Andrea Francolini /

Team Australia on Hobart record run

Sean Langman out to demolish Wild Oat's record on his ORMA 60

Thursday February 21st 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: Australia

A front moving down the NSW coast from Queensland looks set to bring conditions at the “upper end of ideal”, says Sean Langman, skipper of the ORMA 60 trimaran Team Australia on the eve of his attempt on the 14 year-old passage record from Sydney to Hobart.

Team Australia is hoping to put a dent in he current passage record of 1 day 18 hours 23 minutes and 12 seconds set by Wild Oats XI in last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart yacht race for the 630 nautical mile voyage.

If Team Australia leaves Sydney Harbour at the scheduled start time of 10.30am tomorrow they have until just before 5am Sunday morning to set a new record.

Strong ESE to ENE winds mean the 60ft long by 60ft wide trimaran could potentially slice half a day or more off the official fastest time. The multihull is capable of a top speed in excess of 40 knots. When the boat was Pascal Bidegorry's Banque Populaire IV she covered 667 miles in 24 hours but whether Langman and his team have the skill and courage to drive the boat this hard remains to be seen. 

“We will either smash the record or smash the boat,” warns crewman, Larry Jamieson. “We are not trying to be foolhardy but the consequence of running into something like a shark or log at 30 knots means we will snap something and will be limping into port before we sink, which would be a downer.”

As Banque Populaire IV the boat won the 2005 Transat Jacques Vabre and was second in the Route du Rhum the subsequent year.

Langman, a Rolex Sydney Hobart veteran of 23 races, will head up a total crew of seven including a late addition, his 19 year-old son Peter Langman who has already completed two Sydney Hobarts and four Bass Strait crossings. They will be joined by Josh Alexander (sailing master), Larry Jamieson (sail trimmer), Aaron Hampo (grinder, cook, comic relief), James Ogilvie (mainsail trimmer/rigger) and Shaun ‘Kiwi’ McKnight (navigator).

This will be Jamieson’s 30th Bass Strait crossing and amazingly from his 28 Rolex Sydney Hobarts he has finished every single race. “I hope my luck continues to run true for this crossing”.

From the time he owned the maxi chaser, Xena, back in the early 2000s, Sean Langman has believed the Rolex Sydney Hobart race record could potentially be reduced to 36 hours. In 2011 he bought the ORMA 60 trimaran to achieve his dream. In theory Team Australia given the correct weather could reduce the record beneath 24 hours.

Team Australia needs to average more than 14.83 knots to break the existing course record. They are hoping to complete the passage off Battery Point, Hobart, in just outside 24 hours. The start is planned for 10.30 tomorrow morning (local time), Friday February 22, between North and South Head, Sydney Harbour.

Forecaster Roger Badham is predicting maximum breeze at the start, ESE winds at 23-27 knots and off the far south coast of NSW, E-ENE at 18-23 knots. For the run across the Strait ENE winds 24-28 knots (maybe 25-30) are expected and NE 22-27 knots off the Tassie coast tending NNE-N/22-28 on the lower east coast.

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