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Displaying items by tag: Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

With his fifth win of the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race’s prized Tattersall Cup for overall victory – with the most recent wins being three in a row with Matt Allen’s TP52 Ichi Ban – ex-Pat Howth sailor Gordon Maguire has confirmed his position as one of Australia’s most accomplished offshore racer. His apparently easy-going demeanour disguises a will of steel when it comes to getting the best performance out of a boat, such that he is renowned for instinctively sensing the slightest change in wind conditions a nano-second before the electronic instruments give any indication.

He sailed the 2021 Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race with the added emotions of having mourned - along with all the Irish sailing community - the death a fortnight ago at the age of 95 of his much-loved father Neville, an equally accomplished sailor, and this makes the 2021 win - coming as it does a clear 30 years after his first Sydney-Hobart race overall victory – something very special indeed.

Published in Sailor of the Month

When Gordon Maguire of Howth won his first Sydney-Hobart Race in 1991 helming Atara with Cork’s Harold Cudmore as skipper, he can scarcely have dreamed that thirty years later, he would proudly be holding the coveted Tattersall Cup for the overall winner for the fifth (or may be it’s the sixth) time, for he also had overall success with Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki.

Yet today (Friday, December 31st) it came true. In the Hobart summer sunshine, he and owner-skipper Matt Allen shared that rare experience in a very special moment of camaraderie which spoke volumes of how their dynamic interaction made the Botin/TP 52 Ichi Ban into one of the most all-round successful offshore racers in the world. And coming just a fortnight after he was grieving the death of his remarkable and equally-talented 95-year-old father Neville Maguire, it was a time of heightened emotions for one of the finest sailors Ireland has ever produced.

Published in Sydney to Hobart

Matt Allen’s Botin/TP 52 Ichi Ban, with Gordon Maguire of Howth as Sailing Master and a crew including Sean O’Rourke and Dublin-born Noel Drennan, has received the benefit of a remarkable reversal of fortune in the current Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, with her apparent loss of overall first place by three minutes to Sam Haynes’ lower-rated TP 52 Celestial being reversed by the Race Committee following Protest Committee findings on a situation which involved Celestial being out of VHF contact for 90 minutes.

The Federal Transport Authorities take safety very seriously in Australian offshore racing, following the six deaths in the storm-tossed 1998 Sydney-Hobart Race. Thus while youth offshore is often encouraged elsewhere, in Australia you have to be at least 18 years old to take part in a major offshore race. And continuous VHF watch is mandatory, mainly in order to prevent unnecessary SAR moblisation when a PLB alarm is accidentally activated.

Thus when Celestial proved to be uncontactable when this happened, it had inevitable after-effects. When Ichi Ban was made aware that the relatively close Celestial appeared to be having difficulty, she diverted for a few minutes, and has consequently been compensated by three minutes by the Committee.

But more severely, Celestial herself has been penalised by 40 minutes, which pushes her completely out of contention and leaves Ichi Ban as overall winner unless Sean Kearns little S & S 34 Azzuro can sail the final 30 miles to Hobart through the calm of the night at a freakish speed.

For Celestial’s crew, it’s a cruel outcome. Yet there’s no denying that Ichi Ban lost time by going out of her way to see if help was needed, and to alert them to their contact failure. And in fact, in looking at the demeanour of Celestial’s crew in Hobart after the finish, with the Protest Meeting in the formal board-room of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania looming on their personal horizon, you sense they knew they were in trouble.

Part of the trouble is that the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race is such a high profile event, because it is in the middle of the Christmas/New Year holidays and maximum attention. Following on from that, the slightest perceived cutting of any slack in the very stringent safety requirements by the race authorities is simply not something to be contemplated at all.

Read the protest and decision here

Published in Sydney to Hobart

Matt Allen’s TP 52 Ichi Ban, with Gordon Maguire as Sailing Master, was first of all the TP 52s into the finish of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 2021 at 4:45:29 pm local time December 29th. But as she had only managed to open out an on-the-water lead of 17 minutes on Sam Haynes’s TP 52 Celestial, the slightly lower-rated Celestial currently holds the Best Corrected Time of all the finished boats, albeit by just three minutes from Ichi Ban which is now unassailably the winner of Class 0.

