Sydney-Hobart 2017

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Doug Lord, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Here is the first part of a short article in todays Scuttlebutt Europe:

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    Followers of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race might think they are seeing double when the 628 nautical mile classic starts on Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day.

    The reason for this is simple: on the starting line will be two yachts from the Oatley family's "stable" that are near-identical in profile and name.

    First and foremost will be the famous 30-metre supermaxi, Wild Oats XI, which stands as the most successful yacht in the 72-year history of the great race. And, on the same starting line will be the 20-metre long Wild Oats X, the yacht that was the prototype for the big boat.

    Despite the difference in size, both boats have the potential to be among the major prize winners in the Hobart race - Wild Oats XI for line and handicap honours and Wild Oats X for first on handicap. Wild Oats X's racing record over the years includes first-to-finish in the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race in 2005, 2007 and 2009, second in the 2004 Maxi Worlds in Porto Cervo and overall victory at Hamilton Island Race Week 2005. Most recently, at this year's Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, Wild Oats X, skippered by HRH Prince Frederik of Denmark, took top honours in the Grand Prix racing division.
     
  2. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Doug Lord likes this.
  3. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Thanks for that info!
     
  4. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    It's interesting that of the major 600 mile ocean classics, the one with by far the biggest number of big canters has by far the smallest number of starters. Obviously population has an effect, but for many years the Hobart was much stronger than it currently is when compared to the Fastnet, Bermuda and Middle Sea races. The reasonable number this year contains the Clipper boats and quite a few overseas boats, masking the massive drop in interest in ocean racing in this country in recent years.
     
  5. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Yeah, its moved out of the "working man" range, and into the ridiculously exotic rich mans world.
    The motorized leaders make the concept of "sailing" redundant too.

    One day they will have a class where the winner is the boat that moves the most people, fastest for the least cost by windpower only - thereby making sense of what is increasingly an elitist activity.
     
  6. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

    Thanks for the race update Doug. Yeah the big boys always get the media attention, but there are many divisions for us "ordinary sailors". I gotta rub it in for Wild Oats and their big boy pants. Comanche would eat them alive again if it were raced. It holds the trans Atlantic, Pacific & 24hr speed records. Just let that sink in real good. :cool::rolleyes:

    [​IMG]
     
  7. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Josef, there's not really a division for "ordinary sailors" in the Hobart unless you reckon the "ordinary sailor" spends $250,000 on their boat, which is typical of those in the small boat class in the Hobart. The cheapest competitive boat was $80,000. The fact that the race is so centred around big boats means that the "small boat" class varies from Swan 44 etc down to a 1930s gaff cutter, so even the class victory gets down to the luck of the weather.

    It's a very, very different situation from (for example) the Fastnet, where they put more emphasis on minor prizes and much less emphasis on the big boats. There you get literally dozens of smaller standard cruiser/racers like Beneteaus and J/s of 10-11m and they have lots of comparable boats to race against. The Fastnet is regularly won by boats of around 10m - that hasn't happened in the Hobart for 20 years.

    The score between Comanche and WOXI is one-all, by the way. Not much proof that WOXI or any other maxi canter would be "eaten alive".
     
  8. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

    This is a tough race to be sure. I should have clarified "ordinary sailor" as those outside the IRC division. Due to the location & tough seas that go with it taking cruising boats like Beneteaus, etc. is just not a smart idea. It's best to team up and get on one of the tougher boats if you really want to do this race. FYI the Clipper 70 fleet does this race every other year as part of their RTW race. They do have open slots for competent crew from time to time for this race so reach out to them. The Clipper 70's are tough, fast boats and did a good job last year.

    For most sailors it's the ocean adventure that matters most. Holding up a prize is nice too, but it's just a token and worth a few bragging points.
     
  9. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Joseph, I'm pretty familiar with the Hobart. I first did it when I was 17 years old, so I know it fairly well.

    Beneteaus are not my favourite boats but they have not only done the race but won it.

    It's not about "bragging"; it's about having a situation where sailing at your best, with a well equipped but reasonably affordable boat, gives you a good chance of a fair result. At the moment the small boat class has such a huge range of different sizes and speeds that the result largely gets down to which of the good boats has the best luck with the weather. A 1930s gaff-rigged 30 footer cannot race against a Farr 43 or Beneteau 40.7 on even terms even on rating, because one of them will be many miles ahead in different weather conditions.

    If you have a typical 36 foot cruiser/racer like the enormously popular J/109 or Beneteau 36.7, you have 50 similar boats in the Fastnet and just three vaguely similar boats in the Hobart. Sure, some of it is population but in the past the Hobart was often about half as popular as the Fastnet - now the Hobart is rarely 1/3 the size despite the fact that Australia has been going through the longest economic boomtime of any country in known history and therefore fleet size should be up.

    The other major ocean classics of this style have played down the maxi-canter aspect and done more to make the smaller boats welcome, so they have more entries and less difference between the big and small boats in each class. Here's a comparison - the Hobart had just three boats that rated under 1.003. The Fastnet had 84! The Fastnet therefore has much tighter and better racing in the small class than the Hobart does.

    I and other owners believe that the concentration on maxi-canters and the like is related to the lack of small boats, or at the very least a symptom of the same problem.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017

  10. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

    You're right CT, the big boats do get most of the credit. This is always the case. Media coverage for sailing is so biased it's ridiculous especially for the races with many boats. I see it from two angles:

    -Media: They are simply trying to get the most effective coverage. They crunch as much as they can into a time slot with the budget they've got.
    -Racing teams/Owners: They get noticed if their vessels stand out in some way (e.g. huge, fast, unusual).

    Frankly, I could care less how much attention was paid by the media or even the race organizers. The chance to be on open seas with a swarm of sailboats/yachts is pure magic. We do a big race every year up in Chicago. Hundreds of boats all racing to Mackinaw Island on Lake Michigan in the Chicago Mac race. Lots of boats might bother some, but I wouldn't trace the on-board experience for a million bucks. Every other year or so we do a race all the way from Chicago to Port Huron (Supermac race). This is about 580 nautical miles...longest freshwater yacht race in the world. Racing conditions are all over the place. Not as treacherous as the Tasman sea though.

    Fair winds and furious seas!!! Argghhhhhh /) /) /)

    ChicagoMac2016_Oh_My!.PNG
     
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