The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is pleased to announce that 119 entries have been received for the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht race and the 70th edition is bringing new, old, large and small together for the start on Boxing Day.
Due to the large number and sheer size of some yachts, there will be three start lines this year. The last time numbers topped 100 was in 2004, when 116 boats started, though just 59 finished, the rest unable to withstand the punishing weather of the 60th race.
Five super maxis, 10 international entries, previous overall and line honours winners, old timers, record breaking boats and people – and the faithful. Last year’s entries went beyond expectation; this year has exceeded them again.
“We could not be happier with the quality and quantity of this years’ Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet. It’s such a high standard and represents a good cross section of yachts from all over Australia as well as 10 international entries,” CYCA Commodore, John Cameron said.
“We are also extremely pleased to see 36 entries for our inaugural Corinthian Division; it will provide another dimension to our great race and is open to all yachts meeting the Corinthian amateur standard. The winner’s name will be engraved on a trophy donated by dedicated CYCA members, Michael and Jeannette York.”
One cannot go past two-time treble crown winner and reigning record holder and line honours champion, Wild Oats XI owned by Bob Oatley and skippered by Mark Richards, for line honours. In 2013 they won a protracted battle with Anthony Bell’s Perpetual Loyal (former Rambler), allegedly the fastest super maxi in the world.
The two are constantly evolving, undergoing further modifications during the year. Their owners have recruited crews strewn with yachting identities and they will need everything they can muster to take on the other 100 footers in the frame.
Syd Fischer has launched a new Ragamuffin 100. The modified deck of his previous yacht (it took line honours in 2011 under Anthony Bell’s ownership) has received a new water-ballasted hull. A canting keel completes the picture. Fischer, 87, will tick off his 46th Hobart this year.
Jim and Kristy Hinze Clark’s new Comanche (USA) illustrates the latest technology and is the most talked about boat in the fleet. A second American entry is RIO 100 (previously Lahana). Purchased by Manouch Moshayedi, he has lengthened her to 100 feet.
Danger under 100 feet
Conditions play a big part in deciding the outcome of the race. The Volvo 70’s, Peter Harburg’s Black Jack (Qld) and Jim Delegat’s Giacomo (NZL), lap up hard running and reaching conditions. The two were fourth and sixth respectively on line last year, and are genuine threats if the weather is in their favour.
Alive is the rebirthed RP66, Black Jack, purchased by Tasmanian Philip Turner earlier in the year. He obliterated the 1885 nautical mile Melbourne to Vanuatu Ocean Race record by almost two days. Turner is confident in her ability for line and overall honours.
A tilt at the Tattersall’s Cup
There is a variety of contenders for the main prize, the Tattersall's Cup, awarded to the best yacht overall over the 628 nautical mile course. It has eluded some of the best in the business and is won by the yacht and crew that sail best in the weather dished out to them.
Defending champion Victoire (Darryl Hodgkinson) is back. As Jazz, the canting Cookson 50 finished second in 2010 and fourth in 2011 and 2012. Returning to the fold after a five-year absence is Victoire’s original owner, Ray Roberts, who last took the boat (then named Evolution Racing) to Hobart in 2009 and scored a divisional second.
Roberts, who has been winning regattas in Asia, has purchased the productive Farr 55, Living Doll, and renamed her OneSails Racing. He rates highly among the potential contenders for the Tattersalls Cup, which has come within reach over his 19 Hobart races.
Tony Kirby’s Ker 46, Patrice, has shown promise since her launch last November. Although she retired from the 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart with hull damage, Patrice won the SSORC last November and Airlie Beach Race Week in August.
ADA Celestial, Sam Haynes’ Rogers 46, was third overall in last year’s race and won the 2014 Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast race. He leads the CYCA’s Blue Water Point Score (BWPS) after three races and is primed for the race ahead.
Ichi Ban, Matt Allen’s year-old Carkeek 60 kept up a steady pace last year for eighth on line and overall. Allen has since tweaked and refined the boat he hopes will carry him to victory.
