Maxi boat line-up

CYCA's Big Boat Challenge gets underway in Sydney Harbour tomorrow

Monday December 11th 2006, Author: Lisa Ratcliff, Location: Australasia
After pulling into Eden yesterday to avoid strong headwinds, Grant Wharington’s Victorian maxi Skandia will this afternoon leave the coastal port and sail overnight to arrive in Sydney in time for tomorrow’s CYCA Big Boat Challenge.

Skandia left Melbourne on Thursday 7 December for the delivery to Sydney and was due into Sydney Harbour yesterday. With the prospect of having to bash into a strong nor’easter, the crew decided to seek shelter in Eden yesterday and overnight. With a southerly due late this afternoon, the 30m maxi should have no problem meeting tomorrow’s deadline.

Nick Moloney, watch captain on Skandia who spoke on behalf of the boat at today’s preview press conference, agreed that while tomorrow’s race is largely a fun race, he said it was still important for practicing tight manoeuvres and for the newly modified Skandia, it will give them an opportunity to test their straight line speed against their Rolex Sydney Hobart line honours rivals.

“There will a reasonable level of mayhem getting the big boats around the tight course tomorrow, the plan is to stay out of trouble,” said Moloney. “It is going to be awesome having such a fleet in Sydney Harbour, the cream of the crop.”

Tomorrow’s forecast is for S/SE winds of 25/33 knots early, turning southeast and easing to 10/15 knots by the evening. With 18 yachts on the start line tomorrow, Tuesday 12 December, there should be plenty of on water action for spectator craft and those taking advantage of the many spectator vantage points around the foreshore.

Skandia and Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI will meet tomorrow for the first time since their last encounter in last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart.

Missing from the Hobart line up tomorrow however will be Charles St Clair Brown and Bill Buckley’s New Zealand 30m maxi Maximus which is due to arrive into Sydney by ship this Wednesday, 13 December. After being unloaded, Maximus will on Thursday head to Woolwich Dock to be reassembled. She is not due to be re-launched until December 20 or 21, just five days out from the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart.

Matt Allen, fresh from his Farr 40 overall win in the Rolex Trophy One Design Series which finished yesterday, is returning to his Rolex Sydney Hobart preparations with his modified Volvo Open 70 Ichi Ban and will contest tomorrow’s Big Boat Challenge .

The first time the two Volvo 70s, one modified, will meet will be on the Boxing Day start line with the Dutch Volvo 70 ABN AMRO arriving into Sydney just over a week ago and its high profile race crew not jetting in until just prior to Boxing Day.

Other Rolex Sydney Hobart starters in tomorrow’s entry list include Peter Goldsworthy’s Volvo 60 Getaway-Sailing.com, Kookaburra Challenges’ Volvo 60 DHL, Stephen Ainsworth’s Reichel/Pugh 60 Loki, which is being touted as a definite chance for an overall win in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, and Graeme Wood’s Nelson/Marek 52 Wot Yot.

Other entries in the fleet of 18 include Bob Oatley’s Reichel/Pugh 66 Wild Oats X, the predecessor to his current 30m champion, which will be steered by America’s Cup helmsman Iain Murray who will step up to the larger Wild Oats XI on 26 December.

For the crew of Wild Oats XI, which achieved the treble of line honours, an overall win and a new race record in the 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart, the Big Boat Challenge will mark the start of the boat’s defence preparation. Two days later they will roll into the Rolex Trophy Rating Series to be sailed off Sydney Heads from 14-17 December 2006.

Steven David’s Wild Joe, Colin O’Neil’s Aftershock, Denis O’Neil’s Atomic, Martin James’ Infinity III and Richard Cawse’s Vanguard will also be amongst tomorrow’s starters.

The Big Boat Challenge provides a rare opportunity for Australia’s largest ocean racing yachts to flex their muscles around one of the world’s most beautiful harbours without the limitations of having to manoeuvre around a large fleet that usually includes much smaller and slower boats.

For the second time in the event’s 12 year history, the race committee will on the day select from two 14 mile courses around Sydney Harbour to ensure a windward start.

The Big Boat Challenge, one of Sydney’s most spectacular sporting and harbour events, will start off Steele Point, Vaucluse, at 12.30pm on Tuesday 12 December and will take the fleet twice around Sydney Harbour, passing many of Sydney’s famous landmarks including Fort Denison, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and the Opera House, the finish point.

Line-up

Sail No Yacht Owner/Skipper IRC PHS
1 884 Aftershock Colin O'Neil 1.396
2 2 Atomic Denis O'Neil 1.4643
3 NOR 2 Getaway Sailing.com Peter Goldsworthy 1.4192
4 601 Ginger Leslie Green 1.344
5 AUS 03 Ichi Ban Matt Allen 1.588
6 5474 Infinity III Martin James 1.3295
7 60000 Loki Stephen Ainsworth 1.404
8 6070 Sydney Charles Curran - 1.3306
9 6377 Vanguard Richard Cawse 1.404
10 7001 Wild Oats X Sandy Oatley ?
11 10001 Wild Oats XI Bob Oatley ?
12 6952 Wot Yot Graeme Wood 1.4782
13 A99 Xena Sean Langman 1.5081
14 SYD 222 You're Hired Goeff Morgan & Andrew Banks 1.372

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