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Displaying items by tag: Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

On this cool Saturday evening in Hobart, Cian McCarthy and Sam Hunt of Kinsale brought their chartered Sunfast 3300 Cinnamon Girl-Eden Capital in at 9:11 pm local time to the Tasmanian port city's waterfront to finish fourth on water and fourth overall in the Two-Handed division in the Sydey-Hobart Race 2023.

They had been sailing at 6.6 knots in the outer approaches to the line, but the firm sou'sou'west wind which has set the tone and the pace for the past day and more as the smaller craft make their way toward a finish port faded at dusk to make for a slow finish for the Kinsale duo,
making them at least an hour later than had seemed likely earlier in the evening.

MAIN TROPHIES GET FIRST APPEARANCE

In Hobart, the historic main trophies - the John Illingworth Cup for first to finish and the Tattersall Cup for best time in IRC, had appeared for informal dockside award ceremonies which will become more formal at the official prize distribution early next week, but by then many of the big noises in international professional sailing will already have long since departed Tasmania.

 The overall-winning RP 66 Alive crew with skippper Duncan Hine get an informal presentation of the Tattersall Cup. As a Hobart-registered boat, Alive's overall win - her second - has brought great local pride The overall-winning RP 66 Alive crew with skippper Duncan Hine get an informal presentation of the Tattersall Cup. As a Hobart-registered boat, Alive's overall win - her second - has brought great local pride

 Alive's navigator Adrienne Cahalan with the Tattersall Cup - this was her 31st Hobart Race, and it's not the first time the Offaly-born internationally-rated navigator ha won this very special prize Alive's navigator Adrienne Cahalan with the Tattersall Cup - this was her 31st Hobart Race, and it's not the first time the Offaly-born internationally-rated navigator ha won this very special prize

But for Cinnamon Girl's crew and others in the Corinthian Division (in which she placed xy), the attractively-located port of Hobart on the Derwent Estuary is an exciting place, particularly on your first visit at the end of a Sydney-Hobart Race, and a challenging one at that.

From an early stage, it was clear that the pace-setter in the Two-Handed Division would be the boxy-but-fast Lombard 34 Mistral (Rupert Henry & Jack Boutell), yet that didn't prevent Cinnamon Girl and her sister ship Kraken III (sailed by former RSHR Two-Handed winners Rob Gough and John Saul) from filling the leader slot on IRC from time to time.

Rupert Henry and Jack Boutell on the Two-Handed victor Mistral. Handsome is as handsome does - the uncompromisingly boxy Lombard 34 is a Marc Lombard creation, and he also designed the successful 45-footer Pata Negra, now owned by the Hall family, who sail from PwllheliRupert Henry and Jack Boutell on the Two-Handed victor Mistral. Handsome is as handsome does - the uncompromisingly boxy Lombard 34 is a Marc Lombard creation, and he also designed the successful 45-footer Pata Negra, now owned by the Hall family, who sail from Pwllheli

But as the race progressed, Mistral's slightly but significantly larger size put her steadily further ahead, and in the end, it brought her sooner to a much steadier wind stream, which had her across the line in early afternoon today, a couple of minutes before 3.0pm local time to give an elapsed time for the 628-mile race of 3 days 19 hours and 53 minutes which corrected to 4 days 1 hour and 57 minutes.

This gave her a clear win by almost four hours on CT over second-placed Kraken III, while third was the new JPK 10.30 Min River owned by Sydney's Jiang Lin, who has now logged three TSHR TH races, and raced with her co-skippper Americ Belloir. But while the leading three carried the breeze to the finish, when Cinnamon Girl was nearing the line, a calm night was descending on the scene, providing her with a finish time which didn't reflect her competitive performance during the race.

CINNAMON GIRL'S OUTSTANDING SUCCESS IN CORINTHIAN DIVISION

Nevertheless, it meant she was the leader of the Corinthian Division in her class and is second overall in the Corinthian Division for the fleet as a whole, with the amateurs won by Richard Hudson's Farr 45 Pretty Woman, while in third slot in the Corinthians behind Cinnamon Girl is Richard Williams' Cookson 40 Calibre 12, which was fourth in the open Division 3 with the crew notably including bowman Stephanie Lyons. She's also of Kinsale YC connections, so a spot of celebrating in Kinsale YC won't go amiss.

