Sydney-Hobart 2014

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Doug Lord, Nov 25, 2014.

  1. redreuben
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    redreuben redreuben

    Battle for 3rd, Rio, Rags and Black Jack, don't ask me ! Complete lottery in a dying breeze me thinks.
     
  2. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

  3. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Sydney-Hobart

    From Sail-World: http://www.news.sail-world.com/Rolex_Sydney_Hobart_Yacht_Race_2014___The_taste_of_success/130237

    Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2014 - 'This is the sweetest victory by far,' Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards declared today after steering the silver-grey thoroughbred to a record eighth line honours victory in the Rolex Sydney Hobart.

    'To rewrite a bit of sailing history doesn’t come along every day. To win a Hobart is a great honour but to win an eighth; I can’t believe I am here,' Richards said.

    'It’s been the hardest win,' owner Bob Oatley added. 'Comanche is an exceptional yacht, probably the most expensive yacht ever built. A wonderful boat. When she took off at the start of the race I was amazed.'

    'Comanche was unbelievably impressive down Sydney Harbour,' Richards said, 'and the whole first night she had the legs on us. We thought, ‘how are we going to handle this thing’?

    'It was definitely our toughest race. To have a boat so close for so much of the race, especially when she’s faster than you. I said to the guys ‘we’ve got to hang in there, hang tough, minimise our losses and wait for the first opportunity we get to attack’.

    ====================
    From Rolex Sydney-Hobart:

    Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI has done it again, and in claiming Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race line honours for an eighth time at 15.03.26 hours today, in the time of two days two hours three minutes and 26 seconds, goes down in the race’s 70 year history as the only yacht to ever achieve this amazing feat.
     
  4. RHough
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    RHough Retro Dude

    Real Winner of S-H

    The overall winner of the S-H is a 29 year old Farr 43. Wild Rose.

    Oddly enough the boat was once Wild Oats and owned by Bob Oatley.

    All the media hype over the Stupormaxi's and they got beaten by Oatley's own old boat. What does this say about any benefit to the metric tonnes of cash that are spent to get headlines and loose races?

    Wild Rose
     
  5. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    ======================
    Sure they did. Must be heartbreaking.
     
  6. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    A portion of a fairly good article from the Australian published in an SA thread:

    WHEN seemingly unbeatable Wild Oats XI glided first across the finish line of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race on Sunday afternoon for the eighth time in 10 years, cheers rang out from thousands of admiring spectators lining Hobart’s historic wharves.

    But elsewhere around Australia there were collective groans from less avid sailing fans.

    Social media was full of posts and tweets that repeatedly linked the great race with the words “boring”, “predictable” and, most worryingly for race organisers, “yawn” and “I’m not interested any more”.

    It’s a long way from the horrendous 1998 race, when mountainous breaking waves 20m high sank five boats, cost six sailors their lives and led to the dramatic rescue of another 55 sailors plucked from foaming seas and broken decks by brave helicopter pilots.

    Back then, the world watched in fascinated horror and incredulity at the courage of the 1000 amateur sailors prepared to tackle, and apparently enjoy, taking part in such a dangerous yacht race every Boxing Day.

    Billionaire American yachtsman and computer mogul Larry Ellison, who survived the 1998 race and ultimately won line honours on Sayonara, famously vowed he would never do “another Hobart if I live to be 1000”.

    “I think about it all the time; it was a life-changing experience,” Ellison said a decade after the 1998 race. “We were enormously grateful having made it; it was a race for survival, not for victory, trophies or anything like that.”

    But these days, exactly 70 years since a group of nine old salts first decided to cruise-race their wooden boats the 628 nautical miles from Sydney to Hobart back in 1945 — shooting rabbits and stopping for a beer at the Port Arthur pub on the way — there are many purists who fear big money, sponsorship and expensive technology have taken over the spirit of their much-loved race.

    It is now the Rolex Sydney to Hobart yacht race, with the Swiss precision watchmaker paying undivulged millions of dollars a year to Sydney’s Cruising Yacht Club of Australia to sponsor and have “naming rights” to the iconic ocean race.

