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Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – The Lazarette Pt II

by John Curnow on 23 Dec 2016
Elena Nova was a standout - 2016 Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week Andrea Francolini, SMIRW
Well the joy of The Lazarette Pt I was in finding all those extra gems that we all know lie in there somewhere. So the very first thing is to say thank you to all of you who corresponded, read, phoned and emailed. She’s a big old hold, our lazarette, what with all the boats and crews contained therein, being as diverse, varied, colourful and different as the world is.

Jumping straight in, as it were, much like you have to do when the laz needs a clean, our first vessel is Craig Neil’s Judel/Vrolijk 42, Elena Nova. She has had a few tweaks since birth and makes her Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race debut this year. Like so many others, she had a stint up in Far North Queensland during the Southern Hemisphere Winter. It was pretty successful too. On board for some of that were Pantaenius Sail and Motor Yacht Insurance crewmembers, Jamie MacPhail and Maike Muth.

German born Muth is also part of Elena Nova’s Hobart crew, and after a busy year with Pantaenius as the agreed value insurer continues to grow and grow, she is very much looking forward to her second Hobart. “The last few months have been very busy for the whole team getting the boat ready for the big race, training and organising things.”

“It is crazy how fast the time has flown since we decided to start this exciting journey early in October. After two years of sailing on this boat I am incredibly excited for Boxing Day and nervous about what the weather will do in the end. Right now it is looking like a very fast race ahead!”

The DK46s have proven to be great ocean competitors since their arrival on the scene in the post IMS days. A good rating and slippery hull form by the talented Mark Mills meant they were on o very near the podium at virtually every outing. Extasea is a 2004 build out of the Malaysian yard.

She was christened, Zephyra, and sailed out of St Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, where she had huge success winning the IRC Big Boat Classic in 2005 through 2007. Zephyra competed in nearly every West Coast race from San Francisco to the Mexican border during that period.

She now hails from Geelong in Victoria, having been purchased by local offshore legend, Paul Buchholz, who commented, “I found the boat whilst overseas and looked at it in San Diego where it had just won the Big Boat series three months prior and she was just parked there. The owner at the time had a change of heart and decided he wanted to take up flying rather than sailing and hence she came on the market.”

“I checked it over in May 2007 during a visit to the USA, negotiated and purchased her in June 2007, and it was then shipped her from the USA to Melbourne. She finally arrived to me in August of that year!”

Crew Spokesman, Paul Hardiman, is part of the well-qualified crew that is skippered by Bryan Kennett. “Different boats appeal for different reasons, but for Buchholz it was the design and success of the class. At the time Phil Coombs was campaigning, Dekedance, and this helped with taking on the DK46 design.”

Success is a bit of a byword for these sailors; so wish them well in their pursuits. They are a hard working outfit and very dedicated to task.

Springday Pazazz is a Cookson 12, one of the successful partnerships between Mick Cookson’s yard in New Zealand and Farr Yacht Design. She is owned by Rob Drury, who is a classic salt in the veins kind of sailor. He got going at age 10 in VJ, was in 16 and 18 foot skiffs in his 20s, top five finisher at Contender World Championships in his 30s, and was in Etchells during his 40s and 50s.

However, and despite all that, Drury is best known for all the short-handed work he has done. He won the 1999 iteration of the 5500nm Melbourne to Osaka in, Sayernara, which was designed and built by John Sayer, who actually ended up being the other hand for run to Osaka, after the two struck up a good friendship. Nara is a place nearby Osaka, hence the boat’s name…

Drury missed the next decade, but eventually got back on the water and in 2012 bought this current boat. Drury is looking forward to the race, commenting, “Hobart has been a passion of mine since my teenage years, as is evidenced by the middle name of my second daughter, Freya. Of course, Freya the boat won a number of Hobart races in the early 1960s.”

“One key issue I’ve learned over the years, sailing success for long races comes from preparation of boat and crew. We’ve got all that together this year and with a great crew assembled of young and old heads, are looking to give it our best shot!”

“My eldest daughter, Georgina, is sailing with me to Hobart, and this gives me a great deal of pleasure. I’m very proud that she is my sponsor for Pazazz with her Springday wellbeing platform for corporations, insurance and medical organisations.”

So with that great segue completed, let’s hear a little bit from Springday’s Founder and CEO, Georgie. Clearly ecstatic, her opening remark ahead of her second Hobart was, “I’m sailing with dad this year!” The self-confessed tech geek in sneakers says, “It is a long way from iPhone solitaire on the couch, but I am up for the challenge.”

As one of the new breed of start-up entrepreneurs, the 39-year-old single mother of two uses technology to ride the wave of innovation, devising new and exciting business models to disrupt Australia’s declining health and wellbeing. She’s a sports and games fanatic, in activewear whenever possible, exuding fitness and rarely sitting still for long. Less obvious is her technology background. Georgie is also a geek, and has a background in organisational development and e-learning.

It took Drury some time to combine her passions of technology and wellbeing with her desire to start a business. Inspiration came when she was pregnant, lying on a couch playing solitaire on her iPhone. She was horrified when she was notified of her award for winning her 1000th game.

“I realised I’d wasted hours of my life playing games on my iPhone. Imagine applying the same amount of energy to something worthwhile? And then if I did, what would it be? I found my answer in the corporate world. Human resources management has been undergoing a quiet revolution for a while. HR managers are realising that, rather than dealing with employees after they become sick, it’s better for everyone if they help them stay well, or improve their wellbeing in the first place. Healthy employees are happy employees, more engaged and more productive.”

But to achieve this, companies must offer up-to-date, relevant, enjoyable, and most of all, measurable, programs that support physical, financial, career, social and emotional wellbeing.

Springday was launched in 2009. It is a software company using a gamified platform selling health and wellbeing programs to corporate, insurance and medical clients. The technology-driven platform collates wellbeing events, challenges, activities and tools, and delivers them via a single portal. Users can choose whatever elements they like and access them via portable devices such as Smartphones and wearables.

Springday remains a portfolio company of Australia’s leading advanced-tech incubator Cicada Innovations, but has grown to offer administration, communication and technical support. It is now the virtual wellbeing arm of some very big companies such as HealthShare NSW, Arcadis, Jemena and PWC.

“To me, the Sydney to Hobart is like a start-up in a lot of ways. You’re all on the same journey, starting at the same place. You know what the variables are, some of them, but don’t know when or how they might affect you. You have to rely on your team, and everyone in the team has to pull their weight. You also rely on the same things you do in business, namely communication, loyalty and trust.”

“Most of all, however, the race is like a start-up, in that you have to take risks. You have to go through some pretty rough times. The opportunity is always there to give up, but I know I have the resilience not to. If you fail, you just have to try again, doing it better, taking every opportunity you can”, concluded Drury.

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 15 hours, which means they will have to work hard to be on 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 for getting up the River Derwent, but certainly better than in the dark. The maxis are at 1:21, the TPs 2:4, displacement 40-Somethings at 2:23, older craft at 3:2 and small at 3:20. 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 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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