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The Real Thing - This page is Not restricted to 12-metres only. The only Restriction - Mono-hull sailboats only.


   For latest official press release news on the 2007 Sydney-Hobart race, click on the link below.


General Interest Yachting News:

   2007 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Click on the above link to get the latest news for this race on this site


The Full Size Boats - The Start of the America's Cup Story

References:

The Twelve-Metre Yacht, Its Evolution & Design 1906-1987, Chris Freer ISBN: 0 85177 398 2
The Triumph of Australia II, Bruce Stannard, ISBN: 0 7018 1800 x
Winning & Defending The Cup, ISBN: 0 207 15421 X
America's Cup '83, The Complete Story, ISBN: 0 909558 36 1
12-Metre, The New Breed, Rik Dovey/Sally Samins, ISBN: 0 949290 03 3
The America's Cup Challenge: There is No Second, Tony Fairchild In association with the           Daily Telegraph, ISBN: 0 333 32527 3
Born To Win, John Bertrand. as told to Patrick Robertson, ISBN: 0-553-17249-2
The America's Cup, The History of Sailing's Greatest Competition in the Twentieth Century, Dennis Conner & Michael Levitt, ISBN: 0-312-18567-7
The Twelve Meter Challenges for the America's Cup, Norris D. Hoyt, ISBN: 0-525-22450-5
From Newport To Perth, The New Challenge for the America's Cup, ISBN: 0 85177 410 5

Article Coming soon


The New Breed - The IACC Class Boats

The 1987 America's Cup competition in Fremantle Australia was the last time the America's Cup races were sailed by the 12-Metres.

In 2007 the races are being sailed by the International America's Cup Class boats.

In fact, in the early hours (Australian EST time) of Sunday June 23rd 2007, Alinghi (SUI 100) raced home to win the first race of the 32nd America's Cup match by 35 seconds from the Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL 92) entry.

The second race is scheduled to start late tonight (Sunday June 24th, Australian EST).


Not a 12-metre race. Just simply an Internationally recognised Classic!!

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Sydney/Hobart, Autralia

Click on the above link to get the latest Regatta News for the full size boats. All Classes, All Races.
Read below for Sydney-Hobart only.


Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Sydney/Hobart, Autralia


Rolex Sydney Hobart Race winners collect their trophies

January 1, 2008

The official prizegiving took place today, New Year's Day, at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania in Sandy Bay where the His Excellency, the Honourable William Cox, Governor of Tasmania, and RYCT Commodore Alastair Douglas among other dignitaries, presented numerous trophies and awards to the race competitors in this 628-nautical mile ocean classic.

Bill Ratcliff, from Sydney, became the seventh member of an exclusive group of sailors who have competed in 40 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Races, the achievement recognised with the presentation of his 40-year medallion.

He recounted his first Hobart race in 1963 aboard Don Mickleborough's yacht Southerly in quite different weather then this year's more temperate conditions. "It was a tough one," he said. "We spent a day and a half in sight of Tasman light but could not get around it. It was blowing 86 knots from the south."

Ratcliff skippered his own yacht, Marara, in ten Sydney Hobart races, finishing third on handicap in 1993. He sailed this race aboard a brand-new C&C 11.5m owned by Andrew Dally, who used to crew for him on Marara. "It was an easy race," he said. "In Bass Strait there wasn't a ripple. You could have sailed a Laser across it."

Medallions marking 25 Hobart races were awarded to Kinglsey Piesse, who sailed aboard Chutzpah; George Snow, the former owner of Brindabella, aboard Geoff Hill's Swan 48 Swan Song, John Williams aboard the Farr 53 Georgia, and Colin Tipney, who was aboard the radio-relay vessel JBW.

Ten-year medallions were presented to two women sailors: Julie Hodder, who navigated DHL-The Daily Telegraph and Sue Crafer, who sailed aboard Skandia.

The Goat, skippered by Bruce Foye, was lucky to not only win the ten-boat Sydney 38 one-design division, but to survive a collision with a submerged rock while tacking close inshore only 50 metres off the forbidding 900ft (276m) high cliffs of Tasman Island, 41 miles from the finish in Hobart.

The impact sheered the lead ballast bulb clean off the keel stem. Luckily The Goat was able to tack off to avoid being certainly wrecked. Her crew did not realise the bulb had gone until The Goat docked in Hobart, although a serious loss of speed indicated that the keel had suffered some damage.

Foye says: "Going around Tasman, 12 o'clock at night, black, in a 20-knot southerly and we were nearly around the corner. We were just starting to see the lights of Hobart opening up and started bearing away.

"Our satellite had gone out, so we didn't have a plotter and we weren't aware that a rock juts out on the southern side. We hit that. We thought it was a relatively soft hit, immediately tacked off and continued to sail.

"We didn't expect that there would be any of the keel missing but it was very hard to get our speed and with a whole bunch of lights starting to close behind us, it was a very anxious time."

Close indeed, the second Sydney 38, Gordon Ketelbey's Zen, narrowed the lead from a mile and-a half to about 50 metres by the finish.

The race's overall IRC handicap winner was Roger Sturgeon's STP65 Rosebud. Sturgeon had to leave before today's formal prizegiving at the yacht club. But at yesterday's dockside ceremony where the divisional winners were formally announced, Sturgeon was awarded a Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece, the keepsake to the Tattersall's Cup perpetual trophy for the overall handicap win and promptly handed it to his bowman, Justin Clougher.

Hobart-born Clougher - known as "Juggy" in the sailing community -- now based in Newport, Rhode Island, has built an international reputation sailing on around-the-world races and in the America's Cup. But he remains very much a Tasmanian boy.

Clougher has sailed in eight previous Sydney Hobart races with the best result aboard Larry Ellison's Sayonara for her line honours win in 1998.

Local family members and his American wife Kerry, children Zoe and Graeme, were in the crowd of several hundred at Constitution Dock, when Sturgeon passed on the watch to a completely surprised Juggy, with the acknowledgement that he had been the most valuable crewman on his STP65's Australian campaign.

Juggy's role as a wind spotter, high up the mast -- as the boat negotiated the calm that slowed her for two hours just outside the mouth of the Derwent River -- contributed to her win.

"This is a huge shock to me," said Juggy. "I love sailing, I love Hobart and being able to race home is fantastic, I just love it. And to bring the boat home in a strong position is just such a good feeling. I was so excited."

"I have no idea what the watch is worth, but to me you couldn't put a price on it and I think every other sailor in this whole fleet would be the same. You can take the watch off the front but you leave me that back plate with the words on it (2007 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race)."

>From weather reports Rosebud knew there was a northwesterly breeze blowing in Hobart. "We just had to hope it would fill in down the river. We wanted to keep the boat moving towards the Iron Pot in any way, shape or form so we could get into that new breeze. We got it.just."

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race marked the end of Rosebud's Australian campaign's unbeaten record. Earlier in December, Rosebud won the IRC handicap division of the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge on Sydney Harbour and IRC Division 1 in the Rolex Trophy Rating Series.

Next most successful overseas yacht was British sailor Chris Bull's J/145 Jazz, which finished 15th overall in IRC handicap and fifth in Division C.