Results here

Published in Sydney to Hobart

Alive, skippered by Duncan Hine, has been declared the overall winner of the 78th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, securing the Tasmanian boat its second victory in five years.

Hine lauded his 14 crew which included Irish-born navigator Adrienne Cahalane, for whom it was a 31st Sydney Hobart (a record for women), and New Zealanders Gavin Brady and Stu Bannatyne and the rest of the crew.

The win is also Tasmania’s fifth in the 628 nautical mile Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s race after Hine skippered Phillip Turner’s Reichel/Pugh 66 to her first victory in 2018.

Alive’s win adds extra polish to the pedigree of the boat that its owner, Philip Turner, bought the former Black Jack in 2014, with a view to winning the race.

After it’s victory in 2018, Alive came close again in 2019, but placed fourth. Last year, she finished 10th.

Asked how he felt to win a second Sydney Hobart, Hine laughed and said: “It goes to prove finally that it [2018] wasn't a fluke.” Then he added: “I'm very lucky, really. Phil has such an amazing boat to start with. We’ve got a really good crew. And the weather was good for us.”

Alive’s win is the highlight of an extraordinary year for the boat. This year, Alive also claimed overall honours at Hamilton Island Race Week, the Brisbane to Hamilton Island Race and Bruny Island Race, as well as line honours in the King of the Derwent Regatta.

“It’s been a remarkable year for the boat,” said Hine adding that while Turner did not sail on Alive this year unlike in 2018, he has celebrated with him over “quick chat or two” by phone.

The result also signs off on a terrific performance for Reichel/Pugh in the race, as the top three overall came from their design board, with the RP72 URM Group finishing third over the line for second overall and RP69, Moneypenny, taking third place overall.

“Reichel/Pugh designs are proving to be a pretty lucky for many of these races,” Hine said.

Asked what was the key point of the race that shored up Alive’s victory, Hine cited the last stretch up the Derwent River to the finish and their nail-biting tussle with URM Group.

The skipper said, “It was a cliffhanger right up to the bloody finish, wasn't it? The Derwent River always pulls something out of the bag.

Alive near the Organ Pipes in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Photo: Kurt ArrigoAlive near the Organ Pipes in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Photo: Kurt Arrigo

Hine and his crew had to play a waiting game until this morning when the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia declared Alive the winner of the prestigious Tattersall Cup.

Hine said he felt more at ease during the “waiting game” for that confirmation than in 2018.

“I felt a lot more confident about it than in 2018,” he said. “I thought it was going to be hard to lose from where we were. If someone had knocked us off, they would have deserved it.”

“We worked so hard all the way through that race. Everyone put in 100 per cent,” Hine said.

“You don't always walk away feeling like you've done the best you could have personally, but I don’t think anyone would have hopped off the boat feeling they could have put more in.”

The Alive crew:

Skipper: Duncan Hine, Sailing Master: Gavin Brady, Navigator: Adrienne Cahalan, Darren Jones, Shane Gaddes, Stu Bannatyne, Sam Tiedemann, Dean Van Teylingen, Silas Nolan, Brad Farrand, Sean O’Rourke, Logan Andersen, Christopher Cowan

Benoit Falletti (Rolex) and Arthur Lane (Commodore CYCA) present the Tattersall Cup to Sydeny hobrt Race winner Duncan Hine, skipper of Alive  Photo: Kurt ArrigoBenoit Falletti (Rolex) and Arthur Lane (Commodore CYCA) present the Tattersall Cup to Sydeny hobrt Race winner Duncan Hine, skipper of Alive  Photo: Kurt Arrigo

Published in Sydney to Hobart

It's Saturday morning in Hobart, and out at sea the smaller boats in the big race from Sydney are still punching it out with a sou'wester which gives them a beat round the convoluted peninsula that ends at Tasman Island, along shorelines of other-worldly cliffs and crazy rock
formations.

There's Irish interest in Division 3, where Richard Williams' Cookson 12 Calibre, with Steph Lyons of KInsale YC on the bow, is second in class on the water 1.5 miles behind the Mark Mills-designed, Turkish-built White Noise (Daniel Edwards) which has 25 miles to sail to the finish, with both boats hitting speeds around the 6.5 knot mark.