The current state of play is in full detail here, meanwhile, Gordon Maguire has given his own philosophical take on an extremely close outcome in this post-race interview 

However, at 10.0pm in Hobart, it was revealed that two protests had been lodged against Celestial for non-compliance with communications requirements, one by the Race Committee and the other by Ichi Ban, which might affect the final results. Meanwhile, out at sea, there’s still all too play for in the overall stakes, as new weather patterns and good progress by the smaller boats show that the current projected overall leader and potential winner of the Tattersall Cup is one of the smallest boats in the race, the S&S 34 White Bay Azzuro (Sean Kearns) whose sailing master is Jim Nixon. He is doing his 27th Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, but it turns out that he maintains strong links with his Kildare and Blessington ancestry, and is the proud possessor of an Irish passport.

The S & S 34 Azzuro currently leads theSydney-Hobart Race on projected time. Sailin Master Jim Nixon - proud possessor of an Irish passport) is doing his 27th Hobart RaceThe S & S 34 Azzuro currently leads theSydney-Hobart Race on projected time. Sailin Master Jim Nixon - proud possessor of an Irish passport) is doing his 27th Hobart Race

Published in Sydney to Hobart

The Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race must be one of the most intensely-analysed offshore racing events in the world, providing four or five days of close-fought competition to be looked at every which way while the Northern Hemisphere is largely in a state of hibernation reinforced by post-Christmas torpor. Yet somewhere in the midst of all the pre-race predictions, at least one pundit was heard suggesting - when the last pre-race weather forecast was posted - that there was no way anyone was going to get anywhere near the record, and the best the leading Super Maxi could hope to do was finish in the usual overnight calm at Hobart around 0200hrs on the morning of Wednesday, December 29th East Australian Time.

The 30.5 metre (100 foot) maxi yacht Black Jack, owned by Peter Harburg and skippered by Mark Bradford, secured Line Honours at the 76th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht RaceThe 30.5 metre (100 foot) maxi yacht Black Jack, owned by Peter Harburg and skippered by Mark Bradford, secured Line Honours at the 76th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

Christian Beck’s LawConnect held the lead on the water more than one occasionChristian Beck’s LawConnect held the lead on the water more than one occasion

SHK Scallywag 100 was the third maxi to finish the 76th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht RaceSHK Scallywag 100 was the third maxi to finish the 76th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

Well, failure is an orphan but success has many fathers. So doubtless there’ll be dozens who’ll claim they said it, though for the life of me at the moment I can’t remember who it actually was. But as Peter Harburg's RP100 Black Jack crossed the line in the usual Hobart overnight calm at 01:37:17 on Wednesday, December 29th AT, somebody must be giving himself or herself a pat on the back, knowing that whatever others may claim, it was they who predicted it.

Black Jack approaches Tasman Island, the southernmost point of the 628nm courseBlack Jack approaches Tasman Island, the southernmost point of the 628nm course

The other Super Maxis LawConnect (Christian Beck) and SHK Scallywag (Seng Huang Lee, Hong Kong) also finished in the dark, but Black Jack stays ahead of them on corrected time. However, as the Race Tracker reveals, just under a hundred miles from the finish the three TP 52s Smuggler, Ichi Ban and Celestial seem glued together as they shape up for the hopefully stronger daylight winds of Tasmania, and the possibility of a reasonably brisk fiinish with the last of the evening breeze into the Derwent River, an outcome which would set the first of the trio in a good place for the overall win.

As often as not Smuggler (Sebastian Bohm) and Celestial (Sam Hynes) have been ahead of Ichi Ban, the defending champion, during the racing down from Sydney. But as we enter the End Game, there’s a feeling that the Matt Allen/Gordon Maguire team on Ichi Ban are like the seemingly sleeping cat, apparently immobile at the foot of the apple tree while some tuneful bird is singing merrily on the top branch. Quicker than the eye can see, the cat is on the top branch, and all is silence as a few tiny feathers float away on the breeze.

