Posts Tagged ‘Australia’
From beautiful Tasmania, we wish every Anarchist everywhere around the world a wonderful new year, and a huge thanks to all of our Aussie Anarchists (including the Perpetual LOYAL boys who made this Meredith Block shot possible) for such an incredibly warm welcome for our first-ever coverage of the world’s toughest (mostly) amateur yacht race. May 2014 bring fun, breeze, and plenty of sailing your way.
January 1st, 2014 by admin
The Anarchists aboard Brindabella got their own escort in to Hobart this afternoon and Carlo Borlenghi shot it in this beautiful vista above; around 20 boats have finished while 10 have retired and 60 remain on the continuously nasty course; 35-40 knots is commonplace out there, and it’s going to be a long night ahead for the 50′ and under crowd. The original Wild Oats (now Wild Rose) still has a chance at the overall handicap trophy, but it looks more and more like Cookson 50 Victoire will take it; check in on the almost unmanageably big thread (150,000 views and nearly 2500 posts) for loads of pics, videos, and plenty more. And don’t forget there’s still swag to be won; McConaghy’s Facebook Page is where you find that. Track the fleet here.
UPDATE: We spent many hours and imbibed liters of rum digging for the real stories of the race late last night at the infamous Customs House; open for 24 hours a day for the next four days, this bar/pub makes about 20% of its annual revenue in one week, thanks to the sailors who rarely leave there until it’s time to go home. Last night, we dug deep and picked up our ‘Epic Story of the Hobart” so far, and here it is (with apologies to a rum haze for any minor inaccuracies or embellishments):
With 35 knots up the ass (before the Westerly change),The VO 70 Blackjack (ex-Telefonica) had a few miles lead over Beau Geste and Giacomo (ex-Groupama 70), with Wild Thing a bit back. BJ went for her final gybe to clear the island, and when the main snapped across, they broke a batten; I think I remember they had an A5 and two tucks in. The batten pierced the 3DI mainsail and zippered it from leech to luff. Half the sail came down and the rest stayed up.
Now they have half a sail violently flogging up the mast with no way to bring it down; up goes the bowman on a halyard to cut it free. During the drama, BG, Gia, and WT all get through ahead. Mind you this is at about 11 at night and nothing but nav lights and spray are visible… BO Peter Harburg – who is as cool as can be – told me “We went from 4th to 7th in a few minutes and I just went to bed. What was I going to tell my wife?” Meantime, the crew got the trysail on and set the FrO, and guess what? They fucking ground down the 100 footer, then the Volvo 70, then the 80 foot Beau Geste, and they only beat Karl Kwok’s brand new beast over the line by something like 50 seconds. Giacomo came in a minute later. Harburg (who had barely slept until after losing the mainsail) popped up from his 3 hour nap to find he’d gone back from 7th to 4th.
I hit them up at the dock just a few minutes after they tied up, and in contrast to the BG and GIA guys, Harburg was completely charged up and full of energy. He was hanging out at the stern, watching the crew clean up and smiling his ass off as he pulled off the tracker to return it to the race official in exchange for two slabs of complimentary beer. He smiled and told me “beating those boys across the line without a mainsail? To me, that felt like we just pulled a line honors victory.”
Later on I spoke to Rod Keenan off Giacomo, a long time Anarchist and ultra-talented sailmaker from Auckland with a list of wins as long as the list of banned SA forum members. Rod laughed when he told me “who would have thought a trysail was the fastest sail for those conditions, but when three reefs is still too much area, maybe that’s what you have to do.”
There are plenty more stories waiting to be told…stay tuned. Blackjack photo from @Greg_Faull.
December 29th, 2013 by admin
Update: With Loyal backing up in the light, WO has ground them down and is now sailing away with a 30 mile lead and growing…
Despite sailing into some squally crap when he brought WOXI a bit too close to shore, Tom Addis, Navigator (and ex-Puma nav) sounds confident that they can reel in the bigger, more powerful Perpetual Loyal by the time they get to Storm Bay. The gap has shrunk from 11 to now just 5 miles, with Oats gaining another mile every hour. This sets up a truly spectacular finish, and we’re on station in Hobart to bring the play by play to you right here on Sailing Anarchy and on McConaghy Boat’s Facebook Page. Listen to Tom’s from 7 AM this morning.
December 26th, 2013 by admin
World-girdling ex-military adventure-lover Ronnie Simpson made his way down to Sydney to experience one of the world’s great races, and he checks in with his first comprehensive look at the Sydney-Hobart fleet with this missive. Expect tons more content this week from Ronnie and a fleet full of Anarchists. It’s already started; want to check out the sports book line and place a bet? How about a virtual walk-through of the boats on the CYCA docks in glorious high-res photos? Get your ass into the Sydney Hobart thread and get involved. And finally, if you’re looking for interviews, boat tours of the biggest and baddest, and words from some of the biggest characters in the race, get yourself plugged into the McConaghy Boats Facebook Page – ground zero for all our race coverage from the start to all the finishes and the only place you need to go if you want to win some sweet SA swag. And for our North American spectators, remember that the start will be broadcast live by Yahoo!7 starting around 8 PM EST on Christmas day (with our coverage starting long before that) with the first finishes on the evening of the 26th. For the next week, Sailing Anarchy (thanks to McConaghy Boats) A will be Hobart Central – don’t miss out on any of our coverage! Photos by Ronnie and SA’er ‘point’.
Sydney. Hobart. Two of the most notorious words in all of sailing.