The Cookson 40 Calibre 12 is second on the water in class as her division leaders approach HobartThe Cookson 40 Calibre 12 is second on the water in class as her division leaders approach Hobart

Three miles astern is the leading Two-Hander, Rupert Henry's Mistral, a Lombard 34 which is first in the duo class on the water and on IRC, while second in both categories - but 30 miles astern - is Kraken III, the Sunfast 3300 raced by previous Two-Handed winners Rob Gough and John Saul.

They have been giving sister-ship Cinnamon Girl-Eden Capital (Cian McCarthy & Sam Hunt, Kinsale YC) one very competitive race, but in the last hour or so the Kinsalers have managed to take a mile or so out of Kraken, but they're still seven miles behind.

Kinsale YC has more involvement in the 2023 Sydney-Hobart Race than any other Irish club. Seen here back home with James Matthews (centre) are Cinnamon Girl-Eden Capital's Sam Hunt (left) and Cian McCarthyKinsale YC has more involvement in the 2023 Sydney-Hobart Race than any other Irish club. Seen here back home with James Matthews (centre) are Cinnamon Girl-Eden Capital's Sam Hunt (left) and Cian McCarthy

With 56 miles still to race there's a chance of making further gains if it becomes a full beat to the finish, but daylight makes the chance of taking an unobserved flyer less likely.

CARO'S THIRD PLACE CLOSELY CHALLENGED

Meanwhile in port, Max Klink's Botin 52 with Gordon Maguire and Cian Guilfoyle on board has been confirmed in third among the TP 52s, but by just five minutes ahead of Ian & Annika Thompson's Ocean Crusaders J-Bird, which rates at only 1.300 against the high-rated 1.416 of Caro, so it was a nervy time as the old J-Bird came up the Derwent.

As for Mickey Martin's veteran TP52 Frantic, with three from Ireland on board in the form of Trevor Smyth, Conor Totterdell and Cian Ballesty, she finished on corrected time plumb in the middle of the 52s at 7th in Division 1, and just three hours behind Caro's Corrected Time. The
Customs House can be expecting a thirsty raid from the Leinster Coast Pirates if they're not there already.

Tracker here

Published in Sydney to Hobart

Anyone who tracked Max Klink's special Botin 52 in the Middle Sea Race will know how her fractionally extra speed potential can eventually perform a demolition job on the on-water lead of any sister-ships ahead. Thus, in the Middle Sea, it was early leader Chris Sheehan's Warrior Won that fell to the Klink axe, and in the final stages of the ongoing Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, it was Caro again leading across the line at 3:30:22pm on Friday afternoon Hobart Time.

But Caro's speed potential is matched by a higher rating relative to the other 52s, and though she deprived longtme on-water leader Smuggler (Sebastian Bohm, NSW) of the 52s' line honours accolade, Smuggler finished only 2 minutes and 39 seconds after Caro, which in this 628 race was translated by their different handicaps into a win by three hours.

Eric de Turckheim's NYMD 54 Teasing Machine from France is expected in Ireland in June for the Round Ireland Race from Wicklow, but meanwhile, in Hobart, she has finished fourth in Division 1, nearly three hours on CT behind CaroEric de Turckheim's NYMD 54 Teasing Machine from France is expected in Ireland in June for the Round Ireland Race from Wicklow, but meanwhile, in Hobart, she has finished fourth in Division 1, nearly three hours on CT behind Caro

As we meet the 09:00 am deadline here in Ireland, Caro is waiting to see if Ian and Annika Thompson's TP52 Ocean Crusaders J-Bird finishes in time to deprive the Klink boat of a podium place in third, as Sam Haynes' Celestial finished 42 minutes behind Caro but corrected into
second behind Smuggler, while Mickey Martin's veteran TP52 Frantic (ex-Patches) is currently shown as 7th on IRC, with 17 miles to sail and making 9.8 knots for her crew, including Trevor Smyth of Clontarf, Conor Totterdell of the National, and Wicklow's Cillian Ballesty.

 It hasn't always been hardship. This is Annika Thompson aboard Caro's place contender, the TP52 Ocean Crusaders J-Bird It hasn't always been hardship. This is Annika Thompson aboard Caro's place contender, the TP52 Ocean Crusaders J-Bird

None of the 52 footers or indeed any other size or type is bothering the continuing overall win of the Tasmanian Reichel Pugh 66 Alive, brilliantly navigated by Adrienne Cahalan to a 20-minute corrected overall lead ahead of the 72ft URM Group, navigated by rising star Alice Parker, while Sean Langman's RP 69 Moneypenny - with the National YC's Will Byrne as bowman - continues securely in third overall on IRC.

