Please select your home edition
Zhik 2021 Season 2 LEADERBOARD

Sydney Hobart – Sharks and Tales

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 27 Dec 2019 18:34 PST
SHK Scallywag would eventually become the leader after the breeze gave out © Crosbie Lorimer

Once again, the five supermaxis showed just how close they really are by finishing the 628nm course within two hours of each other. All very different, yet extremely close, and all with their own individual sweet spots.

Jack Macartney from SHK Scallywag, who had the lead for so much of the race said, “We sailed a nice race, and are happy with what we achieved. Last night we hit a shark whilst doing 25 knots, and then broached as it slammed into the leeward rudder. We had to furl up, and then back down hard, as it was folded around the rudder. Thankfully there was no damage to the boat. We did lose 2-4nm out of the exercise, which meant Black Jack got past us, and Wild Oats XI closed in somewhat. It was great to see the crew work so well all race, not just at that time.”

“All the boats are so close, and you throw in the various sail packages and just sail the boat as best you know how.” In relation to moving out West on that first afternoon Macartney said, “We knew Wild Oats XI would sail deep VMG, so we had to place ourselves for that first transition, and the one we expected in the Derwent, only the second one did not arrive. InfoTrack really fired up overnight, and all in all it was a fun race. It is pretty cool having five, competitive 100s with top crew from all over the world on board. You just don’t get that anywhere else on the planet.”

Stan Honey, Navigator aboard Comanche commented quayside, “It unfolded according to plan. From the outset we had decided to sail our own race. This boat has some weak spots, particularly in the light, so to win we needed to be where the wind was. This explains why we were so far East. It does surprise me that Wild Oats were so far back, as they are so well prepared, and are such a good crew.”

As for the light patches within sight of the line he said, “It felt like we had gone to see a bad movie. ‘O oh I know how this ends and it is not good’, but thankfully it did not happen that way. It is always scary in the Derwent, but thankfully we had enough miles in the bank to allow us to wait it out until more wind arrived.”

Comanche’s owner, Jim Cooney said, “Our plan was always to have a conservative start and then let the hammer down once outside the Heads. Our goal was to put as many miles in front of the others before the first transition. For the restart the next day we had to wait longer perhaps than others, but we reused the same plan, and just put as many miles behind us and the other supermaxis. As for the rest, well Comanche just did what she does best in those kinds of conditions.”

“It was a tiring race for all of our crew, with not a lot of sleep, as we had a lot of manoeuvres and crew work all race, so it was a bit of a sprint the whole way really.”

Bradshaw Kellett, InfoTrack’s Navigator commented, “We worked hard before the race to develop a game plan and it was really tricky, as the models did not line up Christmas Day.”

Variable game plans up until 100hrs on the 26th that we had an idea of what we were going to do. It was one of those races where you had to commit to inshore of off at the Heads. So you could not change your mind later, and perhaps this is what occurred to Scallywag who ended up in the middle.

We stuck to our guns and went downhill VMG not reaching, as this was most suitable for the boat. We waddled our 35 tonnes through the light airs and came out within reach of BJ and Scallywag, whereas Wild Oats got caught in two terrible holes that night and I feel sorry for them. AIS helped us, for we avoided all that, and may well be why we are in second place

A great crew and they worked tirelessly is also a big component - a genuine group effort. Comanche sailed almost twice the distance as us, and was still first so well done to them. We also had great start, and my Dad (David) firing the cannon made for a special day, as well as hearing his voice on the radio (radio relay vessel) the whole way down.”

Mark Bradford is the Skipper on board Peter Harburg’s Black Jack, which pays homage to the legendary Sir Jack Brabham (with motorsport being Harburg’s other great passion). Bradford reflected on it all, “I think we did not get out of the Heads in good shape, and were picking up the pieces after that. The transition went well for us. Scallywag got through that the best, and then us, but really InfoTrack shone, as it is not their space, so to speak.”

“Who knows about Comanche, for no one saw her the whole race once she took off and was in the distance. All credit to them, for they did really well for the whole race. You always have to keep your eye on Wild Oats and history tells you that you should do just that, and we have great respect for them. They had a tough night, and did so well to get back to third place, as we had 10nm on them at that point.”

“History says you can beat them all, like we did in the Southport race, but the reality is that Comanche is another step above these boats in this kind of weather. We really need more variation to make a race of it.”

As for the future, Bradford said tongue in cheek, “Hopefully I don’t get the sack for this race. Peter is committed to this project, and we are off to the Mediterranean with Black Jack in 2020 for a couple of years. Peter just asked if this result meant he had to come back, figuring this was our last Hobart, so I guess you never say never…”

Many, many thanks to Tony Lathouras for his work on the River Derwent, and then quayside at Constitution Dock.

Related Articles

CYCA provides update on 2021 RSHYR
100 days to go 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, home of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, remains hopeful the 'Great Race' will return in 2021. Posted on 17 Sep
2021 RSHYR surpasses 50th entry milestone
A growing fleet for the return of the great race The 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has reached its first major milestone, with more than 50 boats already part of a growing fleet for the return of the Great Race. Posted on 30 Jul
Entries open for Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
The 77th edition of ocean racing's 'Everest' Excitement is building for the return of the historic Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, with entries now open for the 77th edition of ocean racing's 'Everest'. Posted on 15 Jun
Virtual Rolex Sydney Hobart victors
166,000 competitors register and take part in the 628-nautical-mile race The 2020 online Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race conducted by Virtual Regatta was one for the record book. Posted on 4 Jan
Boxing Kangaroos win the Virtual Sydney Hobart
International team of virtual racers beat 549 teams In a tightly fought race The Boxing Kangaroos, an international team of virtual yacht racers, beat 549 teams in the Virtual Rolex Sydney Hobart late Monday night claiming first place in the Team standings. Posted on 29 Dec 2020
Rolex Sydney Hobart Flashback Montage
17 years of the Bow Caddy Team's coverage In the context of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race's unbroken record of 75 consecutive races, the 17 years of the Bow Caddy Team's coverage of the event makes us relative rookies on scene still! Posted on 27 Dec 2020
2020 RSHYR continues in Virtual Regatta
Sailors can still take part in the great race online Whilst the 2020 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has unfortunately been cancelled, sailors and fans alike can still take part in the Great Race through Virtual Regatta. Posted on 23 Dec 2020
Sydney Hobart: Rupert Henry on 2-handed sailing
Prior to the race's cancellation due to Covid-19, this video gives a detailed look into this class Filmed before the event's cancellation, Rupert Henry, an experienced two-handed sailor gives some insights into what it takes to campaign a short handed off-shore race, in preparing the for the 76th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Posted on 20 Dec 2020
2020 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race cancelled
Amid COVID-19 concerns arising from the Northern Beaches area It is with great regret that the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia announces that the 76th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will not be proceeding in 2020. Posted on 19 Dec 2020
Stacey Jackson's grand vision for Women in RSHYR
Stacey Jackson has a grand vision for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Stacey Jackson has a grand vision for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - that being, the day when there is parity in numbers between male and female sailors entered. Posted on 17 Dec 2020
Cyclops 2020 - SmartlinkNano - FOOTERHyde Sails 2021 - Basic FOOTERDoyle Sails 2020 - Redefining Boundaries 728x90 BOTTOM