With the 70th edition of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race looming, a large and varied field of 28 boats is entered for Race 2 of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Blue Water Pointscore Series (BWPS) to start off Point Piper at 10.00am on Saturday morning.
Nearly double the entry of last year’s race, the depth of talent varies from Simon Kurts’ 41 year-old three-time Hobart winner, Love & War, to the smallest yacht, Luna Sea, the Hick 35 owned by James Cameron which won the treacherous 1998 Hobart, to the more technologically advanced yachts such as Tony Kirby’s Ker 46, Patrice, and Matt Allen’s Carkeek 60, Ichi Ban.
Among the line honours contenders attempting to break the record set in 2010 by Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki in the time of 7 hours 48 minutes 44seconds, are Ichi Ban, Darryl Hodgkinson’s 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart winner, Victoire and Andrew Wenham’s Jones 70, Southern Excellence II.
Light west to south-westerly winds are expected to start the fleet on its way on Saturday morning, then tend south to south-west at 10-15 knots later in the morning, turning south to south-easterly in the afternoon as the fleet heads down the NSW coast.
The benchmark for overall contention of the 92 nautical mile race will be last year’s Flinders Islet winner and defending BWPS champion, Roger Hickman’s 29 year-old Wild Rose, which will join the other IRC contenders in the race for the 54th Ron Robertson memorial trophy.
Overall victory in the Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race in July means Sam Haynes’ Celestial is the early leader of the 2014 BWPS. The Rogers 46 just keeps getting better and better since Haynes bought it in 2010, and he has his mind set on being named BWPS champion at the end of the year. The Sydney vet finished second overall two seasons ago and was third overall in the last Rolex Sydney Hobart.
However, there are many in the running that may impede Celestial and Wild Rose. The Cookson 50, Victoire, Airlie Beach Race Week winner Patrice, and the Ed Psaltis/Bob Thomas/Michael Bencsik owned St George Midnight Rambler, a Ker 40, have a proven track record.
Trophies will, as usual, also be awarded to the overall winners of the ORCi and PHS categories of the BWPS, currently led by Celestial and which Wild Rose won in a clean sweep of the series last year. For the second year, a trophy will also recognise the line honours series winner, which last year went to Victoire. The BWPS concludes with the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
By Di Pearson, CYCA Media