Stephanie Lyons - formerly on Kildare and still of Kinsale YC - is in a similar bowman role on the Cookson 12 Calibre 12 (Richard Williams), and they've usually been in the top half - and quite often the lead - in Division 3, where currently they are fourth on IRC, and leading on the
water by a mile with 96 miles to the finish.

Aboard Ocean Crusaders, the food is good if basic, but it would be stretching it to describe this part of the accommodation as "The Dining Saloon"Aboard Ocean Crusaders, the food is good if basic, but it would be stretching it to describe this part of the accommodation as "The Dining Saloon"

The two-handed battle continues at pace, with the leading Sunfast 3300 Kraken III (Rob Gough and John Hall, Tasmania) at 125 miles to sail, which gives her a ten-mile lead over Cinnamon Girl (Cian McCarthy & Sam Hunt Kinsale YC). But with night coming on for those still racing, the flukier winds of darkness make the situation much more fluid, and we'll report back this evening as we return to the race course.

Race Tracker here

 Overall winner Alive slugging it out across Storm Bay on her way to overall victory for navigator Adrienne Cahalan in her 31st Hobart Race Overall winner Alive slugging it out across Storm Bay on her way to overall victory for navigator Adrienne Cahalan in her 31st Hobart Race

Published in Sydney to Hobart

The sight of the first three TP52s to finish the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race this afternoon reflected three contrasting emotions: disappointment, excitement and resignation.

For the New Zealand entry Caro, which has Ireland's Gordon Maguire of Howth and Cian Guilfoyle of Dun Laoghaire Harbour on board, the ninth boat to finish the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s race, the mood was a disappointment. Even though they were the first of the TP52s and the first international boat to finish, their lament was for not having achieved what they came for: overall victory and the Tattersall Cup.

Close behind Caro, this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race winner after a race-long challenge with the Kiwi boat was Seb Bohm’s Smuggler. There was not quite three minutes between the two which were ninth and 10th over the finish line. Behind them was the 2022 overall winner, Sam Hayne’s Celestial.

Asked if being the first TP52 provided solace to falling short of claiming the overall win, Caro sailing master, Justin Ferris, said: “That’s trying salvage something out of the race. There’s always a competitive fleet of 52s and it's nice to win that battle, but we wanted it to be a better end to our year.

“We had a good year and it would have been nice to have this win as well. But it’s bloody hard to win it. A lot have tried for a long time,” the Kiwi sailor said.

Ferris said Caro paid the price of taking the wrong option with their strategy: “We worked out the only way we're going to win this race is to try and get through with the mini maxi's wind.

“We knew that if we failed at that attempt, then we were going to be well behind the 50-footers that took the inside route, that we would fall off the back. That is exactly what happened.

“Then it was all about catch up and at least be the first TP52 home. We rolled the dice, had a good shot, and it didn't work.”

However, Ferris lauded the performance of Smuggler, whose crew threw everything at Caro.

“They went bloody well. They took the option that was presented to us as well, which obviously we didn’t take,” Ferris said. “We were super impressed at how well they went.

“Last night we tried everything to catch them and it took us one day to get in front of them.”

Max Klink on Caro looking back at Smuggler Photo: Salty DingoMax Klink on Caro looking back at Smuggler Photo: Salty Dingo

On Smuggler, a boat that Bohm bought from Sam Haynes in 2019, the mood was one of excitement and celebration, rather than disappointment for having been passed by Caro close to the finish.

Bohm, who has finished all nine Hobarts he has sailed, also enjoyed beating his CYCA clubmate Haynes with the latter’s former boat. “But we are good friends,” Bohm acknowledged.

Bohm was thrilled with how Smuggler performed against the international campaigner Caro.

“It's fantastic,” Bohm said. “We were surprised and in awe that we were so close to them. We’ve got a great product and a great package.

Published in Sydney to Hobart

By Friday (29th December) at 0740hrs in Tasmania, just six yachts have so far finished the 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the varied and squally conditions making it difficult for the fleet to sail a simple and quick race, to the point where the next yacht due to cross the finish line is David Gotze’s No Limit (Vic), expected to cross the finish line around midday.

