74th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2018

AsianYachting - RSHYR Updates

Turner’s dream comes Alive
By Rupert Guinness, RSHYR media
For Phillip Turner the dream of winning the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race began “five or six years ago” when he was watching the finish and suddenly thought: “I’d like to win that one day.”
On Sunday that dream became real for Turner, a retired professional gambler, when his yacht Alive was formally declared the overall winner of this year’s race and he received the Tattersall Cup from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Commodore, Paul Billingham. However, as he prepared to accept one of the world’s most prestigious offshore racing awards, Turner was still coming to terms with his success, saying: “It still hasn’t sunk in.” He also admits to being “introverted,” and that he doesn’t “like all the attention” that comes with winning.

They have won The George Adams Tattersalls Cup for Overall Winner on IRC and the Charleston Trophy for Overall Winner on ORCi. Our navigator Wouter Verbraak has won the Bill Owen Memorial Trophy - for the navigator of the overall winner on handicap and the City of Hobart Trophy - for the Navigator of the first Tasmanian yacht on handicap! Reichel/Pugh Yacht Design have won the Alan Payne Memorial Trophy - for the designer of the overall winner on handicap. They not only designed Alive but also 2nd placed Ocean Respect Racing 3rd Placed Voodoo Sailing and the 1st and 2nd Line Honours boats Wild Oats XI and Black Jack

Turner still allowed his memory to wind back to his days as a child. He was raised in Hobart and every year with his father would go to Constitution Dock to watch the fleet finish the race one by one.

They were the days when he fell in love with the Sydney Hobart. The iconic event became a part of Turner’s DNA. Every year he would watch in awe as the yachts finished in all states - and their crews – and then listen to or read of tales of triumph, woe and adventure.

Each year was a building block to a life pursuit that is now complete: “It has always been a highlight for me,” said Turner before being presented with the Cup.

Alive’s overall win in the Rolex Sydney Hobart is only the fourth by a Tasmanian boat. The last was Bob Cumming’s Screw Loose in 1979. The previous two were G.D. Gibson’s Westward in 1947 and 1948. Cumming’s reaction on Sunday to his Reichel/Pugh 66 winning was one of celebration. “It had to be done some time,” Cumming said. “Naturally you can’t do it without a good crew. It’s a marvellous race to win - it’s the pinnacle of yachting – like winning the Melbourne Cup. It’s something you never forget. It’s been 39 years since I won – I want to congratulate them.”

The significance of adding to Tasmanian sailing history was not lost on Turner, nor on his skipper and project manager to their Sydney Hobart campaign, Duncan Hine – his lifelong mate. “It’s great for Tasmania,” said Turner who bought Alive, formerly named Black Jack, in 2014, with the “intention” of winning the race. “I looked at what was available,” he said of his pursuit to find the best boat for his campaign. “I got (Australian boat designer) Fred Barrett to help me and basically we kept coming back to this boat.” The buy has paid dividends. The canting keeler notched up numerous successes before finally winning the Sydney Hobart in which she finished eighth on line honours and placed 17th overall in 2016.

Renamed Alive by Turned after buying it, she filled his trophy cabinet with wins in a number of east coast races in Australia before heading to the south-east Asia circuit in 2017. On returning home she was second over the line, third overall and won ORCi in the 2017 Brisbane Gladstone Race, then third on line in the Brisbane to Keppel race.

Alive, which was also fifth over the line in this year’s Sydney Hobart – finishing in 2 days 1 hour 40 minutes 36 seconds – won the race overall with a corrected time of 3 days 6 hours 41 minutes 16 seconds.

Second was the NSW entry Wild Oats X owned by the Oatley Family and skippered by Stacey Jackson who had an all-female professional crew. Their corrected time was 3d 7h 55m 11s, followed by the Hugh Ellis owned and Adrienne Cahalan navigated Voodoo from Victoria in 3d 8h 44m 20s.

Asked for the critical moment of this year’s race, Turner said “it was passing Tasman Island, and when we went past Wild Oats X and started to make ground,” he said. “We were fairly happy (where they were) on handicap then. We had to beat Wild Oats - then worry about the other boats later.”

The challenge from Wild Oats X played an instrumental role in Turner getting the best from Alive and his young but talented crew, as Alive’s navigator, Wouter Verbraak, recognised on Sunday as he sat next to Turner. “We had our sister boat with us all the way. There is nothing like a competitor to push you, to get the best out of you and your teammates. And that is what happened.”

Verbraak, a professional sailor, lauded Turner and Alive skipper Duncan Hine for their commitment to the Sydney Hobart campaign. “We made another step with our team,” Verbraak said. “It started with Phil’s dream to win the race. And with Duncan putting the project together, it became a really good execution with a good young team.”