The words themselves bring up so many visuals and so many stories that simply muttered under one’s breath, they cause rapid synaptic firing in the brain of any offshore sailor.
Spurring vivid recollections of massive spectator crowds ringing the famous harbour and foreshore, 100-foot super maxi’s battling for line honors as they trade tacks in the Derwent, 60-foot breaking waves skirting the skids of rescue helicopters among the streaky spindrift from hurricane-force winds, if there’s a race that has spawned countless legends, it’s this one. Now in its 69th edition, it’s got the well-earned reputation as one of the most challenging, dangerous, and brutal competitions in all of sport – despite still being accessible to your average mom-and-pop club racer – and this 69th edition should easily live up to the reputation we’ve all come to expect.
With a highly complex and constantly changing weather scenario, the fleet is preparing for everything from light-air upwind to heavy-downwind and back. While not a likely record-breaking year, you never really know, especially with the ultra-high quality of yacht at the top end of the fleet and a constantly evolving weather scenario.
As it stands, a localized low moves over the New South Wales coast at the start with the accompanying Southerly breeze. In a ‘classic’ pattern, the wind should back to the Northeast and light to moderate run to the South. The speed of the low’s movement – or outright dissipation – will determine how early the NE fills in and how fast it builds, with the potential for a real slingshot South for the boats that can position themselves for it.
As the big boats approach the Derwent, the rest of the fleet will be bracing for impact as a classic Southerly Buster rolls in from West to Easy over Tassie. With a forecast up to 45 knots (with gusts that may be MUCH higher) this one could be a true test not only of racing prowess, but of straight-up seamanship for any boat stuck behind the frontal change.
With yours truly covering the race from on-board, dozens of Anarchists spread throughout the fleet, and Clean and Mer just on the ground ready for some bang-up interview, video, and photographic coverage from both Sydney and Tasmania, our hack team will be covering the Christmas Classic as it’s never been done before. As a Sydney- Hobart virgin who admittedly doesn’t know the local Aussie sailing scene, I had but two options when compiling data for this article; regurgitate what’s already been written about the race or get drunk with the players in the scene and get the real scoop.
The latter option got the nod. This is Sailing Anarchy, after all…so on to the Ronnie Simpson form guide:
With IRC, ORCi, PHS and one-design fleets, it’s impossible and redundant to write a preview for every fleet, so i’ve focused on the IRC divisions, as that covers the vast majority of the fleet.
Many of the biggest, baddest, fastest monohulls in the world are represented in IRC Division 0. From perennial line honors contender Wild Oats XI to 2011 line honors winner Ragamuffin 100 (previously Loyal), the new Loyal (ex- Speedboat/ Rambler), the sparking new Beau Geste 80, a trio of Volvo 70‘s and a host of others, this is the division that everyone is watching. Who’s going to win? Hell if we know, but after talking Bundaberg-fueled shit with some of the top guys in the game, Beau Geste sounds like she may be the real deal, and the sleeper pick. Aside from the usual suspects, keep an eye on Volvo 70 Black Jack and Cookson 50 Victoire to be contenders for a handicap win.
Here’s the run down of the three big line honors contenders:
Wild Oats XI- Unlike many years in the past where Wild Oats XI was the clear favorite to take line honors, this year’s Hobart race is wide open. While still the line honors favorite with the bookies, Oats is getting a bit long in the tooth after 8 years in the game now, and it’s starting to show. She’s been heavily bastardized, er, modified to include new DSS foils and a lighter, stiffer new rig and the results are far from conclusive, but they’re also far from confidence inspiring. The rig’s already suffered two failures, the DSS foils are unproven and they’ve got a new navigator to boot (though Tom Addis is no one to sneeze at). With a weather forecast that has the best in the business confused (including ultra-navigator Stan Honey navigating Loyal…), WOXI’s Addis will have his hands full, that’s for sure. Don’t count the old girl out, but personally, my money’s on the competition.
Perpetual Loyal- Owner Anthony Bell took line honors two years ago on the earlier Loyal, and clearly he wants to do it again. To that end, he picked up the most powerful monohull every built – Alex Jackson’s Speedboat – putting her back together after her capsize and near-destruction back in the Fastnet. Bell loaded the boat with a who’s who of top sailing, including Stan Honey, Tom Slingsby, and Michal Coxon (though now marked as questionable due to illness), and he spent plenty of time on refitting some important bits thanks to McConaghys. In Loyal, he’s got a wider, newer, more powerful boat than Wild Oats, and it showed in the Big Boat Challenge two weeks ago as Loyal led Oats around the course before blowing up one of her specialty reaching sails and giving away the victory. Loyal has only shown two weaknesses in her career: Light air, and breakages. Barring either of these two occurences, it’s hard to bet against her.
Beau Geste – The brand new, and most eagerly anticipated boat in the Sydney- Hobart is as revolutionary and cutting-edge as it is downright sexy and intimidating. The new Botin Partners – designed 80-footer weighs half as much as Wild Oats at about 16 tons, yet creates 60 tons of righting moment vs. 68 for Oats. The keel cants 3 degrees more than a Volvo 70, while the canards are angled at an incredible 18 degrees, generating around 3 tons of lift at 27 knots of boatspeed. The closest we’ll see to monohull foiling in this race, Beau Geste’s polars indicate multihull-like downhill speeds approaching 40 knots of boat speed. Not just fast, she’s designed from the ground up to be a durable and burly boat with a rig designed to withstand 50 tons of pressure at it’s base and an innovative hull structure. Remember, this boat was built as a replacement for Farr-designed BG that broke in half last year, and project manager Gavin Brady isn’t scsrewing around when he says this boat is ready for anything the Bass Strait has to throw at her. Bigger, more powerful, and lighter than a Volvo 70? Hard to bet against this one either.
