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Putting the Records Straight on the Irish Involvement in the Sydney-Hobart Race

1st January 2020
The Irish Club in Hobart – Kieran Jameson of HYC Breakthrough gets together with Jim Cooney of Comanche, Sydney-Hobart course record holder from 2017, and line honours winner again in 2019. The Irish Club in Hobart – Kieran Jameson of HYC Breakthrough gets together with Jim Cooney of Comanche, Sydney-Hobart course record holder from 2017, and line honours winner again in 2019.

Now that the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 2019 results are finalised and being channelled into the continuing statistics of this 75-year-old classic, we have got a couple of points to clarify. One of our headlines yesterday said Gordon Maguire on Ichi Ban had won overall for a second time. We meant solely on Ichi Ban. He has, of course, won four times in all, the first in 1991 sailing for Ireland on John Storey’s Farr 43 Atara as frequently mentioned in, the second in 2011 on Stephen Ainsworth’s Reichel Pugh 63 Loki.

Having won the Hobart Race at his fifth attempt, Stephen Ainsworth looked forward to being able to spend proper complete Christmasses with his family, and retired from the frontline offshore racing game, while in time Gordon Maguire linked up with Matt Allen for a long and remarkably successful racing partnership which has just reaped its latest reward with this 2019 overall win in Hobart.

lr rolex australias patrick boutellier matt allen of ichi ban and cyca commodore john markos rolex studio borlenghiPatrick Boutellier (Rolex Australia), with Ichi Ban’s owner Matt Allen (Ichi Ban) and John Markos (CYCA Commodore)

Loki meanwhile became the American-owned Lucky, and in the 2015 Transatlantic Race she’d a magnificent overall win thanks in large part to having our own Ian “Soapy” Moore as navigator/tactician – it was after that race that Lucky’s crew famously commented that having Moore on board was as good as narrowing the Atlantic by 150 miles.

But Lucky’s luck ran out in the next item on her 2015 programme, the Rolex Fastnet Race, when Soapy most emphatically wasn’t the navigator. Turning to windward west of the Needles in the early stages of the Fastnet, Lucky went on the Shingles Bank soon after the top of the tide with such vigour that she stayed there until the top of the next tide finally helped to float her off, and that was the end of Lucky’s 2015 Fastnet Race.

luc1Stephen Ainsworth’s Reichel Pugh 63 Loki brought Gordon Maguire his second Hobart Race win in 2011.

Published in Sydney to Hobart
WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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