Hobart warm-up

A preview to the Rolex Trophy Rating Series that kicks off tomorrow

Wednesday December 17th 2008, Author: Lisa Ratcliff, Location: United Kingdom
19 of the 104 boats competing in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart will fine tune for the Boxing Day classic when the final shakedown, the Rolex Trophy Rating Series, kicks off tomorrow outside Sydney Heads.

Eight short course races sailed over four days, Thursday 18-Sunday 21, will give those entered in the Rating Series, a chance to tighten up their crew work and iron out any wrinkles before the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart on 26 December.

Bruce Taylor’s Victorian IRC 40 Chutzpah will join a largely NSW based fleet including Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin and Graeme Wood’s Wot Now. The two TP52s enjoyed a close match up in the recent MHYC Short Ocean Racing Championship with Wood ultimately tying up that series. Fischer has the Rolex Sydney Hobart results on the board with his second overall last year and the Rolex Trophy should be another hard-fought contest between the two like boats.

Geoff Boettcher’s Reichel/Pugh 47 Secret Mens Business 3 made its debut in the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race in July and has once again set off from his home port of Adelaide to contest the northern regattas including the Rolex Trophy and ultimately the Rolex Sydney Hobart.

This year the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia has introduced a new Passage Series to the Rolex Trophy, two passage races of approximately 19-25 nautical miles each starting in Sydney Harbour near Shark Island at 10am on both Saturday and Sunday.

“The new Passage Series accommodates boats that are not well suited to around the buoys sailing and prefer longer course racing. It’s a great opportunity to test boats and crew before the Rolex Sydney Hobart,” said sailing manager Justine Kirkjian today.

The larger boats have voted in favour of the passage racing with Grant Wharington’s 30m Skandia and Andrew Short’s 80-footer ASM Shockwave 5 on the starter’s list of 10. Peter Harburg’s Queensland Reichel/Pugh 66 Black Jack will take the opportunity to mix up both the short course racing on Friday and Saturday and the weekend IRC-rated passage racing.

The forecast for tomorrow is light morning breezes building to 10-15 knots NW/NE in the afternoon.

The first windward/leeward race kicks off at 11am.

Rolex Trophy – Rating Series
Thursday 18, Friday 19, Saturday 20, Sunday 21 December 2008.
The IRC rated classes will race over four days in the Rating Series, with eight windward-leeward races scheduled off Sydney Heads. Racing will commence at 11am each day. A media boat is available for Friday,

Rolex Trophy – Passage Series
Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 December 2008
The Passage Series will run over two days, Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 of December, and will consist of two offshore passage races – one race per day starting at 10am both days near Shark Island in Sydney Harbour.

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