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Posts Tagged ‘sydney-hobart race’

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Australia’s Brad Blanchard gave us some info on the kind of charity work we love.  Check out this amazing program; if you can help them out, do it.  If not, get over to Facebook and like them.  We’ll be following this one closely right through the 2014 Hobart, and we expect a major sponsor announcement today.

Southern ExcellenceOcean racing is a long way from the landlocked and war-torn country of Afghanistan, but it’s certainly helping some of our country’s wounded veterans heal their physical and psychological wounds.  Australia’s Soldier On charity was established in April 2012 by John Bale following the death of a mate, and the program is all about the Australian community coming together to show support for our wounded and ensuring they know we will always having their backs. It’s about giving those who have served our country the dignity they deserve and the chance to do and be whatever they choose through; providing access to inspirational activities, supporting rehabilitation and providing opportunities that empower them.

As a Soldier On volunteer and Veteran of modern conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan, I developed my interest in sailing following retirement from the military.  After returning from combat, I craved adventure, excitement, competition, and competitive sailing and ultimately participation in the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race was just the thing to scratch that itch. Recognising that a lot of other Veterans weren’t coping well after their service in conflict areas, I leapt at the chance to get involved with the Soldier On organisation. I realised that my involvement in sailing had helped me successfully transition out of the military and I wanted to inspire those who were struggling to get back into life, particularly those who had been injured, by helping introduce them to a sport I have become so passionate about.

After the first Soldier On Sailing Program was successfully run in 2013 out of Royal Perth Yacht Club, the organisation has now scheduled courses across Australia to help our Wounded Warriors get involved in the great sport of sailing. Incredibly, plans are now well under way to take one of these Veterans from sailing virgin to Category 1 ocean racer in less than a year by taking part in the 2014 Rolex Sydney to Hobart.

woolichAny sailor worth his salt knows that the Rolex Sydney to Hobart is one of sailings’ great ocean races and 2014 should see a huge and massively competitive fleet with the running of the 70th iteration. In thinking about how we could best capture the spirit of Soldier On’s Sailing Program and the resilience of wounded Veterans, we felt the Sydney to Hobart would be the perfect platform to raise awareness for such a great cause. As a fundraising event our venture will not only help Wounded Warriors recognise that there is life after service and injury but encourage wider participation in our great sport.

For the 70th Hobart, one ‘newbie’ wounded veteran and I will be crewing along with the Volvo 70 Southern Excellence II.  If you would like to follow our Soldier On 2014 Sydney to Hobart Challenge please head over to our Facebook Page here, and share it with anyone in the world who might appreciate it. To discover more about Soldier On and how they help our wounded Veteran community please visit them at www.soldieron.org.au. The official launch for this massive undertaking is today at the Royal Perth Yacht Club, and we are still looking for sponsors for this worthy program.
 

February 19th, 2014 by admin

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Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2013

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.

BcoeZGUCAAAd4IM.jpg-largeNow 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

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