Sydney-Hobart 2012

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Doug Lord, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    from Scuttlebutt tonight:


    When the 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race gets underway on Boxing Day,
    December 26, in Sydney Harbor, at centre stage of the 628nm classic will be
    local yachtsman Syd Fischer, a national living treasure who is still in the
    grip of finish line fever.

    At the age of 85, when most men of his age might be shuffling around a
    retirement village in their slippers with their trousers braced up around
    their chest, Fischer wants to win line honours amid the 80-boat fleet -

    He's taken over the boat to do it, Investec Loyal, last year's first across
    the line. The 100-foot super maxi becomes the latest iteration of Fischer's
    Ragamuffin series, Ragamuffin Loyal.

    Syd - lean, leather-skinned, laconic, highly competitive and still the
    subject of discussion for his exploits on and off the water - personifies
    Sydney: he won't lie down.

    Fischer will be on his 44th Sydney-Hobart. He has already won line honours
    wins with Ragamuffin in 1988 and 1990, with an overall win in 1992 aboard
    an updated Ragamuffin.

    This year he is leasing Investec Loyal with a view to knocking off
    five-time line honours winner and race record holder (1:18:40:10 set in
    2005) Wild Oats XI, whose skipper, Mark Richards, is just young enough to
    be his grandson.

    Last year Loyal, skippered by owner Anthony Bell, beat Wild Oats XI in the
    fourth closest finish in the race's history; three minutes and eight
    -- Full report:

    Go Wild Oats!
  2. Willallison
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    Willallison Senior Member

    I can't help but wonder if time hasn't almost passed the S-H by....:(
    It's not much less of a challenge than it always has been, but there are so many bigger, tougher, higher profile offshore racing challenges these days that it is now a rarity for any of the best international yachts to make the journey south to what was once surely the premier yacht race in the world.
  3. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    The Sydney Hobart is an offshore classic for Austalians and Kiwis. Just as the Newport Bermuda race is an offshore classic for East Coast North Americans . I was surprised at how may small, club racer, family type programs competed in the Hobart. The big name, go fast rigs are just a sideshow.

    The Sydney Hobart is indeed a classic sailing event and a very challenging race for any sailor. Long live the Sydney Hobart. Bermuda Race, Fastnet Race, Transpac, .......
  4. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    I can't recall the Hobart often being the premier event in the world, in terms of the competitive level of international boats. At a quick guess, I think 1975 was the only year that we saw three (well, it arguably became 4) boats that would have been ranked #1 in their class worldwide. Arguably the Fastnet, at least, provided a higher level of competition.

    To a certain extent the Volvo has eclipsed all such races, but I'd be willing to bank on there actually being MORE pro sailors involved in the Hobart, Fastnet etc. And even in earlier years, the Admiral's Cup/Fastnet eclipsed the Hobart in terms of level of competition.

    I do recall a few years ago (2001) when the Hobart formed part of the Volvo race that the Volvo guys were quite dismissive about the standard of the Hobart fleet. The funny thing is that when about 5 of the Volvo crews had used the 2000 Hobart as training, they got themselves well and truly clobbered tactically and in the results!

    Perhaps the reason that fewer "world class" boats are seen as coming to do the Hobart is because the 100ft LOA canting "supermaxi" class has been such a disaster in terms of putting boats in the water? In about 7 years, only about 7 boats have been launched, which is the smallest number of "maxis" in about 30 years.

    The other issue could be the fragmenting of the sport. In earlier days, the premier round the world and "class" or "short offshore" boats could and did race competitively in the Hobart and similar events. These days, there's a misfit between the trans-oceanic classes (Volvo 70/Open 60/Class 40 etc, the one designs (Farr 40, Farr 30, etc), the "short offshore" development classes (TP 52, GP33 and 42) and the IRC/ORC mainstream.
  5. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    I worked on race boats for almost 20 years. The fleet changed. Fast international programs developed to compete against themselves. Look what happened to the Admirals Cup, Southern Cross, Onion Patch. Now we have TP52 and dedicated cicuits.
    Even boats like the NEW Farr 40.
    Ive not seen a New 40 but from what I read its a round the bouys speedster .

    This doesnt degrade the challenge of the Sydney Hobart. It will always be a classic .
  6. CT 249
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    To be honest, I think the arrival of other circuit classes like the Farr 40 and TP52, the shorthanders and the other niche classes like the Volvo HAS affected the Hobart.

    For example, the fleet in my first race included one of the top boats of the next Volvo (or Whitbread as it was at the time), two of the boats that had won the previous Admiral's Cup (which as far and away the major trophy for 40-50 footers), and new boats aimed at the next Admiral's Cup.

    These boats were all aimed at the marquee events in the sport and were all capable of performing at pretty much 100% of their potential in the Hobart, because they were aimed to win under the same rule and (apart from the Whitbread boat) the same sort of racing.

