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North Sails 2021 Innovation - LEADERBOARD

Sydney Hobart wrap up, The Ocean Race, GGR 2022 report

by David Schmidt 3 Jan 08:00 PST January 3, 2023
Celestial wins the Tattersall Cup - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

While the holidays brought a mixed bag of weather across much of North America, things were decidedly hotter in the Land Down Under, where the annual Rolex Sydney Hobart Race delivered fast and fresh conditions for teams racing to Tasmania. Despite predictions for a record-breaking race, all of the super maxis finished astern of LDV Comanche's 2017 line-honors record of one day, nine hours, 15 minutes and 24 seconds. That said, Andoo Comanche's time of one day, 11 hours, 56 minutes, and 48 seconds certainly sounds like a fast and furious ride across 628 nautical miles of brine.

But while the super maxis tussled over line honors, the Tattersall Cup, which is the race's top handicap prize, is a different animal to win. History shows that this elusive trophy tends to favor the 50-footers, and 2022 was no exception, with Sam Haynes's TP52 Celestial cinching up this win.

This marks the second year in a row that Celestial was in the running to win the Tattersall, but a protest in the 2021 race involving a VHF call silenced that effort. Hayes and company ended up bridesmaids in 2021.

For many teams, a setback like that would be devastating. Impressively, the Celestial team redoubled their efforts and sailed a great race in 2022.

"I'm screaming loud and proud. It means everything, everything, especially after last year," said a happy Haynes, in an official race report, after winning the Tattersall Cup. "We put together a program targeting this race. It's like an elation - it's huge for me and the crew. I can't believe it; it's a bit of a life changer."

As for his future plans, Haynes expects to be occupied for the next several Boxing Days.

"Every time I do this race, I think I'm never going to do it again," Haynes said in an official report. "But yeah, we'll be back, I think... for sure. I mean, why wouldn't you? You know, it's a fantastic thing to do."

While Celestial commanded the biggest news from the race, there was plenty of great racing action in the other classes, including the brave and bold two-handers, where Rupert Henry and Greg O'Shea, sailing aboard Henry's Lombard 34 Mistral, took no prisoners.

Sail-World congratulates all Sydney Hobart teams that made it across both the starting line (no easy feat of preparation and organization) and the finishing line, and we tip our caps to all class winners.

Meanwhile, in Europe, teams are gathering in Alicante, Spain, for the start of The Ocean Race, which is set to begin on January 7 with in-port racing, followed by the start of Leg 1, on January 15, 2023. This leg will carry teams from Alicante to the Cabo Verde islands.

As of this writing, there are five teams entered that plan to race IMOCA 60s around the planet, as well as six teams that plan to race VO65s on Mediterranean legs. North American interests are being well-represented by skipper Charlie Enright and his 11th Hour Racing team, however it's impossible not to notice the event's small fleet size, and its lack of a title sponsor.

Having grown up reading about and hearing tales of the Whitbread and Volvo Ocean races, your scribe has all fingers crossed that this edition is successful (go 11th Hour Racing!), and that this proud event rediscovers its lodestar.

Finally, the self-described "retro" Golden Globe Race continues, some 120 days after its start. Thirty skippers crossed the starting line, however just seven skippers are still racing for the event's top trophy.

As of this writing, Simon Curwen currently leads the fleet, followed by Kristen Neuschafer and Abhilash Tomy. Both Curwen and Neuschafer were just to the east of New Zealand, while Tomy should pass the southern tip of the South Island in the near future.

Here, it's important to note that the race tracker hides the fact that Neuschafer has a 35-hour time correction coming her way for her work helping rescue fellow skipper Tapio Lehtinen back in November.

And, with over 12,000 nautical miles to go before the finishing line, a lot can - and will - happen in this seamanship contest, so stay tuned.

Finally, Sail-World wishes all readers a happy, healthy, and successful 2023!

May the four winds blow you safely home,

David Schmidt
Sail-World.com North American Editor

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