The race's first Mexican entry, the Beneteau 40.7 Iataia owned by Marcos Rodriguez from the Acapulco Yacht Club, placed 54th in IRC but would have won any popularity contest during its stay in Sydney, where she spent several weeks before the race after a six-month cruise across the Pacific.

Michele Colenso's Capriccio of Rhu, was the winner of the Cruising Division. The Oyster 55, skippered by Andy Poole, lost several hours on the night after the start when they put into Wollongong to have crewman David Durham treated for an injury to his hand.

The race was fast and safe for the whole fleet with following winds for most of the 628nm course. Unusually, the 79 finishers were tied up in Hobart in time to rest before the New Year's Eve celebrations.

David Pescud's Lyons 54 Sailors with disABILITIES won PHS (performance handicap) Division A, and Namadgi won PHS Division B.

Aboard the yacht Phillips Foote Witchdoctor was Tony Cable, sailing his 44th Hobart race to equal the record for most Hobarts set by the late John Bennetto and equaled also this year by 80-year-old Melbourne skipper Lou Abrahams.

Fun-loving Cable, who has lifted crew morale through many long hours on the rail and off watch with his jokes and songs, sailed his first Hobart in 1961. He has raced aboard 19 different boats and was aboard Bernard Lewis' Sovereign when she took the handicap/line honours double in 1987.

He truly enjoys being at sea, regardless of results and is a valuable hand when the going gets rough and will keep racing to Hobart. "Numbers don't mean a great deal to me," he said. "I've sailed to Hobart with approximately 250 guys from gold medalists on down and that makes me appreciate what an ordinary sailor I am."

The Swan 56 Noonmark VI was awarded the Polish Trophy for the yacht traveling from the furthest point to compete. Skipper Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy and his yacht hail from from the Royal Thames Yacht Club and the Royal Southern Yacht Club, both in the UK.

Handicap division winners:
Division A: Quantum Racing, Ray Roberts, Farr Cookson 50
Division B: Rosebud, Roger Sturgeon, STP65
Division C: Chutzpah, Bruce Taylor, Reichel-Pugh 40
Division D: Mr. Beak's Ribs, David Beak, Beneteau 44.7
Division E: Zephyr, James Connell, Farr 1020
PHS A: Sailors with Disabilities, David Pescud, Lyons 54
PHS B: Namadgi, Rick Scott-Murphy, Bavaria 44
Sydney 38: The Goat, Bruce Foye & Mitchell Gordon
Cruising: Capriccio of Rhu, Michele Colenso, Oyster 55

Line Honours winner:
Wild Oats XI, Mark Richards, Reichel-Pugh 98 maxi

Full results are available on the official race website at: www.rolexsydneyhobart.com



For media information or interview please contact Rolex Sydney Hobart Media Team:

International Press Information:
Key Partners (KPMS)
Susan Maffei Plowden
Ph: + 1 401 855 0234
suma@regattanews.com
www.regattanews.com
www.kpms.com

Australian Media Information:

Lisa Ratcliff
Media Director
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Ph: +61 2 9363 9731
Mob: +61 (0) 418 428 511
Email: lisa.ratcliff@cyca.com.au

Nicole Browne
Ph: + 61 2 9954 7677
Mob: +61 (0) 414 673 762
nicole@mediaopps.com.au

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Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Sydney/Hobart, Autralia


Race fleet enjoys downwind ride to Hobart -- last to arrive overnight

December 30, 2007

With the US entry Rosebud declared the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race overall IRC handicap winner yesterday, divisional places within the fleet are being decided today with yachts finishing in Hobart under spinnakers before a gentle southeast breeze.

Ray Roberts' Cookson 50, Quantum Racing has won IRC Division A for canting-keeled yachts over Matt Allen's Jones-designed Volvo 70 Ichi Ban with the Farr 98 maxi City Index Leopard (Mike Slade) in third.

Rosebud, a Farr-designed STP65 owned by American Roger Sturgeon, won IRC Division B over Ragamuffin (Syd Fischer), a Farr TP52 with Yendys (Geoff Ross), a Reichel/Pugh 55, in third.

The hot new Reichel/Pugh 40 Chutzpah (Bruce Taylor), showing extraordinary downwind qualities in placing fourth overall behind Rosebud, Ragamuffin and Quantum Racing, has won IRC Division C over Bill Wild's Welbourn 42 Wedgetail, with the Rogers 46 Shogun (Rob Hanna) third.

David Beak's Mr Beaks Ribs, a Beneteau First 44.7, has won IRC Division D over the modified Farr 40 AFR Midnight Rambler, which is jointly owned by Ed Psaltis and Bob Thomas. They won the storm-ripped 1998 Sydney Hobart race with the little Hick 35 Midnight Rambler and had three crewmembers from that race sailing with them this year.

Mr Beaks Ribs, with a campaign managed by Ian Short, is lying second in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's Blue Water Pointscore (after Graeme Wood's TP52 Wot Yot which placed fourth in IRC Division 1 in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race). The downwind conditions that predominated for the race did not suit Mr Beaks Ribs, which is at her best upwind.

The ten-boat Sydney 38 one-design division is still to be decided.

IRC Division E is still being decided among the 11 yachts in that division still at sea.

Sailors With disABILITIES, David Pescud's Lyons 54, has won PHS (performance handicap) Division A over Toyota Aurion V6, the former Brindabella (Andrew Short), with the Volvo 60 DHL - the Daily Telegraph, skippered by Tornado silver and bronze Olympic gold medalist Mitch Booth, third. PHS Division B is still being decided among the eight division yachts still racing.

The sole Cruising Division yacht, Michele Colenso's Capriccio of Rhu is currently due across the line in the early hours of Dec 31.

Eighty-year-old Lou Abrahams, owner/skipper of the Sydney 38 Challenge, sailing his 44th Sydney Hobart race to equal the record of the late John Bennetto, said on his dockside arrival that this would be his last.

Abrahams, who has had health issues to deal with in recent years, truly loves being at sea. He skippers his boat on delivery voyages up and down the east coast of Australia from his homeport in Melbourne to contest all the major races, from Hobart to Hamilton Island in far north Queensland. He has twice won the Sydney Hobart, in 1983 and 1989.

He has remained competitive in the Sydney 38, the smallest yacht he has owned, with the help of a strong young crew. Last year Challenge finished third overall and won the Sydney 38 class (and in 2005 as well). This year he had a disappointing 34th place finish overall and was fifth in the Sydney 38 division.

On arrival, he said he had spent much of the time below navigating and had been more of a passenger than a participant and he would not compete again: "I'll miss it; a lot of sailing, a lot of friends and a lot of enjoyment."

In this most benign Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in recent years, only three yachts retired: Andrew Buckland's Mr Kite with a broken rudder, Alex Whitworth's Berrimilla with a spinnaker wrapped around the forestay, and Alan Whiteley's TP52 with a broken chainplate. From the fleet of 79 left, 53 had finished by midday and 26 were still racing.

Cruise-like conditions have continued today with sunshine and light winds, between east to south, allowing the yachts to finish under spinnakers. The wind is forecast to move further east and freshen to 10-20 knots later in the day.

To track the fleet go to the official race website: www.rolexsydneyhobart.com









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Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Sydney/Hobart, Autralia


An overall winner emerges at Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

December 29, 2007

The Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Matt Allen this afternoon formally announced the US STP65 Rosebud, owned by Roger Sturgeon (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida), as the provisional overall IRC winner of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

The win is only the third by an American yacht, with the previous winners being Ted Turner's American Eagle in 1972 and Kialoa III (Jim Kilroy) in 1977.

