The fourth race of the CYCA Blue Water Pointscore series is set to be a thriller with 39 extremely competitive entrants taking the line for the 19:00 start this Friday evening on Sydney Harbour.
With three super-maxis competing this year, the most in the race’s history, this will be more than a qualifying run for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, but a high-powered shoot-out to size each other up for the ‘Everest’ of ocean racing on Boxing Day this year.
“The Cabbage Tree Island Race is always a strong test of boats and crews readying for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race,” says CYCA Sailing Manager Justine Kirkjian. “We’re expecting close racing from the super-competitive fleet, and while the initial spectacle will be the shoot-out of the super-maxis, the racing for corrected-time victory is set to be electrifying. The race is on for David and Goliath.”
After starting off Point Piper and racing to Sydney Heads, the fleet turns north, setting a course for Cabbage Tree Island off Port Stephens, some 90 nautical miles ahead. Rounding the island, the northernmost point of the race, the fleet then sprints for the finish line in Rushcutters Bay, and the opportunity to claim either the Halvorsen Brothers Trophy, EC “Boy” Messenger Memorial Trophy, or Woollahra Cup.
The record number of super-maxis competing this year could be a nod to the bold, victory-fuelled challenge issued by Comanche Boat Captain John Hildebrand after their second record-setting BWPS race this year – “bring it on!”.
The super-maxi shakedown won’t be the only skirmish occurring over the weekend’s racing with the TP52s and similar-sized Reichel Pughs certainly set to sizzle as well. Matt Allen’s Botin-designed TP52 Ichi Ban, having claimed three from three IRC victories in the BWPS so far, will be looking to maintain her perfect run.
Challenging Allen for TP52 bragging rights are the likes of CYCA Rear Commodore Dr Sam Haynes’ Celestial, Matthew Donald’s Gweilo, Andy Kearnan and Peter Wrigley’s Koa and Sailors with disAbilities’ SWD Wot Eva.
A smattering of international entries round-out the larger end of town with Li Jian’s Advanced 80 Apsaras from Hong Kong, and Ting Lee’s Jones 70 Noahs II from China. Both yachts will be honing their teams' skills for their ultimate ocean-racing challenge in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
On the other end of the scale, this year’s smallest entry, the Sydney 36 Midnight Rambler owned by the Rambler Syndicate, is also taking on the Cabbage Tree Island Race challenge. No strangers to blue water racing, the Rambler Syndicate is made up of ocean-racing legends Ed Psaltis, Michael Bencsik and Bob Thomas, and with 126 Sydney Hobart Races between, expect huge endeavours from the little boat.
- By DJ MUNRO