Tied for being the largest IRC division in the race with 21 boats, Division 1 should entertain from start to finish. The new Carkeek 60 Ichi Ban is as highly anticipated as Beau Geste, and despite her relatively short length, expect her to school all of the bigger Clipper 70’s and even a few of the boats in Div 0. Like the Carkeek 40s wake-up call to the 50-foot racers, the new Carkeek 60 should give plenty of trouble to the very well-sailed Ker 51 Varuna and the brand new sexpot Tony Kirby’s Ker 56 Patrice.
Patrice is a development of Piet Vroon’s all-conquering IRC beast Tonnerre De Breskens which has now claimed three RORC season championships in a row. Kirby and his crew have been putting in the work, doing a lot of sailing and earning some great results. Their thorough preparation and level of boat development makes them a definite contender, though the same can be said about her larger cousin Varuna. With a well-run program that’s been campaigned around the world, to include this summer’s Transpac, and rockstars such as Barcelona World Race vet Guillermo Atadill onboard, Varuna’s hard work and dedication should pay off in spades.
Don’t count out previous winner Primitive Cool (ex-Secret Men’s Business 3.5), the R/P 55 Wedgetail, the 100-foot racer cruiser Zefiro or my personal favorite, Frantic; the first-gen TP 52 owned by former pro rugby player Michael “Mick” Martin and navigated by Singlehanded Transpac champ Adrian Johnson. Frantic comes in with momentum after winning this year’s Gosford- Lord Howe Island race.
A fifteen boat division with depth throughout, merely getting onto the podium will be a monumental feat. Standouts include the always compettive Rogers 46 Celestial, sexy new Ker 40 Midnight Rambler and IRC optimized DK 43 Minerva amongst several other solid programs
Celestial is a contender not just for Division 2, but for the overall if they get their conditions. Consistently running near the front of the fleet on handicap, the Rogers is a good all-around platform sailed by a wicked up crew that includes former Olympic sailor and multi-time champion at everything Steve McConaghy (yes, that McConaghy…) Midnight Rambler on the other hand is an experienced group that has a weapon in their sexy new Ker 40. Winners of the notorious 1998 race in their old Hick 35 AFR Midnight Rambler, the crew has 120 Hobart’s between them and earned a second in Division 2 last year. A wild card in the fleet is the Humphreys 42 Zanzibar. A stalwart on the Asian scene, the Singaporean yacht has tasted success to the tune of winning last year’s Rolex China Sea Race overall on IRC and should go well in a range of conditions.
With 5 Sydney 38’s, 4 Archambault 40’s, a slew of Beneteau First 40’s and 45’s and several other IRC optimized racer-cruisers, Division 3 is a complete toss-up. Tied with Div 1 as the biggest of the IRC fleets at 21 boats, it will require equal parts luck, skill, conditions and seamanship to end up on the podium. I’ll be on the Archambault 40 One for the Road as we battle the fleet to Hobart, hopefully updating to SA along the way! The Sydney 38’s should entertain as they always do, and with a huge fleet of boats occupying a very narrow rating band, IRC 3 should offer some of the closest racing of any division. As an added bonus, it’ll even last a couple of days longer than the big boys! Just long enough for us to get creamed in the Bass Straight and down the Tassie coast…
The slowest of the IRC divisions, IRC 4 is loaded with class. The Petersen 44 Bacardi is competing in her 28th Hobart race- a record. Also in the fleet is the Hick 35 Luna Sea, (ex-AFR Midnight Rambler) that won the notorious and tragic 1998 race. When conditions turn heavy and out of the south, look for some of these older, slower upwind machines to revel in the heavy upwind stuff and move up the leaderboard.
December 24th, 2013 by admin
Mark O’ Brien put his Monstacartoon pen to the Wild Oats XI appendage package, and as usual, it’s awesome. Wanna buy a print of any of his work, or a cartoon of your own boat? Hit him up here! Credit to the great composer Kurt Weill (via Louis Armstrong here). And get in the Sydney Hobart thread to post your own predictions for the race, and win brand new SA swag, and don’t forget our McConaghy Boats-sponsored coverage of the 69th Sydney Hobart Race, coming at you live from Oz in just a few days. Like McC’s Facebook Page now, or you might well miss something….
December 19th, 2013 by admin
With her six different underwater appendages, a finned bulb, and a monster bowsprit, it’s obvious to see why Sydneysiders quickly dubbed the improved Wild Oats XI the ‘Swiss Army Knife’. But is the skinny rapier R/P 100′ enough to challenge the ultra wide-load JuanKer 100 Loyal? Only time and tide will tell, and for the first time ever, our own crack team of reporters (a/k/a one drunken bald guy and his way-too-sexy-for-him photographer/wife) combined with an army of Anarchists in the fleet and spectator corps, will be there to bring you all the action from Sydney and Hobart.
We’ve also got giveaways, contests, and lots of other interesting things planned; the best place to keep abreast is in the already mondo Sydney Hobart thread here. With barely a week left until the start, it’s also a great time to get over to McConaghy Boats’ Facebook Page and give ‘em a Like – that’s where much of the reporting, video interviews, boat tours, and photos will go thanks to the Aussie boatbuilder’s sponsorship of our coverage.