A text from Brad Kellett, reported from Geoff Hill’s Hong Kong entry Antipodes this morning, says it all about the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s race, the first ‘traditional’ style race in some years.

“Hi from Lindsay May’s 50th race,” Kellett said of navigator’s 50th consecutive Sydney Hobart. Well, he’s getting a real Hobart. We’ve had everything except hard-running conditions.

“We’ve had some downtime on Antipodes (a Santa Cruz 72), with breeze holes our competitors didn’t get. We’ve got a tear in the new mainsail to repair; we blew out our J2 headsail, which would be up right now in the 12-14 knot southerly.

“We’re currently approaching Wineglass Bay sailing upwind. We should be rounding Tasman Island later this afternoon and hopefully should arrive in Howdown (Hobart) in the dark. Hopefully before the (Derwent) shutdown” said Kellett, who is a Lindsay May in waiting. Sailing his 31st consecutive Hobart, he is the only one likely to outnumber May in the long run.

Kellett ended, “Looking forward to seeing the Lindsay May cheer squad on the dock and enjoying the festivities in Hobart.”

Robbie Fisher, skipper of Helsal 3, agreed with Kellett's summation of the race so far.

“We have a minor injury to a crew, a couple of broken ribs. Our navigator was on deck, slipped, and cracked a couple of ribs. That put us down a helmsman as well.

“We’ve injury to the boat too. A broken halyard, torn main and other little things. We’ve lost a bit of ground, but we’re pressing on. We’re hoping to finish tomorrow,” said Fisher, who is doing Hobart number 23.

The Hobart sailor said they had spent six hours in one spot off Gabo Island.

“The most we saw in the last hour of that time was 0.8 of a knot. It was so painful. Then we copped a beating across the Strait. We had over 30 knots and it was pretty bad. We broke a halyard and a few bits and pieces. We have persevered though...

“Right now the breeze is down to 5 knots (at 8.10am). It’s been an interesting trip to say the least.”

Fisher has his family on board, the three doing their first Hobarts. Wife Kerrie, son Brandon and daughter Elizabeth. They also have the ashes of Fisher’s father, Tony, who took Sydney Hobart line honours and broke the race record in 1973 with a former Helsals, built of ferro cement and dubbed ‘The Flying Footpath’.

“Dad would have said ‘You should have put more gear up. He’s the lucky one though, he’s lying down in his usual bunk, so he’s relaxed.

“I don’t think the family will come again (the race). They’ve had enough, but they’ve all done their watches, so I can’t complain. Doing this race with me, experiencing it for themselves, they all think I’m crazy, doing the race so many times.”

Fisher continued, “The first night we saw the best lightning show. I’ve never seen anything like it. We were doing 13-14 knots in calm seas, and it went on for three-quarters of an hour. It was the most eerie experience.

“During the race we’ve had had everything except hard running conditions. I wanted to put the kite up just show the family what it looked like, but I thought better of it!”

Fisher, whose Helsal 3 from Hobart is expected to finish late tomorrow evening, ended, “We saw LawConnect took line honours and everyone on board was cheering for them.”

More retirements during the night, as Salt Lines, She and Gunshot each retired with mainsail damage and going into Eden.

In a happy miscommunication, the New Zealand two-handed crew of husband and wife, Michael and Tracey Carter (Allegresse), have not retired from the race. Following a rest period, they resumed racing this morning.

The conditions have been particularly punishing on the two-handed crews. In all, 81 boats are yet to finish the race.

Published in Sydney to Hobart

Duncan Hine and his international crew (including Irish-born Adrienne Cahalane) aboard Tasmanian entry, Alive, have kept the Reichel/Pugh 66s chances of winning a second Sydney Hobart well and truly alive, having crossed the finish line at 3.19.04 hours in Hobart today, throwing down the gauntlet to the rest of the fleet.

The yacht, owned by Phillip Turner, won the Rolex Sydney Hobart in 2018 and came close again in 2019, but ultimately finished fourth in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 628 nautical mile race. Alive is in the box seat to win right now, but there are others that could topple her.

“Now, it’s a waiting game,” her skipper, Duncan Hine, said. “It’s a shame Phillip couldn’t do the race with us,” he said of the owner.