    Winner Wild Oats XI, itself worth more than $10 million, is a veritable advertising machine. Its huge grey mainsail — with a price tag of $500,000 — is emblazoned with logos from Channel 7 and its luxury car sponsor Audi; its white spinnaker spruiks owner Bob Oatley’s wines and the heavy black boom his Hamilton Island resort.

    Second placegetter Comanche, a radically designed new yacht built this year by US Netscape founder and Texan billionaire Jim Clark and his Laser dinghy-sailing Australian model wife Kristy Hinze-Clark, set its owners back $40m once running costs are *included.

    Many now ask if limitless wealth — and the cutting-edge engineering and technology it affords — can virtually buy a line honours win in the Sydney-Hobart, once regarded as the ultimate test of endurance and seamanship.

    Arriving in Hobart docks yesterday morning, a weary Bruce Taylor, owner of Melbourne yacht Chutzpah and a veteran of 34 Sydney-Hobarts, is among those fed up with the many changes money has brought to the sailing world.

    The first small boat to reach Hobart — at just 12.3m long — Chutzpah lacks all the latest expensive yachting performance aides common to its bigger, more sophisticated rivals.

    There are no canting keels that swing using generated power to allow the boat to sail flatter and faster. No ballast water shifted electronically from side to side to give greater stability; no hydraulic winches or sails raised and tightened at the touch of an electronic button. And certainly no second engine running permanently throughout the race to keep the boat sailing upright and fast. Nor any handsomely paid professional racing yachtsmen sitting on the rails in the dark and wet.

    “She’s still a real yacht and we do real sailing,” a salt-encrusted Taylor says proudly of Chutzpah, newly arrived at Constitution Dock after nearly three days at sea.

    “They’ll say I’m a grumpy old bugger but it does give me the shits. I’ve got crew here exhausted from working winches for three days and no one is paid; it all comes down to hard work and seamanship on this boat, not pressing a button.

    “It’s all become a bit too like horse racing for my liking; without being derogatory, some of these wealthy owners aren’t even sailors. Instead they hire young hot shots who expect to be paid a king’s ransom to race, and the boat that wins is the one with the most expensive engineering and that pays its professional crew the most.”

    Taylor would like to see a Sydney-Hobart race ban on canting keels powered by a running engine — even though it is not adding forward thrust — or the additions so severely handicapped that good seamanship will always win out.

    “How can they argue a motor running doesn’t make a difference when you can’t sail these boats without it? It allows them to sail at a speed and in a way they couldn’t if they didn’t have the canting keel, water ballast, hydraulic winches and all the technology that goes with it,” Taylor says.

    “It’s very different from needing power for navigation lights and a fridge; they don’t make a boat sail faster.”

    Wild Oats XI’s long-time skipper, professional yachtie Mark Richards, who called Wild Oats’ eighth line-honours win this year his “sweetest victory”, has no time for such criticism.

    He reminds armchair critics, and venerated salty dogs such as Taylor, that even a superfast maxi with all the latest technological enhancements is only as good as the crew who sail it.

    And while they may be paid sailors, an impatient “Ricko” says it should be obvious that seamanship and teamwork still prevail over expensive toys, which also can be extremely difficult to *control.

    “Money won’t win sailing; never has and never will,” Richards says, a day after putting his name into the history books. “A good example of that is Comanche; money was no object and she is the latest and the greatest (design) by one of the wealthiest owners in our sport.

    “She was unbelievable at the start and the whole first night — but in the end we had the boat, the experience and the crew for all conditions. You can’t just buy yourself a win.”

    But Taylor says money does talk, and has a huge impact on how much it costs to take part and remain competitive in a race once dominated by amateurs and “weekend warriors”. The entry fee for each yacht to take part remains relatively small; just $250 a boat and $60 for each crew member.

    But since the tragic 1998 race the rules have been tightened, requiring much more stringent and expensive safety, survival and radio equipment on every boat.