Sturgeon described his feelings at winning: "Ecstatic, beyond belief. We know how hard we have worked for a couple of years on this project...we had a plan and we stuck to it. It's just unimaginable, the odds against this were huge. We're tickled to death."

Meanwhile, the skippers of the yachts denied their chances of winning the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race's major prize, the Tattersall's Cup for the overall IRC winner, due to overnight calms, and variable and transitional winds in Storm Bay, were reflective but getting on with life at crew lunches today.

While the eventual winner, Roger Sturgeon's STP65 Rosebud from the USA, with an early evening finish was tied up at Elizabeth St Pier, Syd Fischer's TP52 Ragamuffin, which placed second, Ray Roberts' Cookson 50 Quantum, placed third, and Geoff Ross' Reichel/Pugh 55 Yendys were rounding Tasman Island into a wall of uncertainty.

Quantum Racing was leading the IRC standings from Ragamuffin and Yendys approaching the island, running hard before a strong nor'westerly. The soft winds and calms over the final 41 nautical miles to the finish scrambled that order and handed the win to Rosebud.

The three finished closely under spinnakers before a wafting south-easterly just after 3:00am, with Quantum Racing beating Yendys across the line by two seconds and Ragamuffin another 6min 42sec behind, beating them both on corrected time.

In the end, Rosebud won on IRC corrected time by 1hr 21min 33sec from Ragamuffin with another 36 minutes to Quantum Racing.

Ray Roberts said: "The Cookson was really suited for this style of Rolex Sydney Hobart race because there were two periods of really hard running, particularly the last part down the Tassie coast where we were surfing at about 22 - 24 knots, which was really fantastic and that's where we made up our time on Rosebud.

"We gained seven miles on Ragamuffin and a similar amount on Yendys so we were looking really good at Tasman light. Unfortunately we were pretty much becalmed there and spent an hour flopping around; and then at the Raoul again another period of doing about two knots.

"Then we got halfway up the Derwent and there was a transition from the south-easterly to a northerly sector breeze and then it was really slow going.

"At Tasman light we had 14 miles on Syd (Fischer) and Syd took the 14 miles out of us from Tasman light going north. So it was a gut-busting experience.

"At Tasman I thought, 'you beauty, this is my year'. I've been trying since 1984 and I thought here's my big chance. And I must admit I had to go and sit by myself most of this morning to get my head back into gear.

"You go from expectation to absolute despair so you've got to say at the end of the day it's a boat race; refocus on life and just move on."

Syd Fischer, rather than sadness over the outcome, was excited by the performance of his latest Ragamuffin. He strengthened the Farr-designed TP52 he bought from Roy Disney and gave her a new keel which has added upwind stability and power.

"We were on the plane at times, nearly up to 30 knots," he said. "It's quite different to the other boats I've had. You have to get everyone up on the back of the boat. It planes like hell and when it goes through a wave, it doesn't bury itself. As long as you've got the weight in the right place it lifts straight away. You get a lot of water over the deck but it doesn't bury itself like a submarine.

Second a good effort? "Yeah, I've had a few of them," said the man of few words.

He said Ragamuffin had hurt most in the calm around Tasman Island. "In fact the current took us around the island. We were right in against the rocks. We inched our way around the island and finally got some wind." Bruce Taylor, owner of the brand new Reichel/Pugh 40 Chutzpah, which had also been in the running for the Tattersall's Cup, was similarly more enthused by his boat's performance than the fourth-place result.

In the hard running it twice hit a top speed of 25.4 knots and sat on 20s for minutes at a time. "The boat is a rocket off the wind; a mini Volvo 70," Taylor said.

"We asked Reichel/Pugh for something that would run and reach well on the ocean and that's what they've given me. We struggle a bit around the cans but running and reaching out on the ocean it's a great boat, albeit a bit wet."

Taylor said Chutzpah lost her winning chance not in Storm Bay but in Bass Strait on the race's second night when she was becalmed for two hours and down-speed, doing only four knots, for six hours.

At 6pm, 21 boats had finished and 58 were still racing.

To track the fleet go to the official race website: www.rolexsydneyhobart.com









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Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Sydney/Hobart, Autralia


Clock is ticking on handicap winners

December 29, 2007

The US STP65 Rosebud, owned by Florida-based Roger Sturgeon, has almost certainly won the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race's major trophy, the Tattersall's Cup for the overall winner on IRC handicap.

Only Zephyr (James Connell), a Farr 1020 stock production yacht, still had a chance of bettering Rosebud's corrected time and that was steadily slipping away. At 11am she was 149 nautical miles from the finish, doing 6.5 knots, with an ETA increasing from two hours earlier to five hours beyond the time she needed to win.

Meantime Sturgeon in his trademark floppy-brimmed canvas hat was watching a delivery crew load stores aboard Rosebud for the voyage back to Sydney, in time for the yacht to line up for the 268nm Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race which starts on January 2.

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race win would complete a hat trick for his Australian racing campaign. Rosebud also won the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge IRC handicap division and the Rolex Rating Series warm-up regatta for the Rolex Sydney Hobart.

He would not be engaged in discussion about his probable win: "Well, I always wait for the last boat, so maybe tomorrow I'll say.

"I am pleased with the boat, the crew, the team. We got what we came here for, to better ourselves, better our boat, better our team.

"We are miles further down the road than we ever dreamed at this point of time and that was the whole point of being here (in Australia)."

Rosebud is the first launched of the new STP65 class. Inspired by the success of the TP52 class, the two leading American offshore racing clubs, the Storm Trysail Club and the Transpacific Yacht Club, combined to develop the STP65 rule.

The clubs identify it as a box-rule class for a high-performance, light-displacement, fixed keel yacht within fixed parameters for both inshore and offshore sailing that are tight enough to minimise obsolescence. It sets an overall length of 20m (65.6ft), displacement range of 13,000 - 13,400kg and a generous sail plan for good light-air performance.

Farr Yacht Design gave Sturgeon a good all-round performer for his planned program of world-wide inshore and offshore events, including in the coming year, Newport Bermuda Race, Cork Week, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, and Rolex Middle Sea Race. Westerly Marine, Santa Ana, California, built her. Sturgeon, who previously owned a TP52, also called Rosebud, shipped her to Australia after completing the Transpac Race where they finished third in division and registered the third fastest time.

He believed Australia offered the best competition in the world at this time of year. "We thought we would learn a lot."

As many as five STP65s could be racing in the Onion Patch series in June. Sturgeon said he would try to encourage other STP65 owners to enter the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. "I will tell them the whole truth about being here and how wonderful you are treated in the whole country, that the sailing is awesome."

He added with a chuckle: "And if you are intimidated about a Hobart, choose a milder year. How do you know which it is, I don't know. I got lucky this time."

He enjoyed the race: "I wouldn't have been anywhere else in the world. It was just awesome and coming into Tasmania was just beautiful. It was like a long voyage at sea, as if you had been out six months and finally saw land. It felt just great."

"Parked" in the river

Rosebud finished at 7:02pm last evening after her own struggle with calm and variable winds just beyond the Iron Pot light 11nm from the finish up the Derwent River.

