Please select your home edition
Edition
Barton Marine 2019 728x90

Wild Oats XI reclaims Line Honours crown in Grinders Coffee SOLAS Big Boat Challenge

by Di Pearson with DJ Munro 11 Dec 2018 00:52 PST 11 December 2018
Wild Oats XI has reclaimed her Line Honours crown today in the Grinders Coffee SOLAS Big Boat Challenge, beating a host of top-line challengers © Andrea Francolini

Despite smart crew work from last year's Line Honours winner Peter Harburg's Black Jack, it was only a matter of moments before the Oatley Family's Wild Oats XI exerted her authority to take Line Honours in the 2018 Grinders Coffee SOLAS Big Boat Challenge on Sydney Harbour today.

Although the breeze was light-on for the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's (CYCA) annual Harbour stoush, the pre-cursor to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the racing between these two super maxis was anything but.

"We were lucky enough to get a great start and that put us in a position to take advantage of the course," said Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards.

"It's always tough racing against Black Jack in lighter air and they certainly kept us on our toes. All crews did a great job on all boats out there today and we are very happy with the Line Honours [Grinders Coffee SOLAS Big Boat Challenge] win."

Behind the pair, Christian Beck's InfoTrack was slow to wind up but soon picked up pace, meanwhile Seng Huang Lee's Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag took a leg out to the western shore and seemed to be struggling. As the race wore on, however, third place became a battle of those two as they swapped third and fourth throughout the race, with InfoTrack coming from behind to claim third place.

Further back from the supers the battle was on between The Oatley Family's Wild Oats X raced by the all-female Ocean Respect Racing; Winning Appliances skippered by John Winning Jr; and Sean Langman's Naval Group. Winning Appliances got off the start smartly and was third behind the leading super maxis for the bulk of the first leg – perhaps John and John's 18-foot skiff skills came into play. Winning Appliances kept the pressure on the whole way around the course, sailed in a mostly 8-10 knot sou 'easterly, to take the Overall Win from Wild Oats XI.

"We've sailed around these headlands many times on 18-foot skiffs and we really enjoyed our second outing now on our Hobart challenger," said Winning Appliances skipper John Winning Jr.

"We've heard a lot about 'finalising preparations for Boxing Day' but for us, this was our first! We're flying in a lot of our crew from interstate and overseas and we're only going to get better and better from here."

Sean Langman's Naval Group, on her second outing today, will now be keen to overcome headsail issues, also experienced by Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag and InfoTrack - which ultimately killed all three's chances of either Line or Overall victories.

Pundits believe that the result of the Grinders Coffee SOLAS Big Boat Challenge is a forecast of what will happen in the Rolex Sydney Hobart. Competitors will tell you this is not the case, however, as there is a big difference between a short Harbour course and the 628-nautical-mile offshore race to Hobart when many other factors come into play.

This was the 25th running of the Big Boat Challenge which started in 1994 when George Snow's Brindabella took Line Honours, another yacht with Sydney Hobart pedigree.

After today's exhibition of the big-end of the fleet, all eyes now turn to the main event, the 'Everest' of Ocean Racing, taking place on Boxing Day. You can keep up with everything going on with this year's Great Race at www.rolexsydneyhobart.com, or on the Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages – and don't forget to use and follow #RolexSydneyHobart on social media to get involved with all the action.

Related Articles

Doyle Sails News - July/August 2020 Review
Doyle Sails - We're all about sailing, innovation and people Doyle Sails International's new extension to our state of the art Stratis facility in Auckland, New Zealand is now operational. Read about Sea Eagle - an 81m, state of the art three-masted sensation powered by Doyle Sails. Posted on 9 Jul
The Australian Sailing and Sea Safety Course
The e-Learning course is a fantastic blended learning opportunity Due to the challenges that COVID-19 has placed on a number of aspects of Sail Training, the Australian Sailing Safety and Sea Survival course, and revalidation, are now available to complete through a flexible e-Learning course. Posted on 3 Jul
2020 Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race date set
The 384-nautical-mile coastal race will now start on 3rd October The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is pleased to announce the release of the Notice of Race and opening of entries for the rescheduled 2020 Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race. Posted on 29 Jun
Six days to go to Virtual Groupama Race
Thousands will be on the start line without a sailing jacket or bag in sight Tame the tradewinds and overcome the pitfalls of a tough offshore race around the largest UNESCO recognised lagoon in the world as planned - almost. Posted on 15 Jun
Cleaner marina focus at CYCA
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia installs six marine-cleaning SeaBin devices The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia has installed six marine-cleaning SeaBin devices around the Club premises in Rushcutters Bay, reaffirming the Club's commitment to the environment. Posted on 3 Jun
New horizons for Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
The Notice of Race for the 2020 race has been released The Notice of Race for the 2020 Rolex Sydney Hobart, the 76th Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, encouraging entrants in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's famous blue-ribbon event, has been released. Posted on 28 May
CYCA YSA announces restart sailing date
A tremendous job in rescheduling nearly all events and courses The CYCA Youth Sailing Academy (YSA) has announced their revised season of winter training as NSW restrictions are eased following the COVID-19 pandemic. Posted on 27 May
All-star Rolex Sydney Hobart Podcast released
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia released a podcast on its annual blue-ribbon race The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the Organising Authority behind the Rolex Sydney Hobart, has released a podcast on its annual blue-ribbon race. Posted on 27 May
Rare colour film of 1967 Admiral's Cup
Discovered in Whitstable YC archives Rare documentary footage of the 1967 Admiral's Cup has been discovered in the archives at Whitstable Yacht Club. It is in colour too! Posted on 15 May
October start for Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Race
A major lead-up event to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race The 2020 Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, a major lead-up event prior to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, has been rescheduled to start in October. Posted on 12 May
Gul 2020 FOOTERNorth Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - FooterRS Sailing 2020 - RSSS - FOOTER