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Just has to be that time

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail World AUS 10 Oct 2022 01:00 PDT
Cinquante reefed down in the Rolex Sydney Hobart © Carlo Borlenghi

Every year, and sometime about now, the articles begin about Hobart. For many people, the conversation actually begins much earlier, even years before. After all, you do not just show up on the day, walk the quay, ask for a ride, and more than likely get on, especially if you had any experience. Those days, whilst not quite from the Black and White TV era, probably went out around the same time as mullets and ridiculously tight shorts on footballers in the 80s.

Now only last Friday I was talking with our good friends, Cros and Dale Lorimer, and invariably the 'H' word came about. It was inevitable. The Pointscore's happening, the clocks got pushed forward for a lot of the country, and the intriguing weather systems have started to play their hand.

On that one, who knows what la Nina will bring, but based on the recent days, Sydney will take anything that does not involve a snorkel. Last Summer it was best to head South or West to get some rays, for there was only liquid sunshine on offer along the East Coast.

So here we are, with something like 99 entries, 15 of which are two-handed. Right now I just want to say Porco Rosso, for how cool is it to say that, Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki, Isao Takahata, Yasuyoshi Tokuma, Joe Hisaishi with his incredible scores, and Studio Ghibli, as well as Maserati, all in the one paragraph - and in a sailing editorial, to boot! Don't forget Mick Cookson, either... Bring it on.

First and foremost, I just want to thank all those owners/skippers/navigators for making the efforts with the paperwork and somewhat duplication of not only data, but proof and requirements, as well. It got me to thinking just how hard is it to go racing offshore in Australia? I mean it is not like we have the sole franchise on feral weather, now is it?

ISO has two key words that form its TLA, BTW. International, and Standards. A boat made to an approved standard the world over should not have to re-prove itself, simply because it took a trip over the equator. Equally, if something gets signed off in one document as being in date, or tested, why should said item then need a separate certificate to prove it? I mean c'mon. Really?

Furthermore, if you go to a racetrack, and if you put your car on the circuit, anything that happens thereafter is on your head. A similar notion is still in the NoRs today, thank God, so just when and where has this all been forgotten? Making sure you have the correct gear, the crew has certain levels of proficiency, and boat is not full of bog - cool. Good stuff. But layering onerous conditions on top? Is that really warranted?

Equally, taking two hours off the maximum allotted time for two-handers, because 'they might get tired' - what's that about? Have the people making these conditions actually looked at the vast majority of souls sailing in this category? I am definitely part of the contingent that says if a two-handed crew can get up and win the thing, then let them have the trophy for keeps.

A quick scan through the entries on the website reveals that there is a wide an varied range of craft taking part across the entire fleet, but notably also in the two-handed category, who this year can compete for overall honours, of course. There's the renovated TP from Ocean Crusaders to get us going.

Ian Thomson said, "The Founders of Ocean Crusaders, the charity that this year has removed over 225 tonne of debris from the waterways of SE Queensland this year, are now on a mission to promote renewable energy sailing. Having purchased TP52 Hull #2 in 2019, they’ve spent the last 2.5 years converting her to a more Racer/Cruiser orientated yacht, and the old diesel engine is gone, replaced with a new Bellmarine Electric drive and a 22.5kw battery bank."

Ocean Crusaders has entered the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Two Handed Division with a mission to complete the race using entirely renewable energy courtesy of a 1.2kw Solbian Solar array on the deck, a Watt & Sea Hydrogenerator off the back and two wind generators. We also have the option to regenerate power off the main propeller if needed.

Crewed by the Ocean Crusaders Founders, Ian and Annika Thomson, Ian said, "We chose to race two handed as we know the boat best having completed the refit personally, and as part of the conversion, it is made for short-handed sailing with a lot of sail handling completed using systems used on the IMOCA class. The Rolex Sydney to Hobart is our launch pad, as it is the ultimate proving ground of this new technology. Our mission is to jump through the hurdles to enter the race, so others will find the path easier in the future, and then ultimately finish the race with as much, if not more, power than when we started without using fossil fuels for recharging. Finishing will be our victory"

Flying the Big V, in a way, are the Hick 40, Jones 14 and 42, which respectively were Cadibarra VII and Cadibarra 8 originally. J/Boats are represented by the famous, and winning ways J/99, as well as the J/112e. Jeanneau are there with a Sun Fast 3600 and a squadron of spectacular 3300s, which have had a much longer runway to get set for this year's event.

There are returning souls like Crux and Speedwell, as well. Then there's Kathy and Bridget on Currawong. They are the two mature aged ladies with a heap of support from all over the place. Anyway, there should be some great battles out there, and some good stories to watch unfold, too.

Speaking of J/Boats, as I was writing this, Ray Entwistle from J/Boats Australia was overseeing the keels going on to two more J/99s, bring the total to ten now calling Australia home. The best news out of it all is that one of them is doing the Hobart, and more are on order, so it will be Southern Armada soon enough.

Entwistle said, "The growth of the J/99 amongst both the two-handed and fully crewed fleets is phenomenal, and is a real testament to the versatility of the design. That versatility allows for the boat to comfortably accommodate the number of crew on board, and also most importantly, there's the versatility in sailing conditions; whether that's windward-leeward, or reaching, and in light or heavy airs and sea states. The J/99 is a proven winner amongst a wide demographic of sailors."

"We wish all the fleet the best of luck for this year's Sydney to Hobart race. The J/99, Rum Rebellion, is off to a good start after winning the Flinders Islet lead-up race a few weeks ago."

One of the new Sun Fast 3300s goes by the name Sun Fast Racing. Lee Condell is one of the skippers (Lincoln Dews is the other), and they begin their campaign in earnest this week with the jaunt down to Batemans Bay. Condell said, "We'll be in the Blue Water Pointscore and Ocean Pointscore, and really looking to get up to speed. Definitely we're excited about getting on with the real racing. We went most of the way to Wollongong with the fleet, and two-boated with Tumbleweed for a while - it ended up being five hours worth, and they were leading the fleet under IRC when they got to the island, after the close work uphill with us."

"All in all it makes six 3300s in the Hobart, along with two Sun Fast 3600s."

OK. There it is. There is so much more on the group's websites for you. Simply use the search field, or 'edition' pull-down menu up the top on the right of the masthead to find it all. Please enjoy your yachting, stay safe, and thanks for tuning into

John Curnow
Editor, Sail World AUS

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