Cabbage Tree Island Yacht Race a Rolex Sydney Hobart prequel

Wild Oats XI and Perpetual Loyal will lead a fleet of 48 yachts, most of them entries in the upcoming Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, when the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Cabbage Tree Island Race starts on Sydney Harbour at 7.00pm on Friday.

Starting off Point Piper, the 180 nautical mile 70th Sydney Hobart qualifier will give the public a first glance of Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI and Anthony Bell’s Perpetual LOYAL since the pair updated with modifications earlier in the year. It remains to be seen if either can break Oats’ record of 12 hours 15mins 55secs, set in 2012.

Syd Fischer’s new Ragamuffin 100 is in the finishing touches stage, but the elder statesman is not staying idle. Entering his TP52, Ragamuffin 52 will at least allow some of the crew to hone their skills and teamwork.

Other big names entered for Race 4 of the CYCA’s Blue Water Point Score (BWPS) includes defending Rolex Sydney Hobart winner, Victoire (Darryl Hodgkinson), three-time Sydney Hobart winner, Love & War (Simon Kurts), ‘Money Man’ Paul Clitheroe (Balance), and former rugby players Mick Martin (Frantic) from Lake Macquarie and Bruce Foye (The Goat).

The Cabbage Tree Island race will also provide Ray Roberts the first opportunity to race his recently purchased Farr 55, One Sails Racing. The former Living Doll is a solid performer, a good vehicle for Roberts to make his return to competitive racing in Australia.

Michael Cranitch and David Gotze are in the same boat with Triton. The two made a good purchase, when they bought the former Vanguard from Dick Cawse who won his share of trophies with the LC60.

Eight interstate entries are also racing for the 52nd Halvorsen Brothers Trophy as they prepare for the 628 nautical mile race to Hobart on Boxing Day. Among them is Thorry Gunnersen’s 20 year-old timber yacht, Tilting at Windmills (Vic) with Andrew Roberts at the helm.  

Rob Hanna’s Shogun (Vic) is aiming for a hat trick, having won the Races 2 and 3 of the BWPS. One of four TP52’s in the race, Shogun was the overall winner of the 2013 SOLAS Big Boat Challenge and Hanna is no doubt preparing to defend that title.

Two yachts from the West will also contest the race. Craig Carter, the reigning WA Bluewater Siska champion with a former yacht, has entered Indian, the Carkeek 47 launched by him in January. Sailmaker Paul Eldrid, one of the best from the West, should keep the new boat on the straight and narrow.

Todd Giraudo bought the Jeanneau Sunfast 3600 he christened Kraken at the Sydney Boat Show in August. His brother skippered the yacht in Race 3 of the BWPS and the two will use this race to qualify for the Rolex Sydney Hobart. Kraken will therefore get a look at Tasmania before Giraudo sails her home to Perth.

Meanwhile, the BWPS could not be any closer. There is just one point between each of the top four; Sam Haynes’ ADA Celestial, Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victoire, Matt Allen’s year-old Ichi Ban and Paul Clitheroe’s Balance, with Tony Kirby’s Patrice two points in arrears.

The current weather synopsis from the Bureau of Meteorology is for east to northeasterly winds of 10 to 15 knots late on Friday afternoon and into the early evening. On Saturday, a north-easterly of about 10 knots is forecast, increasing to 15 to 25 knots.

While the current predictions will provide the fleet with a quick ride home, the record will ride on the big boats making it to Cabbage Tree Island in good time.  

For full race results of the Cabbage Tree Island Race and provisional Blue Water Point Score standings head to

– Di Pearson, CYCA Media

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