Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race entries break 90

With 10 days until entry closes for the 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia has received 91 entries to-date, including 25 internationals and yachts representing all states of Australia. 

International entries are at an all-time high; bolstered by the 12 British based Clipper round the world yachts which last sailed the race in 2013. In total, the British invasion numbers 17, including Daniel Stump’s Lupa of London, Colin Buffin’s Uxorious IV, Adventure and Discoverer of Hornet entered by the Joint Services Adventurous Sail Training Centre, along with GYR Wot Eva, chartered by Global Yacht Racing.

Mainland China is fielding two entries for its first foray into the race with Ark323 (Noahs Group) and Fei Li (Roy Pan), Eric De Turckheim’s Teasing Machine is representing landlocked Switzerland, KLC Bengal (Yoshihiko Murase) returns from Japan having finished the 2012 race in 12th place overall and Giovani Soldini, one of Italy’s most famous yachtsmen, will race the V70, Italia70.

The USA is hanging its hopes on Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark’s super maxi Comanche, Germany will be backing the Hamburgischer Verein Seefahrt’s Haspa Hamburg, while Gijs Van Liebergen’s King’s Legend is coming from the Netherlands. 

Australian entrants cannot rest on their laurels if they want to keep the Tattersall’s Cup and J.H. Illingworth Trophy (awarded to the overall line honours winners respectively) at home.

Our fate rests with those such as eight-time line honours champion Wild Oats XI (Bob Oatley), Black Jack (Peter Harburg) and Chinese Whisper (Rupert Henry) at the larger end of the scale. In the middle of the fleet are TP52’s Balance (Paul Clitheroe) and Cougar II (Anthony Lyall) and Celestial (Sam Haynes).

On the smaller side, it is difficult to go past 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart winner, Wild Rose (Roger Hickman), second placed Chutzpah (Bruce Taylor) and After Midnight (Mark and Greg Tobin) which finished fourth overall.

Roger Hickman, who won the weekend’s 200 nautical mile Newcastle Bass Island Race with his Farr 43, says international entries don’t faze him: “It’s about the boats, not where they come from. If you have a good boat and a good crew, that’s what counts,” he says.

“We are happy internally with the boat. It’s cocked and ready to go and my crew is good. But the Rolex Sydney Hobart is a very complex race. You need lots of things to go well for you to do well. There’s the weather and the longevity of the race to consider – and a bit of luck.

“We’re allowed to dream though – and we’re dreaming the dream of winning two in a row,” Hickman mused. “But for that to be a reality, we have to win Division 4 first. We do have some control over that, but not of winning the race overall.

Hickman who has felt the overpowering joy of winning the race overall three times; twice with Wild Rose and once as sailing master of Ausmaid, says: “To win the race and the Tattersall’s Cup is a rare privilege and one that a lot of people don’t get to experience, and I feel very privileged.”   

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race starts on Boxing Day, December 26 at 1pm AEDT. Entries close on Friday 30 October 2015 at 1700hrs AEDT.

The start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be broadcast live on the Seven Network throughout Australia, webcast live to a global audience on Yahoo!7 and live streamed via mobile.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race entry and Notice of Race are now online at: http://www.rolexsydneyhobart.com/competitors/online-race-entry/.

By Di Pearson, RSHYR media 

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