The three yachts best positioned to beat her - Syd Fischer's TP52 Ragamuffin, Ray Roberts' Cookson 50 Quantum Racing, and Geoff Ross' Reichel/Pugh 55 Yendys - all "parked" in lengthier calms in Storm Bay and in the river where a strong outgoing tidal flow stopped them cold at times.

Eventually they finished under spinnakers before a wafting southeasterly, just after 3:00am, with Quantum Racing beating Yendys across the line by two seconds and Ragamuffin another 6min 42sec behind, beating them both on corrected time.

Time ran out for the remaining yacht in the running, Bruce Taylor's new Reichel/Pugh 40 Chutzpah, when she slowed in lighter air after rounding Tasman Island, 41nm from the finish.

Dockside, after learning Rosebud was handicap leader, Roger Sturgeon exclaimed: "Wow, there were a lot of things going on out there; it was touch and go for a long time, it builds character."

Grant Wharington's maxi Skandia, which broke the top two metres off her mast in a broach off the Tasmanian coast, struggled across the line in near calm this morning under jury rig. She was third and in touch with the race-leading maxis Wild Oats XI and City Index Leopard, when the mishap occurred, 150 miles from the finish of the 628nm course.

After securing the broken topmast to the rig, Wharington's crew hoisted the J4 jib on the baby stay to keep racing, and had the trysail up for a while. Then Casey Smith, who had earlier gone up the mast four times to secure the broken tip, free-climbed again, using the trysail lugs as ladder rings, to fasten a block at the middle spreader.

"We were able to get the mainsail back up to a second reef position," said Wharington. "We were a bit cautious about not wanting to load the thing up too much anyway. But we were still well down on sail area."

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race IRC handicap overall leaders are: 1, Rosebud by 1hr 21min 33sec from Ragamuffin with another 36min to Quantum Racing, followed by Chutzpah and Matt Allen's, Ichi Ban.

Quantum Racing has provisionally won Division A, Rosebud Division B and Chutzpah Division C; Divisions D and E are still to be determined.

Sixteen yachts have finished, 63 are still racing.

To track the fleet go to the official race website: www.rolexsydneyhobart.com

For media information or interview please contact Rolex Sydney Hobart Media Team:







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Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Sydney/Hobart, Autralia


Line honours winner, Wild Oats XI, makes it three in a row

December 28, 2007

Wild Oats XI, which led all the way from the start but under pressure from the British maxi City Index Leopard right to the finish line in the River Derwent, took line honours this morning in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

The Reichel/Pugh 98, skippered by Mark Richards for owner Bob Oatley, "parked" in light air in the final few miles of the 628 nautical mile course allowing Leopard, which sailed a smart tactical race across Storm Bay and up to the finish line off Battery Point, to close down a lead of 21 miles at Tasman Island (41 miles from the finish) to three miles in the river.

Wild Oats XI eventually finished 27min 23sec ahead of Leopard at 10:24am local time, before a crowd of hundreds assembled on the Hobart waterfront.

While Wild Oats XI finished two hours and 44 minutes outside the record time of one day, 18 hours, 40 minutes, and ten seconds she set in 2005, her third consecutive win equaled the record set in the race's very early days, by Claude Plowman's Fife-designed and built cutter Morna in 1946, 1947 and 1948.

Mark Richards, who has skippered and helmed Wild Oats XI for owner Bob Oatley in all three of her line honours wins, said he was conscious of the historical importance. "Three in a row? I am over the moon. The result was sensational."

Bob Oatley, asked what his feelings were, said: "One of joy; one of 'I can't believe it'; wonderful, I don't know what we are going to do next."

Richards said Wild Oats had been under constant pressure from Leopard, which was sailed very well. "It was a really tough race, tactically very tough. There were a lot of sail changes throughout the two days and the boys haven't had much sleep. It was a challenging race and whoever got here first was going to have a well-deserved win.

"Mentally it was pretty hard. We parked three times - they were very nerve wracking times - and after all that hard work to get to the Derwent and park there, there was a lot of feeling to it. We had to work our butts off and it's all good, it makes the win even better."

At a dockside presentation, Bob Oatley and Mark Richards were presented with the J.H. Illingworth Trophy and a Rolex Yachtmaster timepiece for their line honours win.

Mike Slade of Leopard said that at one stage Wild Oats XI had been 23 miles ahead. "For some extraordinary reason, we pulled them back to three miles at the very end. It's swings and roundabouts in racing. You've got to take it as it comes, enjoy it as it is and we are all thrilled that we have done so well."

Slade continued, "Wild Oats in terms of modern technology is clear of the pack now. They have jumboed it up and that obviously worked as well."

He said Oatley's team had used the Auckland wind tunnel, with Mike Sanderson, to develop the square-topped mainsail on the new Southern Spars mast, which replaced the one Wild Oats broke in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup series at Porto Cervo in September. "With that new rig they had the opportunity to do it. Gosh it worked."

Skandia, the third canting-keeled maxi in the line honours equation, broke the top third off her mast at 2:30am while running hard before the freshening nor'wester, doing 20 knots under asymmetric spinnaker, 150 miles from the finish.

Grant Wharington, owner/skipper of the Jones-designed maxi that took line honours in the 2003 Rolex Sydney Hobart, said: "We just did a little broach; the spinnaker flogged twice and the mast snapped between the third spreader and the forestay attachment."

Wharington said Skandia had been leading the calculations for an overall win on IRC corrected time, which would have earned her the Tattersall's Cup, the race's most prized trophy. "That's all history now. We are determined to finish the race", he said.

Skandia's crew dropped the mainsail to retrieve the spinnaker that had wrapped around the keel. Crewman Casey Smith went up the mast four times to secure the damaged mast tip and Skandia resumed racing, with just the storm jib set, doing only 5.9 knots.

Four hours earlier Skandia had hit a large sunfish at speed, impaled it on her keel so badly that the sails had to be dropped and the boat reversed to clear the keel fin.

The American Farr-designed STP65 Rosebud moved to the top of the IRC overall handicap standings, ahead of Matt Allen's modified Volvo 70 Ichi Ban, followed by Leopard, Ray Roberts' Cookson 50 Quantum Racing, the Reichel/Pugh 55 Yendys (Geoff Ross), TP 52 Ragamuffin (Syd Fischer) and Wild Oats XI.

This morning the group of boats behind the maxis was having a rough, wet ride under small reaching spinnakers and reefed mainsails for some as the nor'wester freshened to 24 knots plus. Ichi Ban and Rosebud were doing speeds exceeding 22 knots.

Rosebud crewman Malcolm Park reported from the boat: "It is a wet and wild day out here. The transition to the NW breeze (early Thursday morning) was quick and painless other than it required a number of sail changes. The crew on Rosebud has now put up and taken down every sail we brought on board for the race.

"We have 24-plus knots of wind, the A7 fractional reaching kite, a genoa staysail, and a reefed main. We are able to just lay the turning point (Tasman Island) at 194 magnetic. It is a bit intense.

"We have seven guys on deck with three guys in full wet weather gear on standby down below... needless to say it is wet down below."

"We are pleased with the way we have sailed so far. It would have been nice if we did not sail into the hole yesterday morning but there was really no way we could have avoided it. We knew the hole would be there before the start and that it would give an advantage to the smaller boats.