Line Honours presentation (L-R) Mr. Benoit Falletti (Rolex Australia), Peter Harburg (Owner Black Jack) and Mark Bradford (Skipper Black Jack)Line Honours presentation (L-R) Mr. Benoit Falletti (Rolex Australia), Peter Harburg (Owner Black Jack) and Mark Bradford (Skipper Black Jack)

Published in Sydney to Hobart

The south-going East Australia Current off the coast of New South Wales can vary in its strength. But if there’s power in it at its strongest streams about ten miles and more offshore, even a moderate to fresh southerly wind can kick up steep enough seas to make the going decidedly rugged for boats and crew racing the annual 628-mile Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race.

All this is added to the strong possibility of Yuletide over-indulgence the day before the start and that - plus the fact that COVID-10 saw the race completely cancelled in 2020 – leads us to the feeling that a slight amount of personnel rustiness resulted in the description of the first stage as being “a wild night at sea”.

By comparison with the truly hairy first night of last August’s Fastnet Race, it was only a brisk thrash to windward. But if there hadn’t been some breakages and retirals, the conclusion would have been that the fleet is significantly over-strength – and therefore over-weight - in terms of hull build and rig configuration. So in the particular circumstances of the continuing 2021 race, the rate of retirement is more or less at the level you’d reasonably expect.

As a mainly straight line course, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race may seem an uncomplicated affair……..As a mainly straight line course, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race may seem an uncomplicated affair……..

………but underlying factors like the varying East Australian Current add to its challenges………but underlying factors like the varying East Australian Current add to its challenges

That said, the going was tough enough, and the tough got going, with Ireland well represented in the quality rather than the quantity stakes. Mark Mills designs - which have emanated from the rural depths of County Wicklow - have been having their moments at the front of the fleet, and aboard Matt Allen’s Botin 52 Ichi Ban – a sort of turbo-charged TP52 which is the lowest-rated boat in Class 0 and defending overall champion - Sailing Master Gordon Maguire was with a crew which sought out the best that the East Australian Current could offer, as they slugged further eastward than virtually all of the rest of the fleet.

They may have overdone it slightly in the earlier stages of the race, for as the boats came together again approaching Australia’s southeast corner of Cape Howe, the slightly lower-rated TP 52 Celestial (Sam Haynes) was marginally ahead after holding slightly more closely to the Australian coast. And another TP 52 – Sebastien Bohm’s Smuggler – is also close there in the mix. But in recent hours in crossing the Bass Strait and still going very much to windward - though in lighter breezes – Ichi Ban has been showing ahead on calculated places.

Christian Beck’s Juan K-designed super-maxi Law Connect is now vying with Peter Harburg’s Blackjack for the line honours lead. Photo: Andre FrancoliniChristian Beck’s Juan K-designed super-maxi Law Connect is now vying with Peter Harburg’s Blackjack for the line honours lead. Photo: Andre Francolini

In fact, so intense is the continuing analysis of this race that the calculated leader changes almost by the minute, and though Ichi Ban has only got as far up the rankings as third overall in IRC, she has been comfortably in the lead in Class 0 for some time.

The race tracker reveals the changing situation as the slackening wind draws slightly more off the Tasmanian coast, with dawn coming up to reveal Peter Harburg’s 100ft Blackjack and Christian Beck’s super-maxi Law Connect in contention for the line honours lead, though with 200 miles still to sail. However, the combination of an offshore wind with slackening strength makes the likelihood of a lottery-style driftathon final leg up the Derwent River to the Hobart waterfront finish line all the more likely, and as it is, speeds have been right down at various stages through the Australian night.

There is still a long way to go, and plenty of time for the little boats to stake their claim as a new breeze finally settles in.

Clearing the tanks before the start…... As the defending champion, Ichi Ban received much attention before the start from the circling helicopters, and they weren’t even allowed a minute’s peace for essential business……..Clearing the tanks before the start…... As the defending champion, Ichi Ban received much attention before the start from the circling helicopters, and they weren’t even allowed a minute’s peace for essential business……..

