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Sydney - Hobart 2011 Update 3

  • Posted by Patrick Bollen
  • December 5, 2011 2:42 PM AEDT
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5th December 2011

With just weeks to go until the start of the 67th sailing of the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race host club, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia has received a total 90 entries to contest the gruelling and challenging 628 nautical mile ocean passage race.Regarded the world over as the toughest ocean race on the planet largely because it is so unpredictable the Hobart race is the one that all other yacht races are measured.According to yachting professional, Gordon Maguire the Hobart is a life taker. Maguire has competed in every major ocean race and series on the calendar including four round world races.

“The Hobart is a race that can be a dream run one minute and turn vicious and violent the next. The Tasman Sea, the New South Wales coast and Bass Strait have a notorious reputation for some of the worst weather in the world. Remember the 1984, 1993 and 1998 races. They were horrendous". 

The 1984 race took one life and in 1998 the race took 6 lives. It is a race that demands the best and can sometimes deliver the worst outcomes.

On December 26, 93 crews will certainly bear this in mind as the race towards the Sydney Heads after the starter’s gun has boomed across the harbour.Maguire is sailing master aboard Stephen Ainsworth’s RP 63 LOKI, a boat with a strong pedigree which raced consistently by a solid crew who have spent years sailing together.LOKI has won almost every trophy there is in the land down under.“The only trophy Stephen hasn’t got in his trophy cabinet is the coveted Tattersall’s Cup and it’s my job to deliver him that piece of silver. So you can bet we will all be salivating at the prospect of winning the Hobart this year,” says Maguire. 

Bob Oatley’s WILD OATS XI is line honours favourite and if skipper Mark Richards and crew can deliver Oatley the prize for first to Hobart he will make it an unprecedented 6 line honours winning the Jack Rooklyn Memorial Trophy yet again.WILD OATS holds the course record of 1Day 18 hours 40 minutes. 

Anthony Bell has put together a formidable crew aboard INVESTEC LOYAL including Ben Nossiter, Tom Braidwood, Will McCarthy and former Wallabies rugby greats Phil Waugh and Phil Kearns who will no doubt ensure WILD OATS XI doesn’t have the race to themselves. 

Peter Millard and John Honan have campaigned hard this year with LAHANA and will be out to better last year’s effort against the two big front runners as will former line honours winner grant Wharington with his 98 foot maxi WILD THING, formerly SKANDIA.LAHANA recently broke the course record in the 60nm Lion Island Botany Bay race covering the distance in 6h 27m 41s. 

In the race for the overall prize [Tattersall’s Cup] it will be a hot contest between Darryl Hodgkinson’s Beneteau First 45, VICTOIRE which recently won the Cabbage Tree Island Race, the Kiwi sister ship OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE, RAGAMUFFIN [ Syd Fischer ], the new Ker design for Ed Psaltis, AFR RAMBLER, LOKI, Paul Clitheroe’s BALANCE and the Victorian triple, LIVING DOLL [ Michael Hiatt], a Farr design 55 and SHOGUN, [ Rob Hanna ] A JV 52 and SCARLETT RUNNER, [Rob Date] a reichel Pugh 52. 

Of the smaller yachts young 18 year old Peter Langman will skipper MALUKA of KERMANDIE, at  87 years, the oldest boat in the fleet this year while Dad Sean will just be part of the crew. 

Solo Round World sailor Jessica Watson has worked hard throughout the year to ensure her latest challenge, the Hobart goes off without any dramas. She will skipper the Sydney 38 ELLA’s ANOTHER CHALLENGE with a handpicked group of young sailors in an attempt to win the Sydney 38 Division.Her competition will however be strong. Watson will be up against Adrian Dunphy on DODO, former Rugby League great Bruce Foye on THE GOAT and last year’s division winner Tony Levett on board TSA MANAGEMENT – ELENI. 

Entries come from around Australia and the world including HUGO BOSS from the UK, FfREEFIRE and the RP 52, STREWTH from Hong Kong, the X43, LANGE De MILON from France and CARINA from the USA. 

Commodore Garry Linnacre is happy with the size of the fleet and expects this year’s race to be another great event.“It is an iconic ocean race recognised as the toughest on the planet. I wish all competitors a fair winds and a safe passage to Constitution Dock,” he said. 

 For my money I would not discount the Jones 70, ICHI BAN skippered by former CYCA Commodore Matt Allen. 

ICHI BAN is a solid performer and can easily cause an upset.

Until next time...

Patrick 'Tenpin' Bollen

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