Turner said it was hard to select his final crew of 12, down from the “16 or 17” he had to choose from. But in the downwind conditions, weight was a crucial factor in optimising Alive’s boat speed. “It’s another chess game,” Turner said of the selection process. “Some people probably could’ve been in, but missed out on being on the winning boat. You try to minimise the weight, which is difficult.”

However, as Verbraak added, this year’s 74th edition of the Sydney Hobart was “not typical. The light wind transition in Bass Strait was really a massive challenge, like threading the needle. “It was such a narrow window and you had to be very, very accurate. “The models were not really correct, so we had to feel our way.”

As for the moment when Alive crossed the line on Friday? Hine laughs as he recalls it. “It’s actually like an anticlimax. You’ve had this goal and focus for the entire race and all of a sudden you cross the line and it’s ‘what happens next?’ Then we’re thinking about what we’ve been yacking about – ‘beers, beers, beers’.

“I could feel the vibe of all the guys, ‘let’s just get in’. But then we had to do a sail past the Taste of Tasmania after we finished - and the emotion changed. “It was ‘Wow, this is really good.’ It was a fantastic reception.”

Turner’s plan for Alive is to race her in the United States in a campaign culminating with the TransPac race (from California to Hawaii) in March. She will be shipped over on January 17. So the time for any respite is limited.

For all information and to follow the race on tracker: http://rolexsydneyhobart.com/

Photo Credit: Rolex / Studio Borlenghi

Alive provisional overall IRC & ORCi leaders...
Goto AY - RSHYR UpdatesModified from RSHYR Media Release
29th Dec: While the super maxis were hard at it from start to finish in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, two Reichel/Pugh 66s were also hard at it not too far behind them; Phillip Turner’s Tasmanian Alive and the Oatley family’s Wild Oats X, skippered by Stacey Jackson. In the end, and much to the delight of the locals in Hobart, Alive was victorious over the line in 5th place and overall from the pro all-female crew by a nick under 13 minutes when they finished in 6th place.

Currently the Taswegians are provisionally overall IRC and ORCi leaders in the standings, but had to wait it out to see whether others still racing could beat their time, before the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia can officially declare them the champions.

Nevertheless, Alive’s skipper, Duncan Hine commented, “We’re ecstatic – all of us – of course we are.”

Following her finish, Alive did her lap of honour past the Taste of Tasmania, something the entire fleet get to do on finishing. It was crowded with locals and visitors alike. The cheer was more a roar, when it was announced Phillip Turner’s 66-footer was a local.

“It was amazing – wonderful – hearing the cheer from our hometown,” Hine said.

Of the race with Wild Oats X and in general, Hine said: “We had a fantastic race with them. Both of us have a competitive nature and the interest in the two of us was great. We swapped the lead once or twice and were never far apart for the entire race.

“It (the race) was a lot of hard work – before and during. The conditions were not exactly ours – we like it light (the breeze), but I guess there were reasonably light areas. But you never know whether your competitors are going to go through the same conditions as you – so you don’t know how you will finish up until a lot of the fleet are in.”

However, Hine did concede: “We are over the moon. We’ve had a wonderful couple of days. Phil and I put together a wonderful crew – and it’s not that easy to get a such good one – so we couldn’t be happier.

On board Wild Oats X, Stacey Jackson will be awarded the Jane ‘Jenny’ Tate Memorial Trophy for the first female skipper to complete the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race at the official prize giving on 31 December in Hobart.

For all information and to follow the race on tracker: http://rolexsydneyhobart.com/

Photo Credit: Rolex / Studio Borlenghi

Wild Oats XI retains her crown
By RSHYR Media
29th Dec: Following a protest against Wild Oats XI by the Race Committee of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, which was held by the International Jury at Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania today, it was found that the protest was invalid and so Wild Oats XI retains her line honours crown.

1. The Race Committee’s investigation and subsequent protest arose from the report from the owner of Black Jack, a competitor in the Race and therefore a person with a conflict of interest within the meaning of the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS).

2. The Race Committee’s investigation was prudent, however in these circumstances, for the protest to be valid under the Racing Rules of Sailing, a competitor with information about a potential rule breach must lodge the protest.

Rules that apply: RRS60.2 (a), Definitions – Conflict of Interest.
Decision: Protest Invalid.

Notice of Protest against Wild Oats XI
By RSHYR Media
28th Dec
: The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA), the organising authority for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, has been advised that Race Committee has advised that they have lodged a protest against Wild Oats XI.

The Race Committee received a report from the owner of Black Jack advising that Wild Oats XI’s AIS had not transmitted throughout the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2018.

On investigation, and based on its own evidence, the Race Committee considers there may have been a breach of S.I. 11.4 in respect of Special Regulation 4.09 (a).