"Now that we have some wind we are able to open up some distance on the smaller boats but whether it is enough will only be determined by how much the 40 footers are blown in on this NW breeze."

Ichi Ban's handicap chances suffered when she broke the port blade of her twin rudder system at 10.30am when they were 28 miles from Tasman Island. Matt Allen said: "We have re-balanced the boat to try and dig the starboard rudder in so we can steer. We've had a couple of broaches and we've had to slow the boat down."

At press time, Ichi Ban and Rosebud were less than 40 miles from the finish and expected to cross the line by 5pm; Skandia was 65 nm, and then the next group of boats - Yendys, Quantum Racing, and Ragamuffin - were approximately 60nm behind Skandia.

To track the fleet go to the official race website: www.rolexsydneyhobart.com







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Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Sydney/Hobart, Autralia


Wild Oats XI takes 2007 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race line honours for third time in a row

December 28, 2007

Bob Oatley's 98-foot super-maxi Wild Oats XI, with Mark Richards as skipper, crossed the finish this morning in Hobart at 10:24am local time to take the line honours win for the third consecutive year.

The yacht's elapsed time was 1 day, 21 hrs, 24 mins, which was only just over 3 hours off their record pace set in 2005.

City Index Leopard crossed the finish line 27 minutes later, to take second place.

A more detailed statement will be issued shortly.

To track the fleet go to the official race website: www.rolexsydneyhobart.com


Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Sydney/Hobart, Autralia


A roller coaster stop and start for the Rolex Sydney Hobart race fleet

December 27, 2007

The pace slowed at the head of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race as the three leading maxis sailed into southerly headwinds crossing Bass Strait on the approach to the northeast coast of Tasmania.

At 8pm Thursday (Dec 27) Wild Oats XI was still leading City Index Leopard by approximately 19 nautical miles with another 13nm to Skandia.

This morning's moderate to fresh sou'wester which put the three 98ft canting-keeled maxis on a fast and wet "firehose" close reach under large specialist reaching headsails eased and slowly headed them. The speeds of 12-15 knots they were hitting in the morning eased back to 8.5-12 by lunch time.

The close reaching in a moderate wave pattern suited the beamy Farr-designed Leopard. She has a chine in the aft third of her topsides when the boat is two-sail power reaching.

Owner/skipper Mike Slade from the UK explains: "If the boat is balanced properly she will heel a little bit and sit on the chine which gives you a much cleaner wake on the leeward side. It makes the boat think that it is longer than it actually is."

However throughout the morning Leopard was unable to make any gain on the 11nm lead that Wild Oats established in the straight downwind VMG running conditions overnight after the Boxing Day start.

But Leopard did hang in with Wild Oats, sailing a similar track and within distance and could be a real threat tonight in the light winds expected along the Tasmanian coast. During the day Leopard steadily stretched her lead over Grant Wharington's four-year-old Don Jones-designed Skandia to 11nm. By evening, with winds lightening and shifting southeast, Wild Oats drew away again.

While Bob Oatley's Reichel/Pugh designed Wild Oats XI, skippered by Mark Richards, is well-positioned to be first to finish for the third year in a row, her chance of breaking the race record she set in 2005 looks to have slipped away with the heading winds.

To beat the record time of one day 18 hours 40 minutes and ten seconds she would have to finish before 0740 tomorrow morning (Dec 28). Throughout today Wild Oat's estimated finish time blew out from two hours outside the record to five hours.

Forecasts and weather observations from Tasmanian coastal stations were not promising for the leaders closing in on Tasmania in the last critical miles of the 628nm course. Variable 5-15 knot winds were forecast for the waters east of Flinders Island in Bass Strait and the upper east coast of Tasmania.

Eddystone Point at the northeastern tip of Tasmania reported 15-19 knots from the southeast and St Helens, a third of the way down the east coast, had a south-sou'easter of 9-14 knots. A light southeaster is blowing in Hobart this evening.

IRC handicap overall leader was reckoned to be Huckleberry, a 25-year-old S&S 34 owned by Steve Humphries of Perth and one of the smallest boats in the race, followed by the maxis Wild Oats XI, Skandia, Leopard and then Rosebud, American Roger Sturgeon's Farr-designed STP 65.

Alan Whiteley's TP52 Cougar II retired from the race with chain plate damage and headed to Eden on the New South Wales south coast, bringing the total number of retirements to three in this unusually benign Hobart race. Seventy-nine boats are still racing.

Full list of nominated yachts available from: www.rolexsydneyhobart.com

To track the fleet go to the official race website: www.rolexsydneyhobart.com











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Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Sydney/Hobart, Autralia


Race fleet shifts into reaching mode heading into Bass Strait

December 27, 2007

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet passed through light transitional winds early this morning between the strong overnight northerly, of up to 22 knots and into a weak southwest change.

The three maxis leading the fleet were close reaching in the sou'wester at good speeds between 12.4 - 15.1 knots across Bass Strait.

Still leading the race, as she had done from the start, was Bob Oatley's Wild Oats XI, skippered by Mark Richards. Sixteen hours after the start, the Reichel/Pugh 98 was 11 miles ahead of City Index Leopard (Mike Slade) with another 6.7 miles to Skandia (Grant Wharington).

The three canting-keeled 98ft maxis were about 80 miles southeast of Gabo Island, well into Bass Strait. Wild Oats had covered 263 miles of the 628 nautical mile course. The American STP65 Rosebud (Roger Sturgeon) was next, 22 miles behind Skandia.

Leopard's owner/skipper Mike Slade said from the boat this morning that the new wind angle, putting the leaders on a close reaching course towards Tasman Island, suited his beamier and heavier Farr-design, which had been unable to run angles as deep as Wild Oats before the northerly.

"Now we have the wind on the nose we are happy," he said. "We have the R2, a large reaching sail up and we are seeing 14 knots (of boat speed) in only ten knots of breeze. We have all of Bass Strait to haul Wild Oats back. These are conditions we like and we must make the most of it."

Yachts further back in the fleet slowed badly after the fresh northerly died ahead of the southwest change. Between 5am and 6am the TP52s Wot Yot (Graeme Wood) and Cougar II (Alan Whiteley) were doing 3.8 and 2.7 knots respectively and the British Volvo 70 Hugo Boss II (Ross Daniel) 2.7 knots.

But the mid-fleet group got going again with respectable speeds as the southwest change moved up the south coast of New South Wales. At 8am the overall leader on IRC corrected time was reckoned to be Bruce Taylor's new Reichel/Pugh 40 Chutzpah, with the 39-year-old S&S designed Spirit of Koomooloo (Mike Freebairn) in 2nd place. Freebairn purchased the boat, which was Syd Fischer's original Ragamuffin, last March, to replace his previous boat, Koomooloo, which sank on the second day of the 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart race.

Third on the handicap calculations was Bill Wild's Welbourn 42 Wedgetail, which enjoyed the hard running conditions of the race's earlier stages.

Only two yachts have retired, bringing the fleet to 80: Andrew Buckland's unorthodox Andrew Cape-designed Mr Kite, with a broken rudder and the Brolga 33 Berrimilla, after its only spinnaker wrapped itself irretrievably around the forestay.