Published in Sydney to Hobart

The toll of strong southerly winds and rough seas on the first night of the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race continued to mount, with 24 boats forced to retire by this morning.

A thrilling see-saw battle was still developing for Line Honours in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's 628 nautical mile race between the first four boats, including the three 100-foot maxis.

Heading down the NSW coast, Peter Harburg's Reichel/Pugh 100 Black Jack was leading. After spending most of the night sailing inside the rhumb line, Black Jack later moved outside it for the wind and current.

In second place was Christian Beck's LawConnect, which was the first to pass the Green Cape Lighthouse, followed by the David Witt-skippered SHK Scallywag 100 further out to sea.

Retirements: Moneypenny (broken forestay), Blink (torn main), Mako (damaged main), URM (damaged main), Hip-Nautic (damaged main), TSA Management (damaged main), No Limit (crew with dislocated shoulder), Minerva (damaged main), Mille Sabords (damaged main), Nautical Circle (rigging issues), White Noise (window damage), Zen (minor injury), Gweilo (damaged forestay), Eora (broken backstay), Ariel (damaged main), Oskana (broken forestay), Enchantress (broken forestay), Denali (hull damage), OzDesign Patrice Six (engine issues), Philosopher (engine issues), Huntress (TBC), Extasea (engine issues), Alive (hull damage) and Kayimai (electrical issues).

Race Tracker here

Published in Sydney to Hobart

For many years now, the annual 628-mile Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race on 26th December has played a special role in reviving the mid-winter spirits of the dark and gloomy Northern Hemisphere, with the glitzy sunlit start out of one of the world’s most spectacular natural harbours providing a real tonic. And nowhere is this cheering-up more so than in Ireland where – ever since the Irish team’s victory in the 1991 Southern Cross Series, completed by our lead boat Atara’s overall win in the Hobart Race itself – we’ve looked on it with a certain proprietorial pride, as Atara’s win was achieved with Harold Cudmore of Cork and Gordon Maguire of Howth in the key roles.

Thus it was thirty years ago that Gordon Maguire’s very fulfilling Australia-based professional sailing career was finally properly launched, and since then he has done another 29 Hobart Races - in addition to may other top international events worldwide - such that for 2021’s race, he’s already looking at a scorecard of four overall wins, all of which were a source of enormous satisfaction for his recently-deceased father, the great Neville Maguire

Gordon Maguire in Hobart in December 2019 as it became increasingly clear that Ichi Ban was going to retain her second Sydney-Hobart overall win. Photo: Judith MalcolmGordon Maguire in Hobart in December 2019 as it became increasingly clear that Ichi Ban was going to retain her second Sydney-Hobart overall win. Photo: Judith Malcolm

And if Gordon’s 2021 mount, Matt Allen’s Botin 52 Ichi Ban, does the business this time round, it will be three times in a row for the Allen-Maguire team, an extraordinary achievement in a race in which all the very finest resources of Australia’s top offshore boats and crews are focused in a no-expenses-spared blitz of sailing over a tricky 628-mile course.

Even by these high standards, 2021 will be extra-special, as the 2020 race couldn’t be sailed because of the pandemic. And as it is, the pandemic compliance requirements have involved rigorous implementation, as the total ban on travel to Tasmania was lifted only as recently as December 15th, with the Hobart authorities determined to keep things under control.

The Botin 52 Ichi Ban is currently one of the world’s most successful offshore racersThe Botin 52 Ichi Ban is currently one of the world’s most successful offshore racers

That said, the healthy stagings of the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race in June, the Fastnet Race in August and the Middle Sea Race in October have shown that, even with a big fleet, proper offshore racing is probably one of the healthiest group activities in which you could hope to be involved when there’s a pandemic ashore. In such circumstances, you’d have naturally anticipated that the Sydney Harbour weather would be its usually obligingly sunny mid-summer self for the start. But maybe not. Apparently, the situation is fluid and may be extremely fluid with thunderstorms around Sydney on Sunday and a possibility of a period of strong southerly winds.

