Alive aiming for Sydney-Hobart and two Tassie yachting icons

The owner and skipper of the biggest Tasmanian-owned yacht in this year’s Sydney Hobart Race, the powerful 66-footer Alive, is not only aiming to win the blue water classic but also two of Tasmania’s iconic races, the King of the Derwent and the Bruny Island Race. Alive’s Brisbane-based skipper Duncan Hine has revealed the plans of owner Phillip Turner during a brief visit to his home club in Hobart, the Derwent Sailing Squadron, where Turner is also a member.

The Reichel/Pugh 66 is favourite among state-of-the-art boats in 60-70 feet LOA range for an overall win in the Rolex Sydney Hobart following Turner and Hine’s success with the boat earlier this year. This has included dominating the handicap results in the Brisbane to Gladstone and a record-smashing win in the Melbourne to Vanuatu Race.

In her last Sydney Hobart, then Queensland-owned and racing as Black Jack, she finished fourth in fleet, third overall on IRC corrected time, second in IRC Division 0, and first under ORCi ratings.

“We have already nominated for the Lexus King of the Derwent, which is run by the DSS on 2 January, and Phil’s plan is to also contest the Bruny Island, Race which circumnavigates the island south of Hobart in February,” said Hine. “With us entering the KOD fleet, we hope to see some of our main competitors from the Sydney Hobart also contest this exciting race around the cans on the Derwent.”

Hine is full of enthusiasm for the 70th Rolex Sydney Hobart, as is owner Phillip Turner, who lives in Thailand but has a yacht on the DSS marina and owns a cruising catamaran in Thailand. “Phil has a passion for sailing and adventure, which I have been able to share with him,” Hine said.

The 70th Sydney Hobart will be only the third for Hine. For the 2005 race he skippered an Open 60 called Zena which had been chartered by a group of Hobart yachtsman, include Phillip Turner, and raced as Coogans Stores.

“Phillip and I have done a lot racing and cruising together over the years, and I feel very lucky to be able manage and skipper Alive for Phillip,” Hine said, adding: “Without his heavy involvement and support none of this would happen and we are already planning the campaign for 2015 starting with the Lexus King of the Derwent.”

Hine described Aive as “an amazing boat” adding “we had a sensational downwind sail from Melbourne to Vanuatu….smashing the race record.”

Hine revealed that Alive had been maximised for a light weather Sydney Hobart which included using her new carbon fibre Southern Spars mast and boom that had been built to save as much weight as possible.

“The 9m long mainsail booms weights only 50kg,” he explained. “We have upgraded to North’s carbon 3DI sails, lighter, stronger sails.”

Discussing their Sydney Hobart tactics, Hine that the IRC rating system used to handicap the race was “such a hard core handicapping system to sail to….you must maximise everything if have a chance of winning.”

Even with all these preparations and optimising the boat’s speed and its rating, he stressed that the Sydney Hobart would be decided on the weather. “We are hoping for light airs as Alive is an outstanding boat in those conditions, either going to windward or running downwind,” he added. “She runs deeper than the Volvos and other boats of around her size, so that could be a major advantage. She is a narrow, easily driven boat with not a big wetted surface; we hope this will be the right year to win the great Sydney Hobart Race,” Hine said with confidence.

“We are certain the welcome in Hobart for a Tasmanian boat will be awesome… and then we are out to win the Lexus King of the Derwent and the Bruny Island circumnavigation race. I really do live an adventure!” Duncan Hine added with an enthusiastic grin.

– Peter Campbell

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