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Posts Tagged ‘maxi’

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Not even Thanksgiving yet, and already Anarchist David gets the Sydney Hobart shit- stirring underway.

The are gathering as they do every year around this time. Like a herd of old pachyderms trudging wearily towards their elephant’s graveyard, the 100-foot Supermaxis once defined the frontiers of high-performance ocean racing.

Far too cumbersome for efficient mobility when not actually on the race track, these mastodons of our sport come together just once a year for the Sydney-Hobart race, one of the few major events on the international offshore calendar that still recognises these mammoth monohulls as the pinnacle of yachting competition.

Fivem Supers will face the starter on December 26 for the 638nm sprint to Tasmania. It is a measure of their antique status that only one – Comanche – is less than 10 years old. Most have already passed through multiple ownerships and name changes. Here’s the line-up:

Scallywag (formerly Ragamuffin 100, formerly Loyal, formerly Maximus, launched 2005).

Black Jack IV (formerly Alfa Romeo, formerly Europa, launched 2005).

Wild Oats XI (launched 2005)

InfoTrack (formerly Speedboat, formerly Rambler, formerly Perpetual Loyal, launched 2008).

Comanche (launched 2014)

All five yachts are already in Sydney. Black Jack recently sailed down from Brisbane to compete in last weekend’s Cabbage Tree Island race, the traditional qualifying event for the Hobart. Scallywag arrived five days ago after completing the delivery from her base in Hong Kong.

Media coverage of the race, which begins to crank up in mid-December, will concentrate almost exclusively on speculation as to which of the 100-footers is favoured to be first to the finish off Battery Point. Part of that pre-event hype is the “Big Boat Challenge”, a short round-the-cans race staged on Sydney Harbour a fortnight before the Hobart. It is, of course, useless as a guide to offshore form – but the finish staged near the Opera House is an attractive photo-op for the sponsors.

Indeed, there is no denying that these supermaxis make excellent media fodder. They provide a spectacular sight as they blast off the starting line in the Harbour and then turn South around the Heads and into the Tasman Sea. The television coverage shows little else. By the time these behemoths have set their spinnakers, it’s “back to the studio…”

This intense concentration on the supermaxis and their line-honours battle is predictable, but it irks many of the skippers and crew who make up the bulk of the fleet. The real competition is for the handicap prize where the winner is far more likely to come from the ranks of the 46-to-52 foot boats – half the size of Comanche.

Owners complain that the dominance of the 100-footers sucks away potential sponsorship support, and that the rules of the race have progressively been corrupted to advantage the supermaxis.  Canting keels, water ballast, powered winches, the latest sails and spars, fully professional crew. All of this is beyond the financial capacity of an average campaign, and foreign to the cherished “have a go” spirit of Sydney-Hobart history. That’s why, they say, fleet numbers for the Hobart and the other serious offshore events in Australia have been way down for more than a decade.

Well, they are right. But equally, there is not much hope of change until those who control the sport accept that by continuing to encourage these ageing supermaxis they are distorting the fundamentals of ocean racing. Maybe the 100-footers – and any yacht using stored power – should compete in their own division, and not be eligible for the overall handicap prize.

Whatever, time is surely running out for these blue-water bullies.

November 12th, 2018 by admin

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screen-shot-2016-09-30-at-12-20-39-pmBest known for his straight talk and perhaps the most beautiful ocean racing boat in history, Jim Kilroy died last night in hospice care according to multiple sources.  The Alaska-born Californian became one of California’s most successful real estate owner/developers, but his passion for the sea never dimmed.

Jim’s memoir is a lot like the man; brash and honest with a touch of vainglory; buy a copy and read one of the most interesting sailing/business stories around; Jim donated all proceeds of that book to youth causes, including sailing.

Here’s one tribute from Aussie SA’er ‘recidivist’: “In the bar of the CYCA after a Southern Cross Cup race back in the early 70’s (in which race Ted Turner cheekily put American Eagle inside Kialoa on a mark rounding – without rights), Ted entered the bar to be greeted by Jim Kilroy lifting him off the ground by his shirtfront and saying “You ever try that again and you’ll have 2 fucking six-metres”.  Jim put him back down and walked out.”

Here’s another, from ‘Hitchhiker’: When asked if maxi racing isn’t a rich man’s sport, Jim said, “No. there’s one rich man aboard and 25 poor men, and they enjoy it more than the rich man does!”

Share your own Kilroy and/or Kialoa stories, pics, or what have you in what should be a legendary thread about a legendary man.



September 30th, 2016 by admin

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New dad Ryan Breymaier and Lending Club have topped the 4ksb threshold in a fairly major way, and it’s just the beginning.  Photo credit to Quin Bisset and Q-and-K.

From Ryan:

“This was on our first day sailing after putting the 41 meter tall “big rig” in the boat – it’s got 5 meters on the rig that Loick Peyron won the Route du Rhum with.  Sail plan was a single-reefed main and J1, sailing downwind in 27 knots of breeze. Everything is going well, and our preparations for record breaking are moving ahead nicely…”


March 22nd, 2015 by admin

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Rio 100 2

Thanks to income inequality and the booming markets, the maxi class continues to roll; Fresh off a huge acquittal in one of the biggest insider trading trials in years, Flash memory tycoon Manouch Moshayedi bought a motherfuckin’ boat, then made her a Transpac weapon.  Here’s the story from our friends at Doyle NZ.  Back to Eddie Murphy’s “Raw” for the title shout.

Following her major refit at Cookson’s, Rio 100 (ex. Zana/Konica Minolta/Lahana) is back on the water this week and she is raring to go. Purchased in 2014, the yacht has been redesigned and reconfigured by her Kiwi designer Brett Bakewell-White for use on the West Coast of the USA. “As part of her refit, Doyle Sails supplied her with a new set of Stratis carbon ICE sails, including a mainsail, two jibs, two reaching sails and two spinnakers,” says Mike Sanderson, Head of Sales at Doyle Sails NZ. “This was an exciting project for the Doyle team, particularly since Doyle NZ built so many sails for this boat during her previous life.”

Choosing a sailmaker was a key consideration for the refit. “Between the top sailmakers, there is really very little between the products, so we also looked closely at the customer service side in making our choice,” said Keith Kilpatrick, captain and project manager for the Rio refit. “I was very impressed with the Doyle operation. Just seeing it in action, and the hands on approach, reassured me that we would get the attention we needed for a programme like this; we felt that with other big sailmakers we would be just another customer. We are looking forward to seeing the sails in action in sail trials.”

Sail trials are scheduled for this week, with the upcoming Coastal Classic the yacht’s first official outing. The yacht will then be gearing up for the 2015 Transpac race, where the Barn Door Trophy is firmly in her sights.


September 18th, 2014 by admin