One week left
So far a fleet of 78 has been nominated for the 65th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race including five 100 and two 98 foot maxis vying for line honours, with plenty of race regulars such as AFR Midnight Rambler, Ragamuffin, Yendys and last year’s overall winner Quest, and several first timers ready to try their luck in the blue water classic that starts at 1pm on Saturday 26 December.
Robert Oatley’s Reichel Pugh-designed Wild Oats XI, which claimed an historic fourth successive line honours win last year, has today emerged from its shed at Woolwich Dock. The yacht has been lengthened to the maximum length overall limit of 100 feet and undergone other top secret modifications that put her in pole position to claim a fifth successive line honours win. Wild Oats XI will make her 100 foot racing debut in the CYCA’s Cabbage Tree Island Race on Friday 7 November starting at 8pm AEST.
International interest is again high with a total of 12 overseas yachts representing the UK, USA, New Zealand, Spain, New Caledonia and the Netherlands. Last year’s race attracted 13 overseas entries. Five yachts will represent the United Kingdom including three yachts crewed by members of Her Majesty’s armed forces.
Adventurer of Hornet (Navy), Challenger of Hornet (Army) and Discoverer of Hornet (Air Force) are Challenge 67 foot yachts that were manufactured in the early 1990s for Chay Blyth’s British Steel Challenge and BT Global Challenge ocean racing events. The UK Ministry of Defence acquired four of the Challenge 67 yachts to enable the Services to undertake ocean voyages. The Rolex Sydney Hobart is the sixth race in a thirteen stage sail training ‘Exercise TRANSGLOBE’ that commenced in July.
Either Adventurer, Challenger or Discoverer of Hornet will take home some special race silverware – the Oggin Cup – the trophy awarded to the armed services crew which finishes first on corrected time in the Rolex Sydney Hobart. It has been won by UK servicemen twice before and with no entry received from any other defence force crewed yacht, the Oggin Cup again looks set to be claimed by the Poms – just like the Ashes before it. The only thing left to determine is which division of the armed forces is the strongest.
Every Australian state is represented on the application for entry list with the number of Tasmanian entries up on last year, currently seven from the Apple Isle.
Applications for entry close next Monday 2 November 2009 at 1700hours AEST.