Finally, McConaghy Boats dominated the CYCA trophy series over the weekend taking first and second places in both IRC and ORCi. Have a look at their Form Guide to the CYCA Trophy Series here.
Andrea Francolini photo/www.afrancolini.com.
December 16th, 2013 by admin
While IMOCA figures out what to do with its future, some of its most legendary skippers are moving in another direction. As first reported here on SA almost half a year ago, Franck Cammas is moving forward with his usual laser-beam focus on a French America’s Cup bid, and an announcement at the Paris “Nautic” boat show may be the first indicator that he could succeed where Les Freres Peyron couldn’t.
Picking up his second-annual French Sailor of the Year award last night, today Cammas pulled together a true ‘who’s who’ in French racing history for this morning’s announcement. Michel Desjoyeaux will lead the technical team and Franck the sailing team, while Olivier de Kersauson and Stephane Kandler will handle the less exciting parts of the effort.
The team’s “founding members” — in other words, the guys that have funded the initial sponsorship hunt and tried to open some boardroom doors — include big biz bosses Bruno Bich (Bic), Bertrand Méheut (Canal +), Thierry Martel (Groupama), Bruno Luisetti (formerly Kraft Jacobs Suchard) and Erik Maris (Messier Maris & Associés), but crucially no major sponsors were announced. In other words, there’s enough money to go looking for more, but not enough to start spending. We also hear from les anarchistes in Paris that some of the veteran grinders are being asked to keep their schedules open for late 2014 and 2015’s AC45 World Series, but no contacts have been signed…
The newly opened Team France thread is bound to be a big one; check it out over here.
While France throws its hat into the ring, Grant Dalton yesterday told 3News NZ that he was back in as well despite earlier question marks from the public and Dalts himself, and the bitter taste of a crushing defeat. It’s great news for AC35, as Team NZ continues to prove, year in and year out, that it’s the most credible of challengers. We’re guessing he won’t be on the boat this time, though Glenn Ashby has already re-upped and Dean Barker is a lifer. Meanwhile, Dalts continues his publicly lukewarm face on the VOR, claiming the $30M he estimates necessary to win might be impossible to find in the current economic climate. Then again, Dalts might just be pulling the old ‘negotiation by media’ option with VOR CEO Knut Frostad…
Pauly (on the) Shore
Doing it’s beat to leave the Paul Cayard-led disaster that was Artemis’ AC 34 effort, the team just announced that Nathan Outteridge and Iain “Goobs” Jensen are continuing with the team, which is currently preparing its bid for the 35th America’s Cup. More. no word which teams are beating down the door to pay way too much for Cayard’s incredible leadership skills.
World Series of Poke Her
The Bay Area Economic Council reported their final America’s Cup economic benefit analysis on Monday, with around $364 million in total economic impact landing in the area over the roughly 3 month period of the event. This is less than 30% of the original (and insane) $1.4B projection, and less than 40% of the revised $902M projection from March 2013 (and hopefully the City will tell ACEA to get fucked when they tote the same incompetent financial consultants to the table when negotiating the 2017 deal). With this crap news and the embarrassing ratings for the entire “Summer Of Sailing” and even the incredible AC final (outside of NZ), Coutts is already hedging against big expectations for AC35 in recent softball interviews.
“We’re considering having each of the teams host a World Series event”, Coutts told AC33 and 34 PR staffer Peter Rusch, who’s apparently playing reporter with Yachting World until his AC35 contract comes in. Coutts says this “would be great in terms of generating excitement in their home countries,” but let’s be serious: After dropping half the US military budget on incredible ACWS events, Russell is very clearly telling potential teams that they will be responsible for their own regattas in the future. It’s a shame, because the ACWS is the one part of the AC34 plan that provided awesome racing from beginning to end, and if OTUSA has the kind of massive advantage over AC35 challengers that we would have seen had they not had the big capsize, it might be the only exciting racing of the next Cup – especially if, as we have been hoping, the AC45s race as one-design platforms with unrestricted foils.
Thankfully Coutts cited a coming nationality rule, a welcome change to anyone (like us) who thinks patriotism and sport make great bedfellows. But he’s already preparing us for a small fleet, presumably because Ellison is shooting to keep the AC72 Class for AC35. “I think we are better to aim at quality rather than quantity,” he said, despite claiming that new cost reduction measures should cut overall team budgets by around a third. Call us cynical, but there’s no way in hell another AC72 program will magically cost 25-35 million less than the last time around, even if some one-design elements come into play and there is a joint logistics package. If there’s one thing that Russell Coutts has proved over and over again, it’s that he always wins, and it always costs a lot more than he says it will.
In our final bit of Cupdate news, longtime Kiwi Cup lawyer (and architect of Alinghi’s doomed CNEV challenge) Hamish Ross hit the news today after claiming in a piece in the NZ Law Journal last month that the New York Courts should have no place in deciding how the America’s Cup is run. Claiming that foreign litigants can’t get a fair shake in the US courts (mostly because he personally can’t seem to win one) Ross says that the Cup should be administered by ISAF instead. Because of course ISAF is so very impartial, and of course unmotivated by greed or the millions if fees they seek from the AC. Ross argues that the Deed of Gift and AC Trust are not even valid, and that they could perhaps be overturned by the Court if a strong plaintiff sued the current Trustee; it’s been Ross’s pet argument for a decade, and it’s quite persuasive, until you realize Ross’s theory rests on two centuries of hearsay, dicta, footnotes, quotes from irrelevant politicians, and courts of another country. It’s no wonder Ross can’t win a case in the US – even after all this time, he still doesn’t understand how precedent works here.