“We’re looking good though. I believe we could do it again, but the reality may be different,” Hine said of the possibility they had won the race.

“Now we wait with bated breath to see if anyone can beat our time…”

Hine believes that apart from a well-prepared boat and a race-winning crew, “a lot of luck is involved in this race: “You can be lucky and you can just as easily be unlucky. I think we had some luck.

“The main thing is, we’ve all had fun, but we’re tired and cold.

Hine was his usual relaxed self. “It was tight competition, the ratbags were doing anything they could to stay in front of us,” he said laughing, describing Anthony Johnston’s Reichel/Pugh 72, URM Group that would just not go away. The two were in a concentrated race-long battle and were two of the early race favourites.

“We had many changes in the lead between the two of us. Moneypenny was right there too, this morning. Sean (Langman) decided to take the shorter route to the finish, but I don’t think it paid off.”

Of the crew, Hine said, “We had a good crew. The Kiwis were great and Adrienne – she’s only had 31 years’ experience at this,” he said of the navigator who has six line honours wins inclusive of two triples of line, overall and race record.

Adding accomplished Kiwi sailors Brady and Stu Bannatyne to the crew and Irish-Australian Adrienne Cahalane to an already strong Australian line-up from Tasmania and other states may be the secret to Alive’s success this year, although she has had her share of successes in other races and regattas over the past 18 months.

Alive passing Tasmania's most iconic backdrop Photo: Andrea FrancoliniAlive passing Tasmania's most iconic backdrop Photo: Andrea Francolini

Brady and Cahalane, both described their race as “very intense.”

Brady, who won the 1997 Sydney Hobart sailing with Karl Kwok on Beau Geste, said, “It’s a long time between wins, I’m glad I came back.”

On the most difficult part of the race, he said, “The competition with URM was the hardest. To stay close enough to them was so important. We swapped places a few times. They got away from us last night and extended the distance, and then we caught them up at 6 am this morning.

“What a team,” he said of URM Group, skippered by Marcus Ashley-Jones. “They pushed us hard; they are solid. We just knew we had to stay with them. It was relentless.”

Published in Sydney to Hobart

The J/99 Rum Rebellion (Shane Connelly and Tony Sutton), which retired from the Sydney Hobart Race overnight, has returned to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

More details on the boat’s retirement have become available. Skipper Shane Connelly has reported the following:

  • At 6 pm on 26 December, they were between Cronulla and Wollongong and approximately 20nm out to sea.
  • The yacht was running a full mainsail and spinnaker in 6-10 knots of wind.
  • The wind suddenly increased to 16 knots, and the crew saw an unusual, “ferocious” looking storm cloud approaching behind.
  • The crew began to drop the spinnaker, with Shane moving forward on the boat to reach a tack line as part of the precautions to reduce sail.
  • A micro-burst of wind hit the boat, causing a knockdown.
  • Both crew were wearing lifejackets.
  • Shane was thrown overboard on the port side as the boat was knocked down. He attached his tether back to the boat and as the boat righted, Shane was lifted back on board.
  • Tony remained onboard the boat.
  • Shane reported that all the alarm systems on the boat worked effectively, his lifejacket inflated and AIS activated instantly and all the safety drills and procedures worked to plan.
  • Shane and Tony regrouped and retrieved the spinnaker from the water.

With concerns that Shane may have a concussion, the pair decided to retire. Both Shane and Tony report they are OK.

Shane says, “The Safety Drills and systems all worked, and we could sort ourselves out”.

Published in Sydney to Hobart

For Kinsale Yacht Club's Cian McCarthy, owner and co-skipper with Sam Hunt of the Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300, Cinnamon Girl – Eden Capital, the two-handed entry from Ireland, this will be their first Sydney-Hobart Race, one of ten international entries in this year's race that departs on St. Stephen's Day.

But he and Hunt have plenty of offshore racing experience behind them. Every year, they alternate by racing either the Fastnet or Round Ireland races.

Both also have some experience of Australian waters.

McCarthy raced in the 2000-2001 Clipper Round the World Race that included a leg finishing in Sydney.

Hunt crewed in the 2011 Sydney Hobart on the Beneteau First 40, Willyama from NSW, while living in Sydney.

“We have been sailing together for three or four years and have a nice kind of partnership,” said McCarthy.