After competing in the 2004 Rolex Sydney Hobart race owner Alex Whitworth and Peter Crozier sailed Berrimilla to England, competed in the 2005 Rolex Fastnet Race and then sailed back to Australia just in time to start in the 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart race.

Michelle Colenso's Oyster 55 Cappricio of Rhu diverted into Wollongong to get hospital treatment for an injured crewman. The yacht rejoined the race this morning.

At current speeds, the first of the maxis are expected at the finish in Hobart on Friday morning.

Full list of nominated yachts available from: www.rolexsydneyhobart.com


Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Sydney/Hobart, Autralia


Wild Oats XI, first out of Sydney Heads, as fleet revels in the breeze to Hobart

December 26, 2007

The Sydney maxi Wild Oats XI took round one in the battle of the maxis at the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race today. From a good start, and with smart tactics, she was able to slow her British rival City Index Leopard on the short beat to windward to the first turning mark inside Sydney Heads and then extend that lead on the leg out to the second turning mark.

As the yachts rounded the second mark, about 2.5 nautical miles from the start, to set reaching headsails and spinnakers on track for Hobart, Wild Oats XI led by a morale-boosting 40 seconds from City Index Leopard with another 50 seconds to Skandia, the third 98 foot canting-keeled maxi in the race.

Next came the American fixed-keel 65-footer Rosebud, another good starter, two minutes 20 seconds behind Skandia. Rosebud is the first of the new "box rule" Storm Trysail Transpac (STP) 65 class to be launched.

The 82-yacht fleet started simultaneously from two starting lines set 0.2 nautical miles apart about 1.5 nm inside Sydney Harbour.

Mark Richards, who skippers the Reichel/Pugh 98 for owner Bob Oatley, steered Wild Oats XI into one of his trademark winning starts at the pin end of the line.

The forward line was biased to slightly favour the leeward end in the 8-10 knot northeasterly breeze. Mike Slade's Farr-designed City Index Leopard started well a third of the way up the line and was able to lay the first turning mark on one starboard tack.

But Wild Oats XI had enough leverage to leeward to tack over onto port and cross ahead of Leopard. Wild Oats XI then tacked back onto starboard, ahead and to windward of Leopard, then bore down to slow Leopard with disturbed air.

At the first turning mark, Wild Oats XI delayed her tack onto port and out to sea to again, and planted herself firmly in Leopard's air and accelerated away cleanly to a handy lead at the seaward mark.

Grant Wharington's older maxi Skandia was obviously underpowered after a cautious mid-line start. Wharington, realising that with the forecast weather pattern his four-year boat would have trouble matching the newer Wild Oats XI and Leopard for speed in lighter air, has chosen to concentrate on winning the race's major handicap trophy, the Tattersall's Cup. To this end, he is racing with his smaller "pin-headed" mainsail instead of his latest square-topped main of the type carried by both Oats and Leopard.

American Roger Sturgeon's Farr-designed STP 65 Rosebud re-affirmed her credentials as a favourite for the Tattersall's Cup with a clean fast start that left her hanging in with the maxis and well clear of the converted Jones-designed Volvo 70 Ichi Ban (Matt Allen).

Ichi Ban hurt in the Harbour by working the eastern shore where there was lighter wind and less push from the outgoing tidal flow.

One of the Tattersall's Cup favorites, Alan Brierty's Corby 49 Limit, was about 18 minutes late for the start, waiting for owner Brierty, who is also the tactician, who had a hiccup in travel arrangements from his home in Perth where he spent Christmas Day.

When Corby's scheduled midnight flight across Australia was cancelled, the next available one got him into Sydney airport only 20 minutes before the start. A dash by cab and speedboat got him aboard late, but Limit still managed to be within the fleet leaving Sydney Harbour and in distant touch with the boats she has to beat.

The fleet of smaller boats starting from the second line was severely scrambled when 12 boats were recalled for being premature starters. Two of them, the Jutson 43 Another Fiasco (Damian Suckling) and the West Australian Beneteau 34.7 Palandri Wines Minds Eye (Brad Skeggs), lost significant time before realising they had been recalled and returned to re-start. Another yacht, Jim Holley's one-off Farr 40 Aurora, did not return and will be protested by the race committee.

An estimated 300,00 spectators, on boats and Harbour headlands, saw the fleet on its way on a perfect, warm, sunny summer day. Public interest in the race is exceptionally high this year with quite intense local media coverage for the past two weeks.

A traffic jam formed this morning on the New Beach Road approach to the race's host club, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, as spectators joined the sailors' families and friends to bid farewell to the yachts and board spectator boats.

After three and a-half hours of fast sailing in the freshening nor'easter, Wild Oats XI had covered 55nm and was 20nm offshore, east of Kiama on the New South Wales south coast, doing 19.4 knots and virtually on the rhumb-line course to Tasman Island, last turning point of the course before the Hobart finish of the 628nm course.

The northeaster at Kiama had freshened to 15-20 knots which propelled Wild Oats XI to a 2.3nm lead over Skandia and City Index Leopard. Skandia slightly ahead, doing 16.7 knots and Leopard 18.4 knots; Rosebud was another eight miles behind, doing 16.2 knots.

Full list of nominated yachts available from: www.rolexsydneyhobart.com

To track the fleet go to the official race website: www.rolexsydneyhobart.com


Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Sydney/Hobart, Autralia


Handicap hotshots for 2007 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

December 20, 2007

American Roger Sturgeon's new Farr-designed Rosebud, with a close win over top Australian contender Yendys (Geoff Ross) in the Rolex Rating Series, firmed as a strong prospect to win the Tattersall's Cup, the major trophy of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, awarded to the top yacht on IRC corrected time handicap.

Rosebud is the first launched of the new STP65 "box rule" class of high-performance fixed-keel yachts intended, like the successful TP52 class which inspired it, to provide both close class racing and competitive performance in mixed offshore fleets racing under IRC handicap.

Rosebud also won an earlier warm-up event on Sydney Harbour, the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge's IRC handicap division.

Sturgeon, who raced his previous Rosebud in the TP52 class, is a well-organised campaigner with a crew that has sailed many miles together. Principal helmsman is Jack Halterman. Bowman Justin Clougher, a Tasmanian with eight Hobart races on his CV who now lives in Newport, Rhode Island, is familiar with the fastest route by sea to his family's home in Hobart.

Rosebud beat the well-sailed local Reichel/Pugh 55 Yendys by just two points in the Rolex Trophy rating series of short windward-leeward races off the Sydney coastline, sailed in a good mix of wind conditions.

The two boats went into the last race tied on points. In a light and tricky south-east breeze, Rosebud placed second to Yendys' fifth to win overall.

Yendys, now in her second season, has proven to be an excellent all-rounder. Although she was designed and built for reliability in rough conditions as well as speed in long offshore races like the Rolex Sydney Hobart and the Rolex Fastnet Race, earlier this year she won the strong IRC division at the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, including three race wins in light air.

Her crew is strong in experience, again including Sean Kirkjian, Greg Johnston, Richie Allanson and Danny McConville, with Will Oxley navigating.

The Corby 49 Flirt, owned by Alan Brierty, won division two of the Rolex Trophy rating series, including five wins in her scoreline for the eight race series. The boat is helmed and organised by Roger Hickman, who was sailing master for Kevan Pearce aboard Ausmaid in her 1996 Sydney Hobart race win.