Wild Oats XI takes line honours
By Di Pearson, RSHYR Media

28th Dec: “Redemption, guys … Redemption day …” yelled a beaming Mark Richards to the cheering crowd on the docks after he skippered the 14 year-old Wild Oats XI to a record ninth line honours victory in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on Friday 28 December. As Richards screamed, he was still on the miracle, skinny super maxi yacht that he later dubbed “the Phar Lap of yachting” - with owner Sandy Oatley and Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Commodore Paul Billingham who presented him the John H. Illingworth trophy awarded to the line honours winner. Val Oatley described Wild Oats XI’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race line honours victory perfectly alongside the dock in Hobart this morning: “Three years of misery to this moment,” and you could not wipe the smile from her face or that of her sons, Sandy and Ian, as they waited for their super maxi to moor alongside Kings Pier.

Watching four super maxis dicing from the start of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 628 nautical mile race, Sandy Oatley commented: “I was very nervous watching the tracker last night – isn’t this a wonderful sight…"

Three years of trauma for the Wild Oats family when the yacht retired from the 2015 race with a torn main followed by Bob Oatley’s death in January 2016. Another retirement in 2016, this time with hydraulic ram issues. Then came last year’s much publicised finish when Wild Oats XI was penalised one hour after an incident with Comanche and lost her line honours crown and a new race record to Jim Cooney’s ‘aircraft carrier’.

This year’s victory makes it a new record of nine line honours for Wild Oats XI, which broke the seven years of line honours stranglehold of Kurrewa/Morna in 2014 with her eighth line honours crown.

It was a blissful moment for the Oatley family and their supporters – even the finish time of one day 19 hours 7 minutes 21 seconds, well outside Comanche’s race record of last year, could not wipe the smiles or tears away after the silver hulled super crossed the Castray Esplanade finish line at 08.07.21 on Friday 28 December.

Perennial skipper Mark ‘Ricko’ Richards generously handed the helm over to the Late Bob Oatley’s grandson, Daniel (Ian Oatley’s son), on his third Sydney Hobart on the family yacht, before they crossed the finish line after gybing all the way up the River under Code Zero.

Wild Oats XI won the hard-fought battle between four of the five super maxis entered in the race. Until 6.30am this morning, the four were still locked in a tight fight for honours – just 4 nautical miles separating them before Wild Oats XI came into her own.

Peter Harburg’s Black Jack from Queensland was second over the line at 8.35.06am, followed by Comanche at 8.36.09am, after the two went gybe for gybe to the finish after rounding the Iron Pot. Christian Beck’s InfoTrack finished at 08.51.17am.

Never before in the history of the race have we witnessed four yachts fight for supremacy throughout the entire race. It kept us all on tenterhooks the most exciting Sydney Hobart line honours stoush since Bob Bell’s Condor of Bermuda beat Jack Rooklyn’s Apollo over the finish line by seven seconds in 1982.

For all information and to follow the race on tracker: http://rolexsydneyhobart.com/

Photo Credit: Rolex / Studio Borlenghi

Light wind hampers the fleet and a time to remember...
Goto AY - RSHYR Updates...By Di Pearson, RSHYR Media
27th Dec
: The breathless battle for line honours that the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht has become, looks set to continue well into the second day of racing, with only five miles separating the first four maxi yachts. In a tussle that has seen the lead in the 628nm race change several times between the remaining four maxi yachts since it began at 1pm in Sydney Harbour on Wednesday, Boxing Day, last year’s winner Comanche, owned by Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant, was in front and travelling at 14.5 knots well into the crossing of Bass Strait. In second place was Peter Harburg’s Black Jack at 3.4nm, followed by Christian Beck’s InfoTrack and then the eight times winner Wild Oats XI, skippered by Mark Richards – all sailing at about 14 knots. All were close to the rhumbline, bar Wild Oats XI that was further east.

Meanwhile, in the race for the Tattersall Cup and handicap honours, the Rolex Sydney Hobart was just as much on edge, as the entire fleet continued to make best of the lighter 15-20 knot nor ‘easterlies. But on latest standings, the conditions were suiting the smaller boats.

At the 12.50pm standings, Rob Aldis’ Kayimai led on handicap from Midnight Rambler, followed by Zoe Taylor’s Grace O’Malley.

The biggest positional shift was that of defending champion Ichi Ban, owned and skippered by Matt Allen that had dropped back to 32nd place; reminding how hard it is to claim back-to-back handicap wins.

As the outcome of the race hangs tantalisingly in the balance, there is no doubt that crews are enjoying their journeys south to Hobart.

On board the Tasmanian yacht Black Sheep, that was placed sixth overall and is owned by Matthew Pilkington and Rob Gourlay, crew member George Peacock said: “Conditions are really good at the moment. We have about 18 to 20 knots out of the north.

“We’ve been sailing along at 10 – 13 knots boat speed. It’s beautiful conditions out here, we’re on deck in shorts and t-shirts, so life’s good!

