102 for the Rolex Sydney Hobart
Applications to enter this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race have officially closed with 102 yachts nominated for the great race south and a thrilling battle for overall honours on the cards.
Organising club, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, and naming rights sponsor Rolex are delighted with the roll-up which will include legends and luminaries and plenty of newcomers as well as the regulars now synonymous with the legendary blue water race.
The CYCA anticipates a final tally of 90-95 yachts will be on the dual Sydney Harbour start line at 1pm on December 26 with the largest in the fleet launching off the front row and the rest from the second line, allowing all boats clear passage to Sydney Heads before crews knuckle down for the tough 628 nautical mile passage to Hobart.
It will be more roomy at the front of the fleet this year with two 100 footers, Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI and Sean Langman and Anthony Bell’s Investec Loyal, and two 98 footers, Peter Millard and John Honan’s Lahana and Grant Wharington’s Wild Thing, leading the pack.
The spotlight that shone bright on the supermaxis last year has shifted slightly back to the impending clash for the Tattersall’s Cup, the prestigious hand wrought sterling silver cup and plinth awarded to the overall winner.
With a perfect scorecard of wins at all this year’s major races and regattas for Stephen Ainsworth’s RP63 Loki, there is no doubt they are the outright favourite.
But like yesterday’s shortest-priced Melbourne Cup favourite, So You Think, track conditions didn’t suit and the glamour stallion ran home third. Over a course 500 times longer than the Flemington racetrack, conditions will be changeable, requiring a consistent all-round performance, plus a lot of luck to be the fastest to Hobart on corrected time.
“Given there are less line honours contenders, the battle for the Tattersall’s Cup has been highlighted probably more than any other year,” said CYCA Commodore Garry Linacre today. “There will be huge interest in the Rán versus Loki clash and this year will see the return of Limit, which has been making its mark in the US.”
Linacre notes “There is a definite modernisation happening amongst the Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet with many newer boats as well as the timeless timber classics such as Spirit of Koomooloo and fibreglass-built Bacardi which provide a vital link to the race’s colourful and lengthy history. There’s no doubt it’s going to be an extremely interesting race,"
Same skippers, different boats are a common occurrence as skippers upsize or downsize in terms of yacht size, pedigree and budget.
Nicholas Bartels’ has this year stepped into a Cookson 50 with the same name as his former Terra Firma and UK yachtsman Chris Bull has done the same, his new Cookson 50 Jazz the replacement for his J/145. David Pescud’s Sailors with disAbilities are following suit and will shortly announce their replacement up-tempo ride to Hobart.
Last year 116 yachts were nominated for entry with 100 on the starting line and 95 reaching the finish line off Hobart’s historic Battery Point.
All Australian states plus the ACT are represented with nine international entries sailing for the UK, England, USA, New Zealand, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy and a part Russian crewed boat.
Applications for entry will continue to be processed by the CYCA sailing office and if all the race entry criteria is met, owners will be invited to submit an entry form, by Friday 3 December.
The fleet for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2010 will be officially announced at the CYCA in Sydney on the morning of Tuesday 23 November at 10.00am.