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Ragamuffin Second in Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Day 3 Video Here

29th December 2015

Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark’s maxi Comanche (USA) pulled off an incredible feat last night taking line honours in the 71st edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and winning the Illingworth trophy.

As dawn broke, Syd Fisher’s Ragamuffin 100 trailed the American speedster Rambler 88, with both less than ten nautical miles to race up the Derwent River to the finish line in Hobart.

The boats traded gybes in extremely light air conditions, each tactical call critical as the navigators and tacticians sought to eek out the advantage they needed to claim second place in the 71st Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Just four hundred metres from the finish, Rambler 88 tactician Brad Butterworth made the call to gybe in towards shore and Ragamuffin 100 elected not to follow, continuing on starboard gybe.

The Australian maxi then sailed into a hole slowing considerably, and Rambler 88’s inshore call seemed promising. But shortly after a light northerly breeze filled in and reached Ragamuffin100 first, allowing it to pull ahead of George David’s silver maxi, and cross the line just over four minutes ahead. Providing an exciting turn of events for the Australian home crowd who were out in the thousands to watch the yachts finish.

It was a great end for Ragamuffin 100’s owner, iconic sailing legend Syd Fisher, competing in his 47th Rolex Sydney Hobart Race and who, at 88 years, is the oldest person to ever compete in the race.

For Rambler 88 the severe conditions weren’t the real challenge, it was the light stuff that ultimately tripped them up. Dockside, owner/skipper George David recalled, “Yesterday morning we were in the hunt to win the race. We got through all the bad stuff, with effectively no damage, though we did damage both dagger boards. The boat held together extremely well in harsh conditions, and we were pleased with that.

“Everything’s great, then all of a sudden the blower shuts off…no wind. At one point we were 60 miles ahead of Ragamuffin and we watched them kind of compress and we sat there with no wind for a long time.” That said, David seemed to revel in the boat and his crew’s performance and was quick to concur that Rambler 88 might make a return appearance in Sydney.

One of the world’s classic ocean races, the Rolex Sydney Hobart attracts amateurs and world-class professionals alike. As America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race veteran, and Rambler 88 bowman Jerry Kirby put it: “It’s a very Australian event. You get here and everybody’s into it. The first night out it was wild, but we transitioned really well. We saw upwards of 40 knots…with two reefs and a staysail, we were flying!”

Best known for his single-handed sailing prowess, Italian Giovanni Soldini on the 70-footer Maserati, seemed to easily adapt to racing with a full crew onboard, one of whom included Pierre Casiraghi from the royal family of Monaco. Another close finish brought Rupert Henry’s Chinese Whisper, and Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban, across the line within eleven minutes of each other.

For the remaining 70 boats yet to finish, it will require both tactics and a bit of luck, with the forecast calling for the wind to lighten considerably overnight – which should give an advantage to any boats that can get to Hobart tonight. Meanwhile, the suspense continues as friends and fans await the next arrivals.

Published in Sydney to Hobart
Afloat.ie Team

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The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is an annual offshore yacht racing event with an increasingly international exposure attracting super maxi yachts and entries from around tne world. It is hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, starting in Sydney, New South Wales on Boxing Day and finishing in Hobart, Tasmania. The race distance is approximately 630 nautical miles (1,170 km).

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - FAQs

The number of Sydney Hobart Yacht Races held by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia since 1945 is 75

6,257 completed the Sydney Hobart Yacht race, 1036 retired or were disqualified)

About 60,061 sailors have competed in the Sydney Hobart Race between 1945 and 2019

Largest fleets: 371 starters in the 50th race in 1994 (309 finished); 154 starters in 1987 (146 finished); 179 starters in 1985 (145 finished); 151 starters in 1984 (46 finished); 173 started in 1983 (128 finished); 159 started in 1981 (143 finished); 147 started in 1979 (142 finished); 157 started in 2019 (154 finished)

116 in 2004 (59 finished); 117 in 2014 (103 finished); 157 in 2019 (154 finished)

Nine starters in the inaugural Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in 1945

In 2015 and 2017 there were 27, including the 12 Clipper yachts (11 in 2017). In the record entry of 371 yachts in the 50th in 1994, there were 24 internationals

Rani, Captain John Illingworth RN (UK). Design: Barber 35’ cutter. Line and handicap winner

157 starters, 154 finishers (3 retirements)

IRC Overall: Ichi Ban, a TP52 owned by Matt Allen, NSW. Last year’s line honours winner: Comanche, Verdier Yacht Design and VPLP (FRA) owned by Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant, in 1 day 18 hours, 30 minutes, 24 seconds. Just 1hour 58min 32secs separated the five super maxis at the finish 

1 day 9 hours 15 minutes and 24 seconds, set in 2017 by LDV Comanche after Wild Oats XI was penalised one hour in port/starboard incident for a finish time of 1d 9h 48m 50s

The oldest ever sailor was Syd Fischer (88 years, 2015).

As a baby, Raud O'Brien did his first of some six Sydney Hobarts on his parent's Wraith of Odin (sic). As a veteran at three, Raud broke his arm when he fell off the companionway steps whilst feeding biscuits to the crew on watch Sophie Tasker sailed the 1978 race as a four-year-old on her father’s yacht Siska, which was not an official starter due to not meeting requirements of the CYCA. Sophie raced to Hobart in 1979, 1982 and 1983.

Quite a number of teenage boys and girls have sailed with their fathers and mothers, including Tasmanian Ken Gourlay’s 14-year-old son who sailed on Kismet in 1957. A 12-year-old boy, Travis Foley, sailed in the fatal 1998 race aboard Aspect Computing, which won PHS overall.

In 1978, the Brooker family sailed aboard their yacht Touchwood – parents Doug and Val and their children, Peter (13), Jacqueline (10), Kathryne (8) and Donald (6). Since 1999, the CYCA has set an age limit of 18 for competitors

Jane (‘Jenny’) Tate, from Hobart, sailed with her husband Horrie aboard Active in the 1946 Race, as did Dagmar O’Brien with her husband, Dr Brian (‘Mick’) O’Brien aboard Connella. Unfortunately, Connella was forced to retire in Bass Strait, but Active made it to the finish. The Jane Tate Memorial Trophy is presented each year to the first female skipper to finish the race

In 2019, Bill Barry-Cotter brought Katwinchar, built in 1904, back to the start line. She had competed with a previous owner in 1951. It is believed she is the oldest yacht to compete. According to CYCA life member and historian Alan Campbell, more than 31 yachts built before 1938 have competed in the race, including line honours winners Morna/Kurrewa IV (the same boat, renamed) and Astor, which were built in the 1920s.

Bruce Farr/Farr Yacht Design (NZL/USA) – can claim 20 overall wins from 1976 (with Piccolo) up to and including 2015 (with Balance)

Screw Loose (1979) – LOA 9.2m (30ft); Zeus II (1981) LOA 9.2m

TKlinger, NSW (1978) – LOA 8.23m (27ft)

Wild Oats XI (2012) – LOA 30.48m (100ft). Wild Oats XI had previously held the record in 2005 when she was 30m (98ft)

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