“We can’t see many other boats around us at the moment. We had a whale breaching next to us this morning which was beautiful.

“This morning’s breakfast was egg and bacon wraps so we’re getting along nicely!”

Remembering the fallen
Meanwhile, at the start of this afternoon’s 1700 hours scheduled fleet radio report, the race will pay homage to the six sailors lost at sea in the 1998 race that was stricken by horrendous conditions.

David Kellett who sailed in the 1998 Sydney Hobart and is now head of the Sydney Hobart radio relay vessel will read out to the fleet the words originally spoken by Hugo Van Krashmare, the CYCA Commodore at the memorial service at Constitution Dock in Hobart.

That message was:
Mike Bannister, John Dean, Jim Lawler, Glyn Charles, Bruce Guy, Phil Skeggs.
May the everlasting voyage you have now embarked on be blessed with calm seas and gentle breezes.
May you never have to reef or change a headsail at night.
May your bunk be always warm and dry.

Asked about the gesture, the current Commodore, Paul Billingham said: “Our view is that is the appropriate way to recognise and remember what happened.

“The families have moved on. There is closure but there is also remembrance.”

For all information and to follow the race on tracker: http://rolexsydneyhobart.com/

Photo Credit: Rolex / Studio Borlenghi

Line Honours too close to call
By Di Pearson, RSHYR Media
27th Dec: In the closest contest in the history of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the four remaining super maxis in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 628 nautical mile race were separated by just five nautical miles this morning - Comanche leading the way.

Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant’s Comanche, are off record pace, 34nm behind her record of last year, but lead the pack from the Oatley family’s Wild Oats XI, with Mark Richards at the helm. Peter Harburg’s Black Jack and Christian Beck’s InfoTrack have taken the inside lane closer to the rhumb line as they try to slip past the two leaders.

The four yachts are south-east of Gabo Island in Victoria, ready to sail across Bass Strait this morning.

Chris Links reported from Wild Oats XI this morning: “We crossed tacks with Comanche a couple of times this morning between 3 and 4am. We can just see Black Jack too. There’s nothing in it. We’re doing 18 knots in a northerly of 15 knots. We’re on the edge of Bass Strait – entering it.”

Links conceded, “This is the closest race we’ve been in – we’ve been in close races with Comanche before, but never been in such a close race with four of us.”

It is early days to talk overall contenders, but it will be no surprise to anyone that Matt Allen’s TP52, Ichi Ban, continues to lead the race for the Tattersall Cup. Bruce Taylor’s Caprice 40 Chutzpah is revelling in the conditions she was built for, and is currently in second place from the Carkeek 60, Winning Appliances and Ray Roberts’ Farr 55, Hollywood Boulevard.

Carl Crafoord reported from his and Tim Horkings’ Sail Exchange this morning: “We are going great,” he said from 10th overall. “We’re first in Division (3). We’re gybing in current, 30 miles off Bermagui with Enterprise (the modified Farr 40 owned by Anthony Kirke). All well on board – we’ve had a good night.”

A fourth retirement from the race overnight, with M3 Team Hungary, led by Roni Ormandlaki, suffering a broken rig and on her way back to Sydney. She joins other early retirements, Zen (NSW), Sun Hung Kai Scallywag (Hong Kong) and Patriot (Vic), leaving the fleet at 81 and nine internationals.

For all information and to follow the race on tracker: http://rolexsydneyhobart.com/

Photo Credit: Rolex / Studio Borlenghi

Magic start to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
By Di Pearson, RSHYR Media
26th Dec: A perfect sunny summer day, and lovely 10-12 knot north easterly breeze made for one of the most exciting starts to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race with all five super maxis vying for the lead at one stage before leaving Sydney Heads. After clean starts on all three lines, the Oatley family’s Wild Oats XI and Peter Harburg’s Black Jack were neck-and neck, while InfoTrack and Sun Hung Kai Scallywag gave chase and Comanche made a swooping tack to the east of the Harbour. Black Jack’s skipper, Mark Bradford, then put the foot to the accelerator to see the Queensland boat leave her rivals behind for the right hand turn at South Head for Hobart.

Wild Oats XI was next, Seng Hung Lee’s Sun Hung Kai Scallywag and Christian Beck’s InfoTrack followed. But it wasn’t long before the powerful Comanche made a comeback to hold a slight lead at 2.45pm, with the other supers in hot pursuit; no more than a mile between the five. By 3pm, all were ahead of Comanche’s record of last year, as were Alive and Wild Oats X.

Winning Appliances, the Carkeek 60 best known as Ichi Ban, also got off the front line with pace, leading her 60 to 70 foot contemporaries. It wasn’t long before the two RP66’s, Phillip Turner’s Alive and the Stacey Jackson skippered, all-female crew on Wild Oats X had overhauled her, but the other ‘60’s’ were not far behind.

Those on the two start lines behind did not fare as well