Maxi out of Hobart race

Trading Network/Alye Parusa's keel problems cannot be fixed in time

Tuesday December 2nd 2008, Author: Jennifer Crooks, Location: United Kingdom
Mark McRae, Australian skipper of the Russian maxi Trading Network / Alye Parusa, admits he’s shell shocked after learning that a new keel will take 14 days to build, putting the Open 85 out of contention for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart.

“At a meeting with the keel manufacturers in Auckland yesterday I was advised that the build time is 14 days. Effectively Trading Network is out of this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart,” said McRae today. "Obviously we are all a little shell-shocked and very, very disappointed, particularly when we had such high hopes that we could get over the line. I am working with the CYCA [Cruising Yacht Club of Australia] at this very moment trying to find other options, which could mean using another yacht."

Two weeks ago the 85 footer was lifted out of the water at an Auckland boat yard and during the routine check water was found seeping from a number of cracks in the keel. Because the keel was built from a particular type of steel it couldn’t be repaired and was cut from the hull.

McRae and his team tried to fast-track a replacement keel and prior to yesterday’s devastating news they were still hopeful about their chances of meeting the tight deadline with an anticipated arrival in Sydney a week out from the start of the Boxing Day blue water classic.

“We still haven't given up here in Auckland. Of all the places in the world we would consider Auckland as the Mecca of committed workers, dedicated contactors and incredibly enthusiastic support from well-wishers. Nowhere else in the world have we seen this complete enthusiasm to get us up to the line,” McRae commented last Wednesday, the day of the official launch of the Rolex Sydney Hobart in Sydney.

McRae also acknowledged Wild Oats XI’s skipper Mark Richard’s comments from the launch regarding Trading Network / Alye Parusa being the one to break through with line honours if race conditions were to deteriorate in the 64th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Chairman of the Rolex Sydney Hobart race committee, Tim Cox, is working with McRae and the team from Trading Network / Alye Parusa to find other options for the mixed Russian and Australia crew prior to their official withdrawal from the current 107-strong starter’s list.

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