    More significantly, it is the cost of sailing material and technology that is increasing exponentially.

    New Zealand yacht owner, skipper and Oyster Bay wine distributor Jim Delegat is up for a bill of $400,000 after his 70-foot yacht Giacomo lost a carbon-fibre mast, the latest rigging technology and expensive composite sails overboard off Tasmania’s Freycinet peninsula on Sunday.

    A smashed carbon-fibre wheel on Scarlet Runner will set Sandringham owner and skipper Robert Date back a cool $3000.

    But that’s loose change compared with the two ripped spinnakers and torn mainsail Scarlet Runner also suffered. Each will cost $20,000 to $30,000 to replace. Dockside yesterday, Date could not bring himself to tally the cost in front of his wife.

    It was a similar story on 50-foot Victoire, which also shredded several hi-tech spinnakers and headsails. Owner Darryl Hodgkinson wryly quipped his family “won’t be eating meat for a while”.

    “It is hard to keep up (with the spiralling cost of new technology) and it is having an impact on the sport and the race,” Taylor says. “The young ones and the weekend sailor just can’t afford to do this sort of racing any more — they’re the sort of boat owners we need more of in this race.”

    CYCA commodore John Cameron chooses his words carefully when discussing if the Sydney- Hobart has become too much of a rich man’s game.

    He agrees that to afford a 100-foot racing machine such as Wild Oats XI, Comanche, Ragamuffin or Perpetual Loyal — the yachting equivalent to a Formula One car — you need to be “not just a millionaire once but 30 or 40 times over”.

    “They cost at least $10m at the low end, and then there are all the running costs and the professional crew costs to go with it; you can’t say these yachts are in any way amateur boats any more,” Cameron says.

    “The boat is one machine and the bodies that power it the other machine; you haven’t got a chance of winning line honours in a Sydney to Hobart race these days unless you have a large expensive boat and a crew of professionals on board.”

    But Cameron, a hardy old-time sailor, also likes to remind the public that the boat that crosses the finish line in Hobart first is not the only or overall winner.

    While the media attention is always on the hi-tech attention-seeking glamour maxis such as Wild Oats XI, they are winning line honours and the perpetual Ill*ingworth Trophy. The glory — and a Rolex watch — is the only tangible reward for the vast monetary outlay.

    Instead, the true winner of the race and the coveted Tattersall’s Cup is decided on handicap, often two to three days after the big boats have finished and their owners and crews packed up and flown home.

    To respect this amateur tradition, a new Corinthian division and trophy has been added to the race prizes this year.

    Sponsored by the York family, the trophy can be won only on handicap by a boat where no member of its crew is paid and no one on board is employed in yachting, sailmaking or an associated industry.

    “A lot of (sailing club) members do feel the race has never been the same since we introduced sponsorship, but without (Rolex) sponsorship we wouldn’t have that world presence,” Cameron says.

    “The maxis are a very important part of the race, too; they create the excitement and speed that the media wants, and help bring a yacht race to the attention of the broader public. We need it all.”

    But Cameron admits he believes the true heroes of the race are sailors such as one-time maxi racer Sean Langman, still sailing slowly but steadily in an 80-year-old gaff-rigged wooden boat made of Huon pine. Little Maluka of Kermandie is just 9m long and may not reach the shelter of the Derwent until New Year’s Eve.

    “Are the real heroes the Sean Langmans of the race, who will be out for five days and take more than twice as long to get to the Hobart as the maxis?” Cameron ponders.

    “That’s what makes the Sydney-Hobart so special; it looks like one yacht race once a year to the public, but for those who sail in it there are several different races within going on out there, each as special as the others.”
     
  7. redreuben
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    redreuben redreuben

    Sue Neils, The Australian newspapers rural affairs correspondent who wrote the article "Sydney to Hobart Yacht Races Yawning Gap" has been kicked out of the CYC's media room by the media centres head for upsetting Rolex and told to never come back.