December 11th, 2013 by admin
Wild Oats XI may have added yet another Line Honors victory to her long and illustrious career, knocking back the nastiest fleet of challengers to her throne yet in the SOLAS Big Boat Series. It’s hard to take the results too seriously of what is essentially a practice start for the Hobart, but there’s no doubt at all that Loyal (a/k/a Speedboat) had WOXI’s number in around 20 knots of breeze, sailing away from the 100 foot maxi upwind and down. That is, until a late douse of a headsail that owner Anthony Bell called a “North R-1″ that turned rapidly into $150 grand worth of North-branded tarpaulin. Here’s the best video of the sail implosion, while here’s some from a different angle, and here’s some more. Note the Black Jack (ex-Telefonica) flying down the track ahead of both maxis; when you remember that Volvo 70s own pretty much every offshore monohull speed record, you find it harder and harder to dismiss them regardless of the length advantage for the 100 footers.
Bell said they already had another big reaching sail being sourced from the US; either way, it was a great outing for the big JuanK boat that perhaps will presage what we’ll see in the race: The Speedboat hauling the mail until she blows a gasket, when either WOXI, Beau Geste, or one of the Volvos will sail on by. As much as we dig the thing’s beastly nature and raw look, we have to remember that Speedboat/Rambler/Loyal has broken in more races than she’s finished. Like a Volvo 70 only more so, you spend most of the time slowing the boat down rather than speeding her up.
Even the bookies agree; betting odds for Loyal have decreased to just over 2$, while WOXI is up to 1.80. Place your bets and post your thoughts on everything Hobart in the all-encompassing thread, and note that Sailing Anarchy is finally doing something about the canned coverage of the Hobart we all suffer through every year: We’re sending The Cleans down to bring you interviews, photos, and live (or near-live) video of the dock and start for the 2013 race, making it the most comprehensively covered Hobart Race in recent memory. With the support of McConaghy Boats (and using their Facebook Page to bring you rich reports from the Harbor and beyond) and with embedded reporters throughout the fleet, our coverage begins on Christmas day and runs right through New Year’s.
Photo thanks to “Brit down under”, with a full gallery of his pics here.
December 11th, 2013 by admin
Anyone remember a little AC program called Young Australia, skippered by an arrogant little ginger named Jimmy? It was a hell of a program. They didn’t win, but Syd Fischer’s program (managed in part by Iain Murray) helped fire up more talented young Aussies than any other sailing initiative could have. And now, according to an article in the Australian, Murray is back on track for another ‘young’ Cup challenger after being outbid by Oracle, ETNZ, and Artemis for Aussies Tom Slingsby, Nathan Outteridge, Glenn Ashby, and most likely Jimmy himself.
We know some of those boys used the Oatley-led challenge to bid up their own salaries with their respective expat team, and now after a couple of months of ‘silly season’, we’re guessing Murray’s just about had it with the ‘establishment’ Aussies; with the Cup more and more athletic, youth may be far more valuable than experience anyway. And with the Aussies Olympic talent and their near-dominance of the top end of the foiler moth fleet, there’s no shortage of talent down under.
More importantly, Murray is hopefully signaling the Oatleys’ intent to challenge for more than just one cycle, with AC35 more of a training exercise than a real bid for victory against the massive favorite Oracle Team Everywhere. One good practice run, and maybe they will really be ready to win.
December 10th, 2013 by admin
Occasionally we’ll relax Sailing Anarchy’s “No Press Release” policy, but only if (a) something awesome is involved, (b) it’s for a good cause, or (c) hot chicks are involved. The following meets two out of three criteria, and more importantly, shows some of the constantly good work that CYCA does with the month-long circus around Australia’s biggest sailing event. The only qualifier: You need to get to Sydney…by next weekend. Check it out, and of course use the community for more info about everything Sydney-Hobart.
The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia has once again launched its eBay auction that provides an exclusive opportunity to bid for places onboard one of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race favourites, when they compete in the CYCA’s SOLAS Big Boat Challenge – the spectacular maxi yacht race around Sydney Harbour on Tuesday 10 December.
Seven Rolex Sydney Hobart entrants have offered places onboard for the auction and they include: Wild Oats XI, Perpetual LOYAL, Wild Thing, Brindabella, Southern Excellence II and Giacomo, all providing two places available for auction, with Black Jack making one guest spot available. Other yachts to also offer places are Terra Firma and Ginger.
In a much anticipated event, this will be the first time Bob Oatley’s super maxi Wild Oats XI will line up against Anthony Bell’s new Perpetual LOYAL, the former Rambler, and the rivalry between the two will be fierce. However, the two will also have to deal with Grant Wharington’s Wild Thing.
This will be the seventh year that the fleet will race to raise awareness and money for the CYCA’s Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Trusts, which have donated just on $900,000 to search and rescue organisations Australia-wide and provide assistance (financial and other) to immediate families of those lost at sea during Yachting Australia sanctioned races.
Bid today for your chance to sail on board one of these yachts!
Wild Oats XI
Wild Oats XI secured her sixth line honours victory under the guidance of Mark Richards in last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart, broke her own race record, which now stands at 1 day, 18 hours, 23 minutes 12 seconds and won the race overall. It was the second time the super maxi had achieved this historic treble and the only boat to do so twice in the race’s history. As it does each year, Bob Oatley’s super maxi has undergone further modifications that include having a radical, retractable, hydrofoil-type wing fitted in a bid to make her even faster when sailing downwind. Two places are on offer on one of Australia’s most recognized super maxis.