This simply isn’t fair, as they’ve had some wonderful weather for December’s buildup towards the Hobart Race, with classic Sydney Harbour sunshine for both the Classics Regatta and the SOLAS Big Boat Race.

Sydney Harbour as it should be in the southern summer, with the Dovell 100 Scallywag leading this month’s Solas Big Boat Challenge. Photo: FrancoliniSydney Harbour as it should be in the southern summer, with the Dovell 100 Scallywag leading this month’s Solas Big Boat Challenge. Photo: Francolini

Dave Griffith’s JV 62 Whisper was overall winner of the Solas Big Boat Challenge and is another fancied entrant for the Hobart race. Photo:FrancoliniDave Griffith’s JV 62 Whisper was overall winner of the Solas Big Boat Challenge and is another fancied entrant for the Hobart race. Photo:Francolini

The 1948 Robert Clark-designed Caprice of Huon racing in this month’s Sydney Classics Regatta, part of the buildup to the Hobart RaceThe 1948 Robert Clark-designed Caprice of Huon racing in this month’s Sydney Classics Regatta, part of the buildup to the Hobart Race

Caprice of Huon slicing through Cowes Roads under the command of Australia’s Gordon Ingate in 1965, when she was the most successful boat in Cowes Week and a star of the Admirals Cup seriesCaprice of Huon slicing through Cowes Roads under the command of Australia’s Gordon Ingate in 1965, when she was the most successful boat in Cowes Week and a star of the Admirals Cup series

But Australian weather having a tendency to be OTT, their thunderstorms can be like multiples of thunderstorms elsewhere, with downpours to the power of 10. But who knows, it could well be they end up on the other side of an expected trough, which will put an entirely different light on the weather.

In that case, “light” will equally be applied to the wind, and it’s only later that a fresher easterly might arrive. If this is so, the smaller boats in the 89-boat fleet will be favoured, with some pundits plumping for the vintage Australian-version of the S&S 34 in the form of Crux (Carlos Aydos, the last S&S 34 ever built) and White Bay 6 Azzuro (Shane Kearns).

The S&S 34 has been held in special regard in Australia ever since Ted Heath’s first boat, the S&S 34 Morning Cloud, won the 1969 Sydney-Hobart Race with some absolutely brilliant strategic and tactical calls from the navigator, the late Anthony Churchill.

If light winds persist in the early stages, and the breeze builds when the big boats have already finished, the smallest lowest-rated entries like the Shane Kearns-owned S&S 34 Azzuro (one of the last S&S 34s to be built) will become favourites.If light winds persist in the early stages, and the breeze builds when the big boats have already finished, the smallest lowest-rated entries like the Shane Kearns-owned S&S 34 Azzuro (one of the last S&S 34s to be built) will become favourites.

Ted Heath’s Morning Cloud, one of the first S&S 34s to be built, was overall winner of the 1969 Sydney-Hobart RaceTed Heath’s Morning Cloud, one of the first S&S 34s to be built, was overall winner of the 1969 Sydney-Hobart Race

But owing to the fact that the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia do not permit the boats of the two-handed division - in which Crux is racing – to compete for the main trophy, the Tattersall Cup, all the S&S 34 betting money will be on Azzuro. She has now been up-graded to become the most souped-up S&S 34 ever seen, and she starts with an excellent record of previous successes.

Nevertheless one of the attractions of the great 600-plus mile offshore classics (in which the Round Ireland Race is included) is that they’re long enough to be ultimately unpredictable, with the Hobart Race in particular sometimes turned into a lottery by the vagaries of the winds in the Derwent River in the approaches to the finish.