    *******.
     
  8. Corley
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    Corley epoxy coated

  9. Moggy
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    Moggy Senior Member

    1. Yes, Rolex should have let it slip, very silly to give it credence.
    2. The article is probably 30 years late... and a bit pointless, the handicap winner was celebrated by those that would have celebrated their win regardless of sponsorship. The money end is just the froth on top that attracts the wider audience, underneath the race remain what it always was.
     
  10. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Wot ? Ocean yacht racing a sport for rich people ? Gawd ! As for winning the race on handicap, that seems like a lottery where the vagaries of wind and weather play a big part. I suspect most who compete, do so as much for the enjoyment of participating, as the hope of "winning".
     
  11. Moggy
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    Moggy Senior Member

    What is a loose race?

    Nothing really, I have designed implemented and tried to refine a club handicapping system. All I can say is that at the end of the day any handicapping system is a bit arbitrary and it is impossible to design something that is not skewed. Any one design rule is better by a country mile... in essence the Hobart has two divisions, cheque book and lottery. :p Both "winners" are playing with themselves if they believe any more is involved. :p :D

    Loose gooses, one and all! BUT really who cares, so long as they all had FUN!
     
  12. Corley
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    The CYCA have made the decision to go down the sponsored path for good or ill. If Rolex genuinely went after a journalist on what is in essence a pretty tame article then they were foolish.

    Ocean racing is expensive there is no doubt about that and the cost of owning and maintaining a boat has increased over the years but there isn't much the CYCA can do about it.

    The introduction of a Corinthian division was a good move by the club in my opinion so they are innovating to some degree.
     
  13. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    I wonder what these "underwater objects" are, that so many boats have hit over the years, causing damage, retirements, and maybe the odd sinking.
     
  14. Moggy
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    Moggy Senior Member

    Sun Fish are a *****... :p
     

  15. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Giant sunfish alarm crews by: By Amanda Lulham |From: The Daily Telegraph |December 23, 2006 12:00AM

    IT'S not his arch-rival, the 98-footer Wild Oats, or even the prospect of unpleasant conditions Skandia skipper Grant Wharington fears ahead of the 62nd Sydney to Hobart - it's fat, blubbery creatures of the deep.
    The curse of ocean racers, giant sunfish, strike terror in crews heading south each year with Wharington coming to grief on more than one occasion in the past.

    A collision at high speed can cause both injury to sailors and damage to yachts, in particular their rudders and keels, with sunfish, the world's largest known bony fish, basking near the surface and difficult to spot in waves.

    "The course to Hobart is literally littered with sunfish," said the skipper of the 98-footer Skandia. "You see them every 10 to 15 minutes out there.

    "It's not a matter of if you are going to hit one, it's how hard.

    "At night you just have to hope they don't come out."

    Last year Skandia hit two sunfish, which can grow to two metres and weigh more than one tonne, during its delivery from Melbourne to Sydney for the race.

    Wild Oats, which went on to win the 2005 Sydney to Hobart, also had a run-in with the giant sea creatures in her lead-up to the race with the impact damaging the rudder on the yacht.

    The 98-footer also hit another sunfish during her record-breaking run in the Sydney to Hobart.

    Along with sunfish, whales, sharks and submerged containers all pose a boat-breaking threat to sailors in this year's race south.

    Earlier this month the yacht Black Panther came to an abrupt halt after colliding with an unidentified creature of the deep just off Sydney Heads.

    "We don't know if it was a shark or a whale but we were sailing upwind and all of a sudden we came to a sudden stop and we all fell forward quite gently," said tactician Chris Links.

    "Then this fin or dorsal or whatever came up and struck the side of the boat and bent the back stanchion and brushed Marcus (Jones, the trimmer, who was on the leeward side of the yacht).

    "One of the guys on another boat thought it was a shark trying to come aboard. But if it was a shark it was Jaws. I'm sure it was a whale because it was the size of the boat."

    Links said the creature – which appeared no worse for the impact – then swam away, with the boat coming off second-best with paint stripped off its keel, a graze on the hull and a bent stanchion a testament to the strange incident.
     
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