Anthony Bell returns to the blue water classic with the former Rambler 100. Since acquiring the boat earlier this year, Bell has embarked on a mammoth project to re-build the yacht since her keel snapped off, causing her capsize in the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race, after taking line honours in numerous races. She was originally and aptly christened Speedboat – for good reason – and took line honours in her maiden outing, the Newport Bermuda Race.
Reputedly the fastest racing 100 footer in the world, buckle up for a white knuckle ride. The SOLAS Big Boat Challenge will be the first time Perpetual LOYAL and Wild Oats XI will sail against each other before the Rolex Sydney Hobart. Two places are on offer on this slick super maxi.
Two places on Grant Wharington’s Wild Thing were also posted on eBay today. The Rolex Sydney Hobart 2003 line honours winner has been a process of evolution over the last ten years. Modifications were made to the yacht last year, which included extending her to 100ft and making improvements to her original hull shape. Earlier this year, Wharington secured a line honours win in the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race which she followed up by taking line honours in the Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race in July
Australia’s most famous maxi Brindabella, a former line honours winner of the Rolex Sydney Hobart and holder of the record for a conventionally ballasted boat (1d, 20h, 46m, 33s set in 1999). Designed by Scott Jutson, Brindabella still turns heads today with her sleek lines and elegant sail plan and still holds many Australian east coast race records including the Sydney Mooloolaba Yacht Race, Sydney Noumea Race, and the Sydney Wollongong Race.
Southern Excellence II
Andrew Wenham purchased the former Ichi Ban in March this year and won line honours in the protracted Gosford Lord Howe Island race in a time of 63hrs, 45mins 22secs; one of the longest in the race’s recent history after being marred by light and fluky winds. In similar conditions in this year’s Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, Southern Excellence II finished fifth on line and fifth in IRC Division 0 and then took line honours in the Blue Water Pointscore’s Bird Island Race in October. Wenham has upgraded a number of systems on the boat to improve her IRC rating and to suit his requirements.
New Zealander Jim Delegat, Managing Director of Delegat Wine Estate (distributor of Oyster Bay wines), purchased the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race winner, Groupama earlier this year. Renamed Giacomo, she has a canting keel, dagger boards and the latest in rigging. Was built for fresh off the wind conditions and will be impossible to stop in the right conditions in the Rolex Sydney Hobart.
One guest spot is available on Black Jack, the former 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race entrant Telefonica, which Spaniard Iker Martinez won the first three legs of the race with, but ultimately finished the VOR fourth overall. Peter Harburg shipped his new Black Jack to Australia earlier this year and ordered modifications to bring the yacht up to Australian standards. She made her Australian ocean racing debut in the Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race in July and finished third on line and in IRC Division 0 following a tight tussle with the top two, Wild Thing and Lahana.
The name Terra Firma lives on again – Nicholas Bartels stepped up from his successful Sydney 47 to the Cookson 50 formerly known as Shogun in 2010. In the 2011 Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, Terra Firma finished ninth overall, and third in IRC Division 1 and ORCi Division 1. With some talented sailors onboard and a strong crew, Terra Firma will be out to do well in this year’s SOLAS Big Boat Challenge
This 60 foot Swan is a well-tuned ocean racer owned by Leslie Green. In 2011 Ginger took the line and IRC double win in a foggy Ocean Pointscore race to Port Hacking and is a regular CYCA competitor. She also won the Rolex Trophy Series Passage race in 2008.
Bidding for all ten items will close on 6th December 2013. Terms and conditions apply, see the individual URL’s for details.
The highly charged SOLAS Big Boat Challenge, is a big attraction to spectators both on and off the water, and starts at 12.30pm on Tuesday December 10. It takes the yachts on a tight 14 nautical mile course starting off Steele Point at Vaucluse, down the Harbour to Manly for two and a half laps. The yachts will pass many of Sydney’s famous landmarks along the way, including Fort Denison, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and the Sydney Opera House, which provides the picturesque finish line.
December 5th, 2013 by admin
Yes, we know we’re insufferably sophomoric. We like topless women, crashing boats, fart jokes and dick jokes and yes, even gay jokes. And there’s always something funny when sailmakers and graphic designers get it oh, so wrong – like they did here on a poorly planned jib window aboard the boat sponsored by North Sydney’s oldest pub - the Rag & Famish Hotel.
Rag’s been a part of the 18 fleet for well over a decade now, and their ‘wardrobe malfunction’ was the only thing that went wrong on Christening Day for a brand new boat; Jack Macartney, Peter Harris and Mark Kennedy put the finishing touch to the day of celebration with a great win in Race 7 of the 3-Buoys Challenge on Sydney Harbour on Sunday.
Check out 18footers.TV for all the video coverage, and a shout out to Deckhardware for the Facebook find. And for everything ‘Eye-deen”, including historic videos and near-constant shitfights about things you’ll never understand, check the thread.
December 5th, 2013 by admin
With the first real competition for line honors in years, excitement continues to build over the 2013 Sydney-Hobart fleet. We showed you the new Carkeek 60 landing in Australia a couple of weeks ago, and here’s something sexy from Carkeek’s old partner; it’s the new Botin 80 Beau Geste hitting the harbor after a balls-to-the-wall build sched at Cookson’s.
The canting mini-maxi replaces the almost new Farr 80 that famously and terrifyingly cracked in half during last year’s Auckland to Noumea Race, and she has some new thinking and quite a bit more structure than the ill-fated boat; given the right conditions, this thing is going to be a rocket, even capable of line honors if everything went her way.