Previous winners up to the challenge
One cannot exclude the likes of Simon Kurts’ Love & War. The 41 year-old S&S 47 is one of only two boats to win the race three times. Simon’s father, Peter, took victory in 1974 and 1976. In 2006, Simon loaned the boat to Lindsay May who steered her to a third victory.
Martin Power’s Bacardi (Vic), was second overall in 2006 with her previous owners. Now 36 years old, and with 28 Hobart races to her credit, the Peterson 44 holds the record for the most Hobart races by any yacht.
In conjunction with an IMS winner, Roger Hickman and partners won overall IOR victory in 1993 with Wild Rose. Now her sole owner, Hickman is the defending BWPS champion with the 29 year-old Farr 43.
Luna Sea, James Cameron’s Hick 35, famously won the fatal 1998 Hobart when owned by Ed Psaltis and Bob Thomas. One of the smallest in any fleet, it was forced out of the race last year after losing its rudder in harsh winds.
The 2008 Hobart winner, Quest, returns as Balance. Paul Clitheroe purchased the TP52 earlier in the year and continues to uphold the yacht’s great performances. John Newbold’s Primitive Cool won the race as Secret Mens Business 3.5 for South Australian Geoff Boettcher in 2010. Newbould (Vic) has owned the boat for a year and could succeed.
Foreign boats are: Giacomo from New Zealand, Caro from the Cayman Islands, Clipper Ventures 10, Louise and Titania of Cowes from the UK, Katharsis II and Selma Expeditions from Poland, Passion 4 C from Germany and US entries, Comanche and RIO 100.
Yacht owners and their crew who meet the Corinthian criteria, as defined by the ISAF Classification code, will compete for the York Family Corinthian Trophy, newly dedicated by prominent CYCA members Michael and Jeanette York.
Among the entries are: Danielle Ovenden’s Let’s Go, an Adams/Radford 52 which last went to Hobart in 1994; Jason Ward and Shevaun Bruland’s Beneteau First 40, Concubine (SA), Tilting at Windmills, Thorry Gunnersen’s Joubert Modified 42 (Vic), Trevor Taylor’s Marten 49, Optimus Prime (WA) and Michael Lazzarini’s modified Farr 39, Samurai Jack (Qld).
Points of interest
Peter Riddell’s (SA) 12.5m sloop, Southern Myth, was launched in 1953. She was first owned by Norm Howard from Adelaide, who contested the Sydney Hobart from 1954 until 1965, only missing 1964. Best result was third overall in 1958 and she finished every race.
Andrew Strachan launched Ninety Seven, a Farr 47, in 1993. He took line honours and second overall that year (one of the worst Hobarts on record). Graham Gibson sailed her to fourth in 2000 and second in 2001. Now owner, Alan Saunders (Vic) finished 59th in 2009.
Spirit of Mateship (Qld), a Volvo 60 with Charles McCart at the helm, will again be crewed by wounded Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel, known as ‘Brave Mates’, to raise money for the Mates4Mates charity. In 2013, was third overall in PHS and first in Division.
Caro, a Botin 65 (Mark Bartlett) is the first entry received from the Cayman Islands, while Clipper Ventures 10’s crew includes the first South Korean sailor to take part.
The CYCA has invited previous competitors to participate in a Parade of Sail at 10am on 26 December. They will motor-sail a short Harbour course, led by the historic naval vessel HMAS Advance. And in collaboration with the Australian National Maritime Museum, the CYCA has assembled a static exhibition of photos, yacht design plans and other material to be displayed at the Museum from November until the end of February.
Starting at 1.00pm AEDT Boxing Day, December 26 on Sydney Harbour, the fleet will set sail from three start lines off Nielsen Park, Vaucluse. The largest yachts will start off the front line and the fleet will round a mark outside the Harbour one nautical mile east of the Heads before heading to Tasmania, where the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania finishes the race.
The start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be broadcast live on the Seven Network throughout Australia and webcast live to a global audience on Yahoo!7.
The final fleet for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart will be announced at the Australian National Maritime Museum on the morning of Tuesday, 25 November, 2014.
By Di Pearson, RSHYR Media