    Now the Hobart and similar events are fought out by boats including second-hand modified TP52s (i.e. older boats designed to a different rule and different style of racing, instead of the new purpose-designed 50s of IOR days that were designed with more than an eye to the 600 mile races), the Volvo/Whitbread style boats no longer appear as they did in the case of Ceramco, Lion, Rothmans, NZ Endeavour etc, and the collapse of a proper level-racing maxi scene means that there's only one or two international line-honours competitors, whereas in earlier times we had world-class circuit-racing maxis like Kialoa, Condor II, Nirvana, Soveriegn, Drumbeat, Sayonara, etc coming out as part of a proper and popular maxi class.

    Thank god for IRC and ORC, which are allowing popular mainstream boats to remain competitive. Despite all the rubbish and hype, the vast majority of people still find normal fixed keel racer/cruisers to be the best boat to sail and own; it's just a pity they are largely disconnected from the so called "grand prix".
  7. Corley
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    Corley epoxy coated

    Is that a fundamental shift or simply a reflection of existing trends in sailing sponsorship? It's good to see that the mum's and dad's section of the Sydney to Hobart is still so well supported I watch the small boats battle it out with more interest than the maxi's these days.
  8. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    From Scuttlebutt Europe today:

    Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

    Sydney/Hobart, Australia: A fleet of 79 yachts has been declared for the 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart. The eclectic mix ranges in size from 10.3 metres (33.8 feet) to 30.48 metres (100-feet), and includes three international entries, 9 former race winners, the defending overall champion, yachts representing each and every Australian state and the Australian Capital Territory, and four yachts to have tasted line honours success.

    Four 100-foot Maxi yachts - Ragamuffin-Loyal, Wild Oats XI, Wild Thing and Lahana - look likely to form a breakaway group at the head of the competition, with old adversaries preparing to lock horns. Bob Oatley's Wild Oats XI has won line honours five times and is the current race record-holder, having set the standard of 1 day, 18 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds in 2005. Conditions in the intervening years have proved frustrating, denying a serious tilt at this benchmark time.

    Last year, Investec Loyal beat Wild Oats XI to the finish line by a mere three minutes, eight seconds; racing this year as Ragamuffin-Loyal, under the leadership of the legendary Syd Fischer, she once again poses the biggest threat to Wild Oats. Fischer is set to compete in the race for a 44th time and his crew will benefit from the shrewdness and expertise of one of Australia's great yachtsmen, twice a line honours winner (in 1988 and 1990), and an overall race winner in 1992.

    The Tattersall's Cup, awarded to the overall race winner, remains the coveted prize, and all 80 boats start with a theoretical chance of victory. The conditions, teamwork, skill and an element of luck will all help determine the eventual result. Since Rolex began its sponsorship of the event in 2002, all but one overall race winner have come from the 40-65ft range, where the majority of the fleet lies. Defending champion Loki, on the back of another successful season, is seeking to become the first boat to defend the overall title since 1965.

    The race start, as is tradition, will take place on 26 December at 13:00 local time.

    Go Wild Oats!
  9. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    From Scuttlebutt Europe this morning:

    Wild Oats Xi.... Three Changes for Sydney Hobart

    Bob Oatley's Rolex Sydney Hobart race record holder - and five time line honours winner - Wild Oats XI, today unveiled three significant additions to her armoury for this year's race, which starts on Boxing Day.

    All three changes have been designed to improve Wild Oats XI's speed in light winds, and to provide an even better opportunity for her to break her race record time of 1 day, 18 hours, 40 mins, 10 seconds, which the 30-metre long supermaxi set in 2005.

    The improvements have come as a consequence of the big boat missing line honours in last year's 628 nautical mile Hobart race by a mere three minutes after sailing for two days, 6 hours and 17 minutes.

    Two of the changes have been made to the underwater configuration, and the third to Wild Oats XI's sail inventory.

    Keel Winglets: The most interesting change underwater is to the keel where winglets have been added to the aft end of the yacht's 12-tonne lead ballast bulb.

    Retractable Bow Centreboard: After watching his yacht miss line honours in the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart race, octogenarian Bob Oatley was convinced that one of the primary reasons for the yacht lacking speed in light winds was the drag caused by the two daggerboards which were fitted just prior to that race - and he was right.

    After extensive testing back in Sydney, and three months of hull surgery, Wild Oats XI was relaunched carrying the same daggerboards, but with another retractable centreboard fitted on the centreline three metres aft of the bow.

    Code Zero Headsail: If there was one thing missing in Wild Oats XI's sail arsenal last year it was the very latest and largest possible Code Zero light-weather headsail - but that will not be the case this year. Bob Oatley has had made especially for this year's race a headsail of gargantuan proportions - 535 square metres.

    Full article by Rob Mundle at

    Picture: new bulb fins on Wild Oats: ( Peter Blakeman)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  10. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Sydney Hobart

    Apparently no video in the US from the Sydney Hobart start. I've watched it for years on channel 7(Sydney) but now when you click on it the message is "Sorry, not available in your area". What a damn drag! I've looked forward to and watched this for years.

    Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race-

    Race starts December 25 @ 10pm Eastern in US.
    From Scuttlebutt tonight:

    Among the fleet for the 628 nm Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the
    bookies are ranking the R/P 100 Wild Oats XI firm line honours favourite at
    about $1.50, followed by the Elliott 100 Ragamuffin-Loyal at $3.25 and the
    30m Lahana at $10 (formerly Zana and Konica Minolta). The 77 entrants for
    will start at 1pm AEDT on Boxing Day, December 26 on Sydney Harbour
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012
  11. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    A little over 24 hours before the start here is the weather forcast:

    Because of the handicap system, some years the weather favours the boats that spend the longest time at sea. This year, the sooner you can get to Constitution Dock, the better.

    Skippers and navigators from the 77 competing yachts gathered at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia this morning to be told that the race will start in a fresh sou-easter. It will be lovely for a sprint down Sydney Harbour under spinnaker, but presaging an afternoon of bashing down the NSW coast in a 20 knot southerly.

    Further down the NSW coast, the breeze will start to lighten off, as the weather goes into the first of two transitions which will dramatically affect the outcome of the CYCA's 68th race.

    By Thursday morning, spinnakers will be out again for a rollicking 20 knot plus nor-easter, until the second transition, when a westerly front will move in on the second evening.

    The breeze will again build, but there will be a big wind shadow off the Tasmanian coast, making for some very tricky tactical racing in the quest for line honours and, as it turns out, the outright win on handicap. There is not much joy for the 40 and 50 foot boats further down the race track.

    As with the front runners, the long day of running and reaching competitors were expecting to enjoy on the second day has been cut short by the westerly front arriving earlier than was forecast a few days ago.

    From then on, there is no sign that the wind will turn back to the north any time while yachts are still racing. There will just a series of west/south-west fronts moving through with winds in the 20's during the frontal bursts, dropping off between times, nothing that will allow them to steal back time from the big boats already tied up in Hobart.

    Not that Mark Bradford, the sailing master of the RP66 Black Jack,will be feeling their pain. "Everyone is talking up our size range;Black Jack, Loki, Ichi Ban, Lahana. It is going to be a tricky race; a couple of transition phases where there will be some downtime, some stopping."

    "It depends on who gets through those transition phases the best," Matt Allen, Ichi Ban's owner agrees.

    "I wouldn't write off the three big canting keel maxis (Wild Oats XI, Ragamuffin-Loyal and Wild Thing) and Lahana to win overall. It's wide open - it'll be a fascinating duel, especially when we get off the east coast of Tasmania - that's where the race will be won and lost."

    There's nothing in this forecast that poses any real threat to the fleet. "It looks as though it's going to be a fairly easy race," says Ragamuffin-Loyal skipper Syd Fischer. "I don't think we're going to be knocked about too much."

    Some years the race is as much about boat preservation as boat speed, but Wild Oats XI skipper, Mark Richards, pretty much summed it up this year: "It'll be peddle to the metal - don't back off - and take the shortest route to Hobart."

    Whether it'll be a record year depends on those transition stages. When they come, and how long the light conditions last, until the wind cranks in again. To break the record, the lead boat will have to average just on 15 knots.

    "The big boats can do 20 to 30 knots in that northerly," Mark Richards says, "So if it hangs in for a couple of hours longer than expected, you can be an extra 60 miles down the track. Or it can go the other way."

    Though their prospects for an overall win look bleak, what the smaller boats do have this year is the promise of a lot of tactical duelling with the other boats in their division as these successive fronts and lulls move through.

    At any one time, there will be quite a difference in the strength of the wind, depending on where you are on the course, as well as how much south there will be in the west/south-westers. In the bottom of Bass Strait, and down the Tasmanian coast, tacticians and navigators will come into their own. In other words, a divisional win will be something to savour.

    The forecast is very disappointing for the skippers of the TP52s and the more radical 40 footers, like Bruce Taylor's downwind flier Chutzpah. The less exciting all-round cruiser/racers, like the Beneteau First 40s, will are looking good at the divisional level, as will Roger Hickman's all-rounder,Wild Rose.

    Not that Jason Van der Slot, owner/skipper of the TP52 Calm,has given up all hope of an overall upset.

    "If we keep the boat moving and keep close to the 60 footers, we have a chance," he insists. "We'll be getting to Tasman Island just in time, around midday or 1pm, before the Derwent River shuts down.

    "If we can do that, and keep the speed up, maybe we will be able to climb over the 60s."
    By Jim Gale, Rolex Sydney Hobart media team
  12. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    "Wild Thing" Disqualified from 2012 Sydney/Hobart

    "Wild Thing skipper Grant Wharington has hit out at his yacht's scratching from the Sydney to Hobart race, saying he and his crew submitted all the correct paperwork."

    Ed - Sorry "Wild Thing", not Wild Oats in the Title :eek:
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2012
  13. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Yah...just heard it on BBC Africa Service. Missing paperwork.
  14. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready


    Wild Oats XI is in front but not by much.....

    UPDATE- 2:19EST: Wild Oats XI now leads for Line Honors and IRC by 14 miles.....

  15. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

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