The Matt Allen-Gordon Maguire combination on the 52ft Ichi Ban has proven remarkable consistent, and they’re past masters at pulling winning rabbits out of unpromising-looking hats. Theirs is a fascinating relationship, for although Matt Allen (who has done 30 Hobart Races) has shown himself well capable of success sailing as his own skipper, in the official listings for the 2021 Syndey-Hobart Race he is entered as Ichi Ban’s Owners/skipper, but Gordon Maguire is listed as Sailing Master ahead of a crew which includes the Irish Sean O’Rourke, and Dublin-born sailmaker Noel Drennan.

The 628-mile Sydney-Hobart Course as it has been sailed since the race’s foundation in 1945, when the winner was John Illingworth racing Rani. “It’s all perfectly straightforward until you reach the final stages up the Derwent River to Hobart”.The 628-mile Sydney-Hobart Course as it has been sailed since the race’s foundation in 1945, when the winner was John Illingworth racing Rani. “It’s all perfectly straightforward until you reach the final stages up the Derwent River to Hobart”.

In Australia, “Sailing Master” is a title that carries real meaning. Back in the days when the new colony was being established, the Royal Navy ships which maintained contact with England were at times nominally captained by inexperienced placemen, who were often from the aristocracy. They’d obtained their potentially very lucrative naval positions (for it could involve prize-money from captured vessels and their valuable cargoes) through influence at court or through corrupt government officials, and they were appointed despite being sometimes totally ignorant of the sea and sailing.

Consequently, each Naval ship carried a Sailing Master to keep things running smoothly and safely. Thus today the title has a real significance for Australians, as many of their ancestors would never have made it there at all were it not for the presence of competent Sailing Masters on the accompanying naval vessels for the long outward voyage.

Thus even the little Azzuro – winner of Class 7 in the 2019 race -has a Sailing Master. He’s called Jim Nixon, and this is his 26th Sydney-Hobart Race. Jim Nixon indeed…? It seems the brother has been leading a secret life. All that stuff about being totally involved in the Strangford Lough River Class and writing their Centenary history for 2021 appears to be a blind. The Christmas Day phone calls will be interesting…

Rolex Sydney-Hobart 2021 Race Tracker here

Meanwhile, a very Happy Christmas to all our readers.

Published in W M Nixon

The 76th running of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be different this year with COVID-19 restrictions in place around the world, however, organisers say it has not diminished the quality of the fleet; the chase for the Tattersall Cup as strong as it ever was and a new Two-Handed division has added a new element. This is despite the fact that some big names have bowed out of the race, as Afloat reported here.

A fleet of 89 (down from the originally forecasted 100) – representing NSW, Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia is entered for the annual 628 nautical mile race.

The only international entry is the supermaxi, Black Jack, representing Monaco.

At the fast end of the fleet are two super maxis; Christian Beck’s InfoTrack joins Peter Harburg’s Black Jack. Meanwhile, eight TP52s, among them Matt Allen’s defending champion Ichi Ban, will join others in the 50-60 feet range vying for the Tattersall Cup.

Allen, of course, will be racing with his sailing master, Howth Yacht Club's Gordon Maguire (59) who is now recognised as one of Australia’s leading all-round professional offshore/inshore keelboat skippers. 

When asked about the possibility of a three-peat, Matt Allen revealed that his team “.. quite enjoys the pressure and looks to improve the boat’s performance year-on-year.” “In that 50 – 70-foot range, we have some of the best boats in the world.”

The weather may favour the larger end of town and the pressure will be on with so many grand prix yachts in the 60-80ft band. Phil Turner’s 2018 overall winner, the RP66 Alive (Tas) will lead the charge.

Alive’s adversaries are: Grant Wharington/Paul Heyes/Adrian Seiffert/Doug Sallis’ Botin 80, Thunderstruck (former Beau Geste), Jim Cooney’s Volvo Open 70, Maserati (both will be also chasing line honours), Sean Langman’s RP69 Moneypenny, David Gotze’s RP63 Triton and David Griffith’s JV62, Whisper – all from NSW.

