be Peter Hickson’s Skipper, with Civil Engineer, Luke Campbell the Navigator. A fellow West Australian reliably informs me that Hickson has a delightfully dry sense of humour, which could well be a handy weapon out in the big blue. Also on board is Brett Van Munster, who amongst other things, like Fred Barrett’s FB35, builds the 18-foot Skiffs that power along Sydney Harbour to the delight of all.

The late Lou Abraham’s old Sydney 38, Challenge, is back for its second time in the big race that got Louey inspired 44 times before he retired from ocean racing. Chris Mrakas has an eclectic mix of sailors with club racers combining with Olympians. The very experienced Chris ‘Webbo’ Webster will be their Navigator.

We have spoken before about the incredibly charming ‘Commodore’ Jim Cooney and his VO70, Maserati. You can read about that here. Fidelis and Balance we have also spoken about, and you can read that piece here.

Wicked is a Beneteau First 40 from Melbourne, with the distinctive witch graphics. The father and son team of Mike and Mark Welsh have been terrific campaigners for a long time in so many yacht races. Alas, for Mike this year it is the couch, due to a recent knee replacement. Mark says, “We are looking forward to another crack at our regular rival First 40, Two True (Overall Winner in 2009), as well as the other First 40’s in the fleet.”

“Also joining Wicked in the Hobart this year is current Victorian Sydney 38 State Champion Skipper, Andrew Mollison from Sierra Chainsaw. He too is also one that regular sails with his family, in the form of father Mel, and brother Pat. On board for her first Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is Australian Olympian, Krystal Weir, who represented Australia at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. She was also the World Champion in the Laser Radial (2004) and Hobie 16 (2016).

Triton was launched as Vanguard and was penned by David Lyons and her original owner, Dick Cawse. Today she is campaigned by David Goetze and Michael Cranich. Goetze is the Skipper and the starting helmsman is former Olympian, Matt Hayes. Hayes was also Syd Fischer’s longest serving principal helmer, working with him from 1996 to 2013.

Hayes commented, “She is a lovely 60-footer that was built to last. She rates OK, and we do well in reaching and running where waterline counts, but the TPs will get away if it is fresh. We’re also ok with some upwind, but stronger rather than lighter, say 20-35kts, which is full main and the number three or a slab and number four.”

“This year with new mainsail cars the boat is prepared well, so well done Richard - proactive maintenance wins the day! We are not a rockstar boat. Lots of young guys on board. They are all good and many are World Champions in skiffs etc. We get on well, and it is an enthusiastic bunch. At the other end of the scale you have Tony Ellis doing his 49th Hobart as he chases down Tony Cable’s record. One of them will succeed in having the most ever!”

Former merchant ship driver, Adam Manders is the Navigator. “They are a great bunch with lots of experience we should have a good race. They call me Shrek on this boat, but I do much prefer my previous one, Hugo (Boss).” This is a boat that will have fun and work hard to achieve their objectives.

So it looks like the charge of the kites, with a strong NE a featuring item in the routing. Will it be enough to convince Matt Allen to take the blue boat? Will they have to change a crewmember in the form of a chiropractor to put their backs back in after tugging on that tiller for the best part of two days?

Talking with Allen, he said, 'We are leading the Blue Water Point Score with the blue Ichi Ban (GenV Tp52 Mod.), so we are certainly keen to take it. It is a long way out and things can always change, but we are cautiously optimistic that it will be wet’n’wild, so good thing we have eight or nine drivers on board. I have certainly been in the gym in preparation.”

“We are going with our full allotment of 15, so yes, plenty of time in the back corner for all”, noted Allen who understood we were not trying to put the hex on them.

Current routing, which has to be viewed in light of the changes that can and do occur on the East coast of Australia, especially at this time of year, has the supermaxis at 1 day and 13 hours, the maxis at 1:16, both of which are under record pace, which is 1:18 and some change. Note that this puts you at the iron pot at/near sunrise, which is not ideal. The TPs are at 2:1, displacement 40-Somethings at 2:19, older craft at 3:6 and small at 3:22. We’ll have more on all of this as the super all-important weather window first gets a frame, then panes of glass, well before any paint gets applied, let alone before any internal dressings, as the next few days unfold.

Ultimately then if you are looking for smiles yourself, then do keep a weather eye here on for all the latest intel on the great, inspiring, captivating and very historic, blue water classic… The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

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