First entries

Matt Allen signs up for 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race

Monday August 24th 2009, Author: Jennifer Crooks, Location: United Kingdom
Within hours of the release of the Rolex Sydney Hobart 2009 Notice of Race, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia had received its first four applications for entry, and this figure has now climbed to eight.

CYCA Commodore Matt Allen with his Jones 70 Ichi Ban was among the first entries. Ichi Ban is always well campaigned in the tough 628 nautical mile race, finishing third across the line in 2008 and 2007, and second to Wild Oats XI in 2006. This race will be Allen’s 21st race to Hobart.

A strong international fleet is expected to participate in this year’s race with the first overseas application for entry coming from the Netherlands. Owner and skipper Atse Blei will campaign his S&S 41 Pinta-M for the second year in a row with his eager crew.

“I decided to return for another crack at a real Rolex Sydney Hobart with the strong southerly fronts and the cold hard, dead of night bashes into big steep seas that we’ve heard can occur. Our strong 1972 IOR classic would revel in those conditions,” said Blei.

“Last year’s Hobart race was very enjoyable. It was a lot more tactical than the Fastnet. We had a rough night the second night. Twenty eight knots of wind and a lot of sail changes. We blew out our big spinnaker on the first night which didn’t help very much.

“In the Derwent River we were racing against fellow countryman Harry Heijst in his S&S 41 Winsome. We only had to do three miles and we had more than an hour to do them in. We had wind shifts over a hundred degrees and were constantly on the wrong side of the river. We saw our Windex go round four times. After beating all the way from the Iron Pot we actually managed to finish under spinnaker and beat Winsome by two hours,” concluded Blei.

But it was Harry Heijst who had the last laugh, as Winsome won IRC Division 4, with Pinta–M finishing third. Pinta-M has been raced successfully offshore on the North Sea and placed fifth overall in the Rolex Fastnet Race in 2005. Like the S&S 47 Love & War, which claimed overall honours in the 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart, Pinta-M performs exceptionally well upwind in a stiff breeze.

CYCA member Greg Zyner’s Radford 12m Copernicus was another of the early applications for entries. Copernicus won the 2008/09 CYCA Tasman Pointscore in her first season of racing.

“I am very proud of the boat’s performance since her launch in January 2008,” said Zyner. “She is an all Australian product built in Taree by Dillon Boatworks. The boat has gone from strength to strength winning the CYCA’s Tasman Pointscore, finishing third in the Gosford Lord Howe and starting this season with a second in division 4 in the recent Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race,” concluded Zyner.

The first interstate application for entry was received from Dr Tony Fischer and his son Rob, who will once again campaign their Adams 20 Helsal III under the burgee of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.

In last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart, Rob Fischer helmed Helsal III for his father and competed against his sister Sally Smith who skippered the Dynamique 62 Helsal IV, also owned by Dr Tony Fischer . The brother and sister rivalry played out on the race course with a bottle of Bollinger the prize for the first one to reach Hobart. Fischer had to pay his dues after Helsal III retired, and Helsal IV arrived into Constitution Dock on the morning of 30 December.

Commenting on the number of applications for entry received to date, Rear Commodore and chairman of the CYCA sailing committee Garry Linacre said “It is encouraging to see the strong number of applications received thus far. With the extension of the overall length limit from 98 to 100ft we are anticipating six maxis and a highly competitive IRC fleet vying for the Tattersall’s Cup. We also anticipate entries from many well campaigned boats entering the PHS and cruising divisions.

“The level of international interest has been strong and we anticipate overseas yachts will make up at least ten percent of the expected 90 plus fleet,” said Linacre.

Applications for entry have also been received for Syd Fischer’s TP52 Ragamuffin, John Smith’s Cavalier 350SL CHorse and the syndicate of Antony Sweetapple, Anthony Bruce and James Lee Warner’s Jones 40 Quetzalcoatl, all three representing the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia; and Ian Sanford’s Northshore 38 Ray White Castle Hill (Tartan) representing Greenwich Flying Squadron.

With the publication of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Notice of Race the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and Rolex invite applications for entry for this year’s blue water classic.

“The 628 nautical mile Rolex Sydney Hobart is renowned as one of the most significant and toughest ocean races in the world,” said CYCA Commodore Matt Allen.

“It is an iconic Australian sporting event and each year the race throws out the gauntlet of new challenges to participants.

“On behalf of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia it is my pleasure to invite owners and charterers of eligible boats to participate in the 65th running of the event which will start from Sydney Harbour at 1pm on Boxing Day, 26 December.”

The Rolex Sydney Hobart will be preceded by the Rolex Trophy to be conducted on the waters off Sydney Heads. The racing for the one design classes, including Farr 40’s and Sydney 38’s will take place between 11-13 December and the IRC and Performance Handicap boats over 17-20 December 2009. The Notice of Race for the Rolex Trophy will be published later in the year.

Rolex has been the principal sponsor of the Rolex Sydney Hobart and Rolex Trophy since 2002.

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2009 Notice of Race is now online here.

Applications for entry for the Rolex Sydney Hobart 2009 close on Monday 2 November 2009 at 1700hrs AEST.

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