For the race, the pair will not be sailing their Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300, also named Cinnamon Girl, which has dominated offshore racing in Ireland for two years. Instead, they have chartered the same design from Lee Condell in Sydney. Aside from renaming it Cinnamon Girl, they also changed the set-up, running 116 square metre A sails and the extended bowsprit from their boat.

Asked if he had any thoughts about the competition he will face in the two-handed division of which there are 18 entries, McCarthy said: “Not really. I think we're the only Europeans in the class; so, we wouldn't have raced against the other guys.

“We don't know what to expect. All we know is that we've prepared as well as we could.

“We're just going in with an open mind.”

The duo are not the only Irish either, as Irish sailors are crewing on a number of entries in this year's race as Afloat previously reported here

Tequila sunrise turns dream into reality for US entry in Rolex Sydney Hobart

Charles Devanneaux (second from the right) with his crew on Lenny Photo: Andrea FrancoliniCharles Devanneaux (second from the right) with his crew on Lenny Photo: Andrea Francolini

For years, sailing in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race was a dream for Charles Devanneaux, the US based French skipper of the US entry, Lenny.

But Devanneaux’s decision to finally commit to the 628 nautical mile race was a relatively quick one; albeit prompted by “a couple of drinks of tequila.”

“It's a dream, a dream to come,” Devanneaux said on Friday at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) in Sydney.

Devanneaux’s dream of racing in the Sydney Hobart was spawned by a close friend sailing in the 1998 edition of the race where six lives were lost.

“One of my best friends did the 98’ race. Since that day, it has been on my bucket list,” said Devanneaux.

But his journey to Australia really took shape last year when discussing plans for Lenny’s maiden race, the 2023 Transpac from California to Hawaii in which it placed second on division.

Over drinks, a friend suggested to Devanneaux that he also sail in the Sydney Hobart.

Next morning, he woke to see a table covered in maps and charts and realised what he had committed himself too.

They had planned Lenny’s route from Hawaii to Sydney, and the Sydney-Hobart race itself.

“Honestly, it was after a couple of drinks of tequila,” Devanneaux confessed with a wry grin.

Devanneaux said his goal for his Sydney Hobart debut is to have “a clean and safe race” with Lenny and to “get to the end, to the finish line” on the Derwent River.

He played down Lenny’s winning prospects, labelling the boat as “fourth league” compared to the “first league” billing of the French entry, the NMYD 54, Teasing Machine.

Teasing Machine is French Flag Carrier in Sydney Hobart Race

Eric De Turckheim (in the red shirt) on his Teasing Machine Photo: Andrea FrancoliniEric De Turckheim (in the red shirt) on his Teasing Machine Photo: Andrea Francolini

Eric De Turckheim, the French owner of Teasing Machine was quick to rebut his compatriot when asked about any rivalry between the two Frenchmen.

De Turckheim, for whom this year’s Sydney Hobart will be his third, after starts in 2016 (on a different boat) and 2018 with the current Teasing Machine, first replied: No comment.”

Then he added with a smile: “You know, we've seen so many times boats of any type of category winning very big races.”

Lenny and Teasing Machine are two of 10 international yachts in this year’s race. Boats are also representing Germany, Hong Kong (2), Ireland, New Caledonia, New Zealand (2).

The Sydney Hobart has long attracted international sailors keen to test their skills against the unique challenges of the Tasman Sea, Bass Strait and the Derwent River.

International yachts have claimed the Overall win on 14 occasions, the most recent being Jim Delegat’s New Zealand boat, Giacomo, in 2016.

JPK 10.80, Rockall from Germany Has Unfinished Business in Sydney Hobart

For Chris Opielok, skipper of the JPK 10.80, Rockall from Germany, this year’s race is about avenging the unfinished business of his debut in 2017.

That year and on a different boat - a TP52 - his race ended in Bass Strait due to boat damage.

“It was mission uncompleted,” Opielok said. “I would really like to finish this time. That would make me happy.

Chris Opielok at the International Entrants Press Conference Photo: Andrea FrancoliniChris Opielok at the International Entrants Press Conference Photo: Andrea Francolini

Published in Sydney to Hobart

Offaly-born Australian-based sailing superstar and ace navigator Adrienne Cahalane, a veteran of 30 Hobart races with overall and class wins to her credit, was among the expert panel for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Long Range Weather Forecast pow-wow on Sunday.