In the meantime, Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI looks to have suffered a mast failure during testing/practice of her new rig. Eyewitnesses said the rig compressed at the gooseneck; no big deal for the Southern Spars techs on hand to fix it.
In other news, Loyal (ex Speedboat) got some good facetime on the 18 Footers broadcast last week; this link will take you right to it. Stick by the Hobart thread for a stream of news that will continue to get better and better as Boxing Day approaches!
Cheers to Rockstar Yachting for the shot (via FB).
November 20th, 2013 by admin
Matt Allen’s new Carkeek 60 Ichi Ban has barely more than a month before the Hobart Race; here’s hoping the team can get this monster ready in time to get some solid practice in. Looking quite a bit like her smaller 40-foot stablemate, this thing might even be faster than the canting VO70 she replaces.
For everything Sydney-Hobart, check the thread, and thanks to SA’er ‘chouff’ for finding the photo. And if you don’t like beautiful French women posing as teenage lesbians, don’t go here to find out about the controversial, Cannes-winning film that gave us the title for this piece.
November 13th, 2013 by admin
Post Of The Week
The annual Sydney-Hobart ‘Let Multihulls Race’ thread is raging nicely in the forums, and the rambling discussion turned to the reasons behind the Hobart fleet’s shrinking trend, both in fleet size and worldwide stature. Compared to the record fleets of recent Fastnets, Caribbean 600s, and Middle Sea races the Hobart is stagnant, even with one of the best Maxi/Canter/Mini Maxi fleets in recent memory on the line.
Longtime SA’er and master debater ‘Chris 249′ got deep into the reasons for the Hobart’s decline, and his opinion is our Post Of The Week. Continue the debate in the thread.
The Hobart is very much a big-boat fest these days, whereas when it was more popular the fleet was mainly composed of much smaller boats. That means that very few people can now afford to run a “competitive” boat, as in one that will finish close enough to the bulk of the fleet and among a group of similar boats.
The change can be seen by looking at the Hobart itself over time, and in comparison with the Fastnet both now and then. The fleets used to look quite similar in terms of the proportion of big boats to small boats; now the Fastnet has a vastly stronger small-boat and medium-size boat fleet.
Looking at the last races (and throwing Hobart PHS boats and Fastnet 2H IRC boats in their respective divisions) we see that there is a striking similarity in the number of boats of TP52 size and speed and more in each race. The Fastnet had 24 starters in the Canting and Zero classes (One 100′ supermaxi, TP52s, fixed keel mini maxis, Volvo 60, Swan 60, Farr 52 OD etc) whereas the corresponding classes in the Hobart attracted 23 boats, including three 100′ canters and a 100′ fixed keeler.
But in the next size down (39-46′ IRC racers like Rogers and Kers and big cruisers) the Fastnet had 52 boats, the Hobart just 17. The class after that (Beneteau 45s and 40s, etc) had 89 boats in the Fastnet and 19 in the Hobart.
In the smallest boats the disparity is even more marked; once you get under IRC 1.05-ish, (10m IRC racers, J/109s, Beneteau 36.7, Sydney 36, J/35, old IOR boats of 47′ or less) there’s a staggering 184 boats in the Fastnet compared to 17 in the Hobart!
If you add in the Class 40s and Figaro IIs (one designs I left out of the above calcs as there is no comparable scene in Oz) the proportion of ‘small’ boats in the Fastnet increases even more.
It’s also interesting to look at long-term trends. I found the ’79 Fastnet and ’77 Hobart fleets to compare their composition with the current fleets. At the time, the Hobart fleet (132 boats) was much healthier (compared to today and to populations) compared to the record Fastnet fleet (303 boats).
The Hobart fleet’s composition was also strikingly similar to that of the Fastnet, in terms of boat size and design apart from the fact that Class I (50 to 43 foot racing boats and big old cruisers) was miles bigger in the Fastnet, partly because of the 50-ish boats that did it because of the Admiral’s Cup*. For example if we look at (roughly) IOR 34-30 footers we see 116 boats in the Fastnet and 53 in the Hobart; pretty close to the ratio between overall fleet sizes.
Over time, though, the races have diverged to the Hobart’s cost. In the Fastnet it looks as if the number of “raceboats” over 38′ has actually declined as the fleet has grown and people move to cruiser/racers. The number of boats of 36′-ish and less has stayed static. The growth has been in the 40 foot cruiser/racers like Benny 40s….the sort of boat so many slag off but which keep so much of the sport going.
In contrast the Hobart has a larger number of big race machines, but a vastly smaller number of small boats and a much smaller overall fleet. If the Hobart had maintained the same sort of fleet composition as it used to have, and the same sort of composition the Fastnet still has, we’d see dozens of boats like J/109s, Archie A 31s etc bouncing down to Hobart.
And why have the small boats stopped? Not sure. The Cat 1+ safety requirements have hurt. The accent is also all about the big boats, and there’s no real stepping stone from small boats and small races like there used to be. I think in the last days of the “small boats to Hobart” scene there was a strong (and often expressed) feeling that anything under 36 feet just was not welcome. As another example the CYCA, which used to have a JOG division (= MORC, for boats under 31′) AND a separate half ton class, now bans any boat under 30′ from even doing day races offshore. We have nothing like the Euro/UK quarter ton and half ton scenes or UK JOG, or the smallish OODs of the USA; there’s no replacement for the JOG and half/quarter scenes of yore. No owner-measured IRC certs are allowed so almost no small boat owners spend the extra bucks for full measurement and there’s no PHRF, so for the small-boat owner there’s only golf handicap and therefore no reason to try hard or sail well.