Conditions may favour the smaller yachts. Greg Prescott’s modified Farr 40, 2 Unlimited (Tas); Bruce Taylor’s Caprice 40, Chutzpah (Vic); Shane Kearns’ S&S34, White Bay 6 Azzurro (NSW); Shaun Tiedemann’s Sydney 36 C/R, Philosopher (Tas) and the Sydney 38s, led by Tony Levett’s TSA Management, could benefit.

A new Two-Handed division has also been added to the race, and those entered have a chance to take out the inaugural line honours trophy, along with trophies for the overall winners under IRC and PHS.

Hot to trot for the inaugural line honours trophy is Rupert Henry’s Burning Palms. The NSW yachtsman will race his J/65 with Greg O’Shea, the friend who helped him sail his former yacht to a clean sweep of IRC, PHS and AMS wins, line honours and a new race record in the 2018 Melbourne Osaka Double-Handed Yacht Race. They are the benchmark and will be formidable.

Among those vying for Two-Handed IRC honours are Wendy Tuck/Campbell Geeves with the Beneteau 34.7, Speedwell. At 9.9 metres, it is the second smallest boat in the race, but Tuck has an enviable record. The only woman on the planet to win an around the world race and one of only two to twice win the Jane Tate Memorial Trophy (awarded to the first female skipper to finish the Sydney Hobart each year), she has done 13 Sydney Hobarts.

When asked why she chose to enter the two-handed division this year, Wendy acknowledged that she likes to continuously challenge herself but would need to remember to “.. stop walking after 33 feet or otherwise I’m going to get really wet”. She stressed the importance of looking after yourself and your partner in two-handed sailing. She even made up a new word to describe sailing for hours without sleep: “Slangry – when you’re sleepy,
hungry and angry”.

Tasmania’s Rob Gough/John Saul are also highly fancied. In his heyday, Gough was a windsurfing world champion and Moth Masters world champion, has major wins on the board in the SB20 keelboat and raced to Hobart with Saul on Oskana last year. Saul was also one of only 44 finishers in the 1998 Sydney Hobart with his boat Computerland.

James Murchison’s Abracadabra, Rod Walton’s Fontana, Chris Canty’s Galaxy III and David Suttie’s Pekljus are NSW contenders for the PHS Two-Handed trophy. Queenslander Michael Lazzarini (Samurai Jack) will be keeping them honest.

“In this unusual climate we are pleased with the number and quality of the fleet,” CYCA Commodore, Noel Cornish said.

“It will be as difficult as ever to win the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and we have the new Two-Handed division, which adds another dimension to our Blue Water Classic. In 2020 we are also celebrating 75 years of women in the race and have an excellent representation across the board to mark the occasion,” the Commodore ended.

To that end, the oldest boat in the fleet, Anne Lawrence’s Solveig, adds something special.

The famous Halvorsen 36 was designed and owned by Trygve Halvorsen and built in 1950 by his brother Lars. Trygve and older brother, Magnus, raced her to Hobart five times from 1950. They took line honours in 1953 and finished second overall, then won the race in
1954.

Lawrence, a 15 Sydney Hobart race-veteran and respected navigator, has stripped the boat back and restored Solveig to her former glory.

Helping send Lawrence and the rest of the fleet on its way on Boxing Day are Vanessa ‘Duds’ Dudley and Gail Harland who will fire the five minute and 10 minute warning signals.

Dudley, a gifted helmswoman, has contested 23 Sydney Hobarts, her most recent on Wild Oats when it finished second overall in 2018. Harland has competed in 22 races as a trimmer and can claim the distinction of winning the 2003 race on First National.

Since 2003, the historic replica start cannon has been fired by someone who has won the race 50 years previously. This year that duty falls to Bruce ‘Gouldy’ Gould, who was aboard Pacha when it won in 1970. Gouldy was also aboard Vengeance for her line honours victory in 1981 and on Sovereign for the line and overall double win in 1987.

Smallest in the fleet with a budget to match, is the Army Sailing Club’s Gun Runner. At 9.2 metres, the boat is used to train its personnel and teaches the Army values of courage, initiative, respect and teamwork.

Full list of entries here.

Published in Sydney to Hobart

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 Afloat.ie, 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
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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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