NZ wine magnate Jim Delegat has to be the unluckiest Kiwi racer of the past few years. First, the poor bloke gets anally raped by a subsidiary of Salthouse Marine, which allegedly and quite creatively moved around the million-plus dollars he paid as a deposit for a 68-foot custom job before going bankrupt. After licking his financial wounds, Delegat then caught a ride with Gavin Brady on the sexy Beau Geste for the tropical Auckland to Noumea race. A sweet yacht, a great race, and a great big fucking crack in the hull famously ended that bid, with all crew rescued.
Delegat seems to have learned his lesson, and for the 2013 Sydney-Hobart Race (and let’s all get used to not using “Rolex” anymore) he stopped screwing around, with inside reports linking him to the outright purchase of Franck Cammas’ Groupama 4 for the all-important December classic. Now it looks like Cammas is leading the crew as part of the deal, with sponsorship coming from a big French multi-national with a strong Aussie presence.
This puts an exclamation point on what’s likely to be the biggest and most exciting Hobart in years: Speedboat, the newly chopped and modded Wild Scissorhands, and a mini-fleet of Volvo 70s makes line honors an actual battle for the first time in a while, while the addition of the entire Clipper 70 fleet means more big boats in the race than in ages.
Keep an eye on the thread for more breaking news on one of the world’s baddest races. Yvan Zedda photo.
UPDATE/CORRECTION: Cammas ain’t coming, and the French sponsorship ain’t happening. It’s not as if Delegat needs it. Meanwhile we are told that Whitbread vet Steve Cotton will be running the boat, while our old pal Rodney Keenan is managing the project. “The nice thing about Auckland is you can find a dozen Volvo and Whitbread guys without getting in the car,” Rodney said, sort of. The new boat is named Giacomo after Delgat’s grandpappy and the founder of much of New Zealand’s wine industry, and the boat’s first race will be the Coastal Classic.