I sold an investment property a few months back and thought of chucking the cash into a boat for the Hobart etc, but decided there was no point when the small-boat numbers have dwindled so much that there’s no one to play with. It’s a vicious circle, especially when no one seems to give a fuck about stopping the spiral. So I race dinghies and boards and will do some local racing; ironically now I’ve moved away from Sydney’s big boat oriented scene I can race my 4kt “SB” again. CBF crewing on big boats as I don’t want to specialise in doing just one thing.
What the Hobart and Fastnet analysis does show, IMHO, is that increasing the proportion of big fast boats, and the emphasis on them, really does nothing to increase the race’s status, viability, fleet size or competitiveness. The idea that putting in big multis will increase interest and therefore numbers falls down, IMHO, when we see that putting in big canters has done nothing to increase fleet sizes and may have reduced them. People are not getting into the race because the fast boats are getting faster….. in fact they are no longer turning up like they used to. It’s no fun getting to Hobart to find that the party is over.
As is so often the case, it’s the much-abused practical boats like Beneteaus that are keeping the sport strong and healthy, and the scene that concentrates on spectacular boats is the one that is sick.
And the Fastnet shows that people WILL still sail offshore in fairly small and cheap boats if they are encouraged, rather than bagged out for sailing 5 knot shitboxes. But there seems to be a big cultural difference between the RORC and CYCA these days.
All just my 2¢ worth, it’d be interesting to hear from Fastnet and Bermuda racers and guys who still do the Hobart.
* 57 boats did the AC but at least 9 or 10 of them were chartered UK boats or boats from France, Holland, Ireland etc which would have done the Fastnet even if there had been no AC.
November 1st, 2013 by admin
It’s better late than never for the new Carkeek 60 Ichi Ban, which arrived in Oz a couple of weeks ago from Dubai just in time for fitout and launch before the 2013 Hobart Race.
With a fleet including a couple of late model Volvo 70s, five 100-footers including the Loyal (ex-Speedboat), and a couple of badass mini-maxi downwind monsters — Ichi and the sparkly new Botin 80 Beau Geste – and even the full fleet of Clipper/Winnebago 70s, 2013 is looking like the best Hobart big-boat fleet in a decade.
Got news? Got goss? Got questions for the more-than-50,000 Sydney-area sailors who make Steak-and-Kidney the biggest Sailing Anarchy audience in the world? Hit the Hobart thread.
October 24th, 2013 by admin
With Franck Cammas mostly denying our report yesterday of his Challenge (though confirming he’s been working for over a year to make a French Challenge happen), we turn to the New York Times’s Christopher Clarey, whose morning piece names billionaire wine magnate and yachting-obsessed Bob Oatley and his Hammo Yacht Club as the new Challenger of Record for the 35th America’s Cup.
Oatley may not be alone either; you might remember a few months back when Ernesto Bertarelli and friends were racing in beautiful Hamilton Island, Oatley’s island paradise, on Oatley’s own boat. Perhaps it was more than just a race charter? Hell, the Cup went down there for a photo op with Oatley himself (see above). Coincidence?
If true, it’s almost too good a story: The most famous of all Challengers, Australia joining the Cup just as their nation is leading the yachting world in up-and-coming talent, funded by a sailing obsessed billionaire with deep ties to Ernesto Bertarelli? Could you write a better story? We couldn’t.
The Alinghi angle makes a great deal of sense as well; splitting the $100++ million costs between two billionaires makes it that much easier to pull the trigger for both, and with a likely 50% or so nationality rule coming into play (as Coutts himself has supported), Bertarelli could be part of the game in a place that’s actually on the sea and full of potential Cup sailors.
With guys like Glen Ashby likely free agents and flag-carrying Aussies like Slingsby and Spithill and Langford and Fowler possibly in a contract-free state, an Aussie challenge could instantly include some of this Cup’s top sailors while weakening the Defender at the same time. We know those boys would rather sail for their home nation if they don’t have to take too big a pay cut, and what an epic tale an Aussie/American final would make.
In other news, NZ digital hooligan and billionaire Kim Dotcom (who founded the slickest and sexiest filesharing and piracy host on the web and essentially bought his citizenship in Kiwilandia) has thrown his support behind a TNZ challenge. While Dotcom is a polarizing figure at best, he’s got a few spare millions lying around, especially now that he has beaten the crap out of the US effort to imprison him for piracy. Dotcom wants to screw America, and this could be a great way to do it. With the NZ government unlikely to throw much cash into another Dalton-led challenge, Dotcom’s inclusion could be both poetic and a NZ challenge’s only chance, despite, as the Ed announced earlier, the creepiness of the dude.
The silly season has begun, and if just a few of the stories we are hearing are true, it’s going to be an interesting one!
September 26th, 2013 by admin
Hamilton Island Race Week should be on every sailor’s bucket list, especially with this year’s inclusion of both a multihull class and even a little one-design action with the 5-boat McConaghy 38 fleet shown above in this nice Andrea Francolini shot. It’s not for everyone; like Key West Race Week on our shores, Hammo is pricey and far from everywhere, but unlike Key West, HIRW lacks the dirty hookers, strip clubs, and drug dealers your crew might need…
Still not convinced? Check it out from up high, and if you have a few hours to kill, mosey on over to the HIRW “TV” guide for some frighteningly long videos of each day’s action. Title inspired by some side-splitting fun.
August 23rd, 2013 by admin