Tasmanian born Hickman, who is a master mariner, has sailed in 30 Hobart races and certainly knows his way south, particularly over the often difficult last 200 miles of the 628 nautical mile course down the Tasmanian coast.

TP52s Wot Yot and Ragamuffin, bought from American owners, have shown startling downwind performances in the opening coastal races of the Sydney racing season that would make them strong Tattersall's Cup contenders if the Rolex Sydney Hobart has predominantly hard running conditions.

Graeme Wood's Wot Yot, a Nelson/Marek design built in 2000, after a promising debut in the 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, in which she finished fifth over the line, is leading the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's Bluewater Pointscore.

Her sailing master Michael Green, a veteran of 29 Hobart races who filled the same role in Quest's win in 2002 leads a crew with Quest veterans Hugh Brodie and Simon Reffold joined by some large, young newcomers.

Green says the total crew weight has been increased by 100 - 105kg, the new base to swing down the lightweight TP52. "It has been a conscious effort to make the boat younger and stronger," he says. "You can't afford to carry the older guys on this type of boat."

Wot Yot hit speeds of 25 knots running home before a 20 knot southerly in winning the Flinders Island race earlier this season.

Syd Fischer, aged 80, is enjoying racing aboard his TP52, his tenth ocean racer bearing his trademark Ragamuffin name. She is a Farr design, originally owned by Californian Philippe Khan and called Pegasus.

Roy Disney bought her and organised a crew of 15 youngsters with an average age of 22 to race her to third placing in division two in this year's Transpac Race.

Fischer has beefed her up for the Rolex Sydney Hobart race, replacing the Transpac keel with a heavier one designed by Farr, to increase upwind stability, reinforcing the internal structure to carry the heavier keel and adding another ring frame between the mast and the bow.

He has also fitted a bowsprit in place of the spinnaker pole and replaced the mainsail, which originally had only one reef, with a new one with three reefs to handle the almost inevitable southerly blow on the way to Hobart.

The greater downwind speed of the TP52 has had Fischer and his crew reviewing their downwind sailing angles in the VMG trade-off between running deeper close to course or higher and faster but over more distance.

"If you are not planing, you are going too slow," says crewman Tony Ellis who has sailed 40 Hobart races, most of them with Fischer. "It's certainly a lot of fun to sail."

Fischer, always spare with words, says: "It's quick, different and a bit of fun." He says the boat is also fast to windward, achieving nine knots. "We could not do that in the last boat (a Farr 50)."

The CYCA in its annual Ocean Racer of the Year Awards named Fischer, Ocean Racing Veteran of the Year. He is in his 45th season of ocean racing, sailing his 39th Hobart race. He won the Tattersall's Cup in 1992 and has taken line honours twice, in 1988 and 1990. Ragamuffin is lying second on CYCA's Bluewater Pointscore for this season.

The third TP52 entered Cougar II, a Farr design built in 2005, purchased recently by Alan Whitely of Melbourne, won the last race of the Rolex Trophy rating series. Whiteley sailed his first Cougar, a Beneteau First 44.7, to second place in IRC division D in the 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

Two Farr-designed Cookson 50s, Ray Roberts' Quantum Racing from Sydney and Michael Hiatt's Living Doll from Melbourne, must also enter handicap win calculations.

Roberts' strong team has been campaigning intensely in Asia with his DK46, winning the inaugural China Cup in October and placing second in the Kings Cup at Phuket, Thailand, in December.

Since last year's Hobart race, Roberts has had Cookson Boats in Auckland fit a forward canard on Quantum Racing to contribute side force resistance when the keel is canted, making the boat more efficient when sailing to windward.

Quantum Racing will race with substantially the same crew as last year, including tactician/helmsman Steve McConaghy, Scott Hinton and Don Buckley helming plus Carl Crafoord as navigator. Crafoord has sailed 21 Hobart races and been on three winning boats: Sagacious (1990), Raptor (1994), Quest (2004).

The 40-50 footers

In the 40-50ft size range, watch out for Mr Beak's Ribs, Shogun and Chutzpah.

David Beak's Beneteau 44.7 Mr Beak's Ribs, sitting in third place on the CYCA's Bluewater Pointscore, will do well if the Hobart has a good share of working to windward.

The boat, carefully optimised for IRC racing by Michael Spies, placed ninth overall and second in IRC division C in the 2004 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, then won the 2005 Sailing South Race Week in Hobart, Skandia Race Week in Geelong and the IRC Cruising Class at Hamilton Island. She withdrew from the 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart with a broken spreader.

Sailmaker Ian Short has been running her campaign this season with a "works team" that includes former Moth class world champion and Australian 16ft skiff champion David McKay.

Shogun, owned by Rob Hanna from Melbourne, is a new Rogers 46 lightweight. She showed great downwind speed to place second overall and win division C in the Audi Sydney-Gold Coast Race.

Then she had to withdraw from Audi Hamilton Island Race Week after suffering mast damage in the first race. A further setback came on the delivery voyage back to Melbourne with damage to the internal structure when a 40-knot southerly front hit her in Bass Strait.

The mast maker, King Composites in Argentina, has fixed the spar and the structure around the keel has been strengthened with extra carbon fibre.

Chutzpah is a new, quite radical, 40-footer from the Reichel/Pugh design team owned by Bruce Taylor from Melbourne. Taylor, who will be sailing his 26th Hobart race, has been a regular campaigner in the Hobart race. He has had seven divisional wins; a second (1990) and third (2003) overall in previous, smaller Chutzpahs. This Chutzpah is his sixth and he says it will be his last.

The boat is similar in shape to Yendys, very beamy aft but also with a distinct chine in the topsides aft for cleaner water flow at high speeds. Taylor says: "The boat is extraordinarily fast off the wind, something like the 14ft skiff I sail with my geriatric brother from time to time; the feelings are similar. With asymmetric chutes we are starting again..it's a fun boat."

Joining Taylor in the experienced crew of weekend sailors are his son Andrew, who flies in from Hong Kong each year for the race and 20-year Hobart veteran and round-the-world race sailor Ian ("Barney") Walker.

But also..

While the Tattersall's Cup winner has mostly come from the 40 - 65ft overall length range in recent years, the unpredictable nature of the weather patterns over the race course - which spans ten degrees of latitude - can roll out winners from opposite ends of the size spectrum.

A 35-footer, AFR Midnight Rambler, designed by Robert Hick 35 and owned by Ed Psaltis and Bob Thomas, won the storm-ravaged 1998 race. The 98ft Reichel/Pugh canting-keeled maxi Wild Oats XI owned by Bob Oatley and skippered by Mark Richards won the 2005 race in strong following winds.

And age does not matter if your boat gets her favoured weather pattern and/or a lucky break. So the 33-year-old Sparkman & Stephens design Love and War, owned by Simon Kurts and skippered by Lindsay May won the Tattersall's Cup last year.

Recent withdrawals, including the New Zealand canting-keeled super maxi Maximus (Bill Buckley) with irreparable damage to her keel fin on the delivery voyage from Auckland, left a fleet of 82 committed to lining up for the start on Boxing Day, December 26.