Race crews face a tense week preparing for myriad race scenarios due to the ‘significant uncertainty’ of the long-range weather forecast each year.

As Afloat has reported previously, as well as Cahalane, there is Irish interest in the Australian Grand Prix event this year, especially in the two-handed division.

In its long range forecast presented on Monday at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, organisers of the 628 nautical mile race, Gabrielle Woodhouse, Senior Meteorologist from the NSW Bureau of Meteorology [BOM] said it is too early to make a precise indication.

That is due to the high temperatures and humidity across NSW in recent days that are also set to continue leading up to the 1 pm St. Stephen's Day start next Tuesday.

Woodhouse said the BOM should have a clearer picture of what’s in store for the 107-strong fleet by the weekend.

Sydney Hobart Long Range Weather Forecast - From left to right race navigators, Gabrielle Woodhouse, David Henry, Alice Parker, Chris Wild, Kathy Veel, Adrienne Cahalan Photo:  Andrea FrancoliniSydney Hobart Long Range Weather Forecast - From left to right race navigators, Gabrielle Woodhouse, David Henry, Alice Parker, Chris Wild, Kathy Veel, Adrienne Cahalan Photo:  Andrea Francolini

She said the best indication now was for a light south-westerly wind at the start with rain and the chance of thunderstorms later.

A low-pressure system is expected over the Tasman, but when that hits is also uncertain.

“It’s too hard to say. The spread of scenarios is too huge,” Woodhouse said on Monday.

“At this stage, it's most likely that the race will begin with some kind of south or south-westerly wind, and during the race, probably we will see some rain and some thunderstorms.

“There's significant uncertainty, and with that prospect of a potential low pressure system, somewhere over the Tasman Sea.

“What we'll see at the moment, for at least the next few days, is quite a bit of movement in some of those forecasts. And we'll start to narrow that down during the weekend.”

For every boat in the 100-plus strong fleet, the huge question mark over the forecast calls for a busy time in the coming days for the navigators to be prepared for anything.

For the David Witt-skippered Dovell 100, SHK Scallywag, the situation could well vindicate the decision to have two navigators on board – Juan Vila and Chris Wild.

The Hong Kong registered boat is one of four maxi yachts in this year’s race in which they are traditionally the Line Honours favourites. The other maxis are the defending Line Honours champion Andoo Comanche, along with LawConnect and the new Wild Thing 100.

Asked about the decision to have two navigators on SHK Scallywag, Wild said: “Navigation is a little bit like a department than a role. There’re multiple facets to it, especially on a maxi.

“With [uncertain] conditions, it’s a good call to have that capability, especially for the second half of the race.

“You do a lot of planning before you leave and then you get to stay on your toes in the second half of the race.”

Adrienne Cahalan, navigator of the Phillip Turner owned and Duncan Hine skippered Reichel/Pugh 66 Alive, said: “We will really have to look at all the different scenarios, including some of the worst ones.

“I can't really think of a year when it's been, you know, so much rain, so much moisture, and so much uncertainty in the forecast.

Alice Parker, navigator of the Reichel/Pugh 72 URM Group, said of the BOM forecast: “It's such a moving picture.

“I find it a little bit exciting when the forecast is this uncertain because anything can happen and there'll be opportunities for little boats and opportunities for big boats.”

Kathy Veel, owner/co-skipper with Bridget Canham of Currawong 30 Currawong said that for the race in the Two-Handed division, she was not overly concerned about the uncertainty.

With Currawong being last to finish last year, Veel is used to handling numerous systems.

“I made a point really of not looking too closely at the weather until a couple of days out, because you can't control it, you're not going to change it,” Veel said.

“There's a lot of other things to worry about. So why worry about the weather a week out?”

David Henry, owner/co-skipper and navigator of the two-handed entry, the Sydney 36, Philosopher, is also preparing for the long haul.

“The only thing we definitely know at this stage is we don't know. I'm just hoping for more good news at the end,” he said.

“We don't have one weather system to worry about, we probably have at least two weather systems to get through.

“We have double trouble when it comes to trying to predict what the weather is going to be.

“What we see on Boxing Day is one weather pattern. A day or so after that, we're looking further down the track, because we'll probably take three or four days to get there.”

Published in Sydney to Hobart
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