Full list of nominated yachts available from: www.rolexsydneyhobart.com

Download the Notice of Race from www.rolexsydneyhobart.com


2007 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race strong on overseas entries

December 13, 2007

The strong 85-boat fleet gathering in Sydney for the 2007 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race includes nine overseas entries; six from the UK and one each from the USA, Mexico and New Zealand.

Two of the visitors, Mike Slade's Cityindex Leopard from Great Britain and Bill Buckley's Maximus from New Zealand, are expected to strongly challenge Australian entries Wild Oats XI (Bob Oatley) and Grant Wharington's Skandia in the battle of the canting-keeled maxis (98ft, 30m overall length) at the head of the fleet for line honours in the 628-nautical mile race to start on Boxing Day, December 26.

The Reichel/Pugh-designed Wild Oats XI, which set a new race record in 2005 taking line honours as well as winning on IRC handicap, and again took line honours in the 2006 race, has been fitted with a new stiffer carbon mast by Southern Spars to replace the one she broke at the Rolex Maxi World Cup at Porto Cervo, Sardinia in September.

And with new carbon rigging in place of PBO used on the previous mast, the complete rig is 100kg lighter than the old. Wild Oats XI will also be carrying more sail area: a square-topped mainsail adds 15 per cent upwind, as well as larger gennakers flown from the longer bowsprit that add 20 per cent to her downwind sail area.

She has sacrificed some of her IRC rating and the chance of another handicap win to concentrate on a line honours win against the tougher competition at the head of the fleet.

Skandia, the 2003 line honours winner, with a longer waterline and fuller hull shape aft, was only three miles behind Wild Oats XI, two-thirds of the way down the course in Bass Strait in last year's race when her forward canard fin broke off, ending her chances.

She has been fitted with a new re-configured keel for this year's race with the fin shaved down for a more efficient shape and a reduction of 1200kg in weight. Wharington says the boat in total is one and-a-half tonnes lighter than last year.

Both Cityindex Leopard and Maximus were designed and built primarily for long offshore passage races, capable of surviving the roughest conditions, while Wild Oats XI is aimed at inshore regatta sailing as well as offshore racing.

Wild Oats XI's sailing master Mark Richards says: "Leopard will be hard to beat -- she is much bigger, carries more sail area. Maximus has a deeper keel and a taller mast; she is going to be an absolute weapon." He says the four maxis are very different boats: "It will come down to who gets their favoured conditions."

Leopard, designed by Farr and built by McConaghy Boats in Sydney, showed her ability to handle rough conditions in smashing the Rolex Fastnet Race record in August by eight hours and 50 minutes. At 36.5 tonnes displacement, she is more than 10 tonnes heavier than Wild Oats XI. Her hull is wide and powerful, has a distinct chine running aft for about two-thirds of her length to improve water flow off the hull and is especially suited for high-speed downwind sailing offshore.

Maximus, designed by Greg Elliott, has had a thorough refit since her broke her rotating wing mast in the 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. She now has a fixed mast that is five metres taller and a deeper forward canard. Structural changes inside the boat have given her a greater power-to-weight ratio as well as making her stronger. Her project manager Ross Field says the boat is carrying a lot more sail area and has a lot more stability.

One of the race's most interesting entries is American Roger Sturgeon's Rosebud, first launched of the ST65s built under the new "box" rule formulated by the USA's leading offshore racing clubs, the Storm Trysail Club and the Transpacific Yacht Club. The rule, following the example of the TP52 rule, intends to encourage high-performance light-displacement fixed keel yachts within set parameters for both inshore and offshore racing.

Florida-based Sturgeon, who previously owned a TP52 called Rosebud, has planned a program of world-wide inshore and offshore events including the Onion Patch series and the Newport Bermuda Race in June and later, England's Cowes Week. Rosebud finished third in class and had the third fastest time in this year's Transpac Race, from Los Angeles - Honolulu.

Sturgeon opened his Australian campaign by winning the IRC handicap section of the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge - a spectacular warm-up event for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - on Sydney Harbour. He says the level of competition was the main reason for bringing Rosebud to Australia. "It's the best competition in the world; this time of year especially. We thought it would do the most for our program to be here. We thought we would learn a lot. One of our primary things is to try to go to new places and do new things; not just stay in the same little patch."

Also among the overseas entries is the 2001 line honours winner, then named Assa Abloy, now named Hugo Boss II. This Volvo 60 from the UK is campaigning under the banner of Alex Thomson Racing, alongside the British short-handed sailor's Open 60 campaign. Thomson is currently sailing in the two-handed, non-stop Barcelona World Race around the world with Australian Andrew Cape.

Meanwhile, Hugo Boss II is in Sydney on the last stage of a world tour that has kept the sponsor's flag flying on a passage from Portsmouth to New York, the Transpac Race and passages through Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, to Sydney for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, where she will be skippered by Ross Daniel. Alex Thomson Racing gave her a three-month refit before she sailed from New York in May.

Hugo Boss II, a Farr design, as Assa Abloy skippered by Neil McDonald for the Swedish sponsor, finished second in the 2001-2002 Volvo Ocean Race and took line honours in the 2001 Rolex Sydney Hobart, which was a leg of the course.

Also among the nine overseas entries is British skipper Chris Bull's J/145 Jazz, which placed second on the CYCA's Bluewater Pointscore last season and placed third in Division C of the 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. Australian legend Hugh Treharne, who has sailed 27 Hobart races, will add tactical strength and local knowledge.

The race's first Mexican entry is the Beneteau 40.7 Iataia, owned by Marcos Rodriguez which, skippered by Mark Rosenfeld, arrived in Sydney after a six-month cruise from Acapulco. Iataia raced in the 2005 Transpac Race.

The British Beneteau First 47.7, Decosol Marine Sailplane finished sixth in division and 14th overall in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race. She will be skippered by John Danby and Robert Bottomley.

The Frers-designed Swan 57 Noonmark VI from Great Britain, owned by Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy and skippered by Mike Gilburt is on an around-the-world cruise interspersed with some racing. Since her launching in 1998, she has raced in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean; placed fifth overall and won IRC Division B in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race last year.

Michelle Colenso, with Andrew Poole as skipper, will again race her Oyster 55 Capriccio of Rhu. A brush with breast cancer halted an around the world cruise in Sydney in 2006 but she raced in the Rolex Sydney Hobart last year, winning the Cruising Division and now, much fitter, is looking forward to doing it again.

Full list of nominated yachts available from: www.rolexsydneyhobart.com

Download the Notice of Race from www.rolexsydneyhobart.com

For media information or interview please contact Rolex Sydney Hobart Media Team:

International Press Information:
Key Partners (KPMS)
Susan Maffei Plowden
Ph: + 1 401 855 0234
suma@regattanews.com
www.regattanews.com
www.kpms.com

Australian Media Information:

Lisa Ratcliff
Media Director
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Ph: +61 2 9363 9731
Mob: +61 (0) 418 428 511
Email: lisa.ratcliff@cyca.com.au

Nicole Browne
Ph: + 61 2 9954 7677
Mob: +61 (0) 414 673 762
nicole@mediaopps.com.au

For copyright free, hi-res photographs of last year's Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race (2006), visit www.regattanews.com

For more information about this event, go to the Event Page.
To see event photos and download high-resolution image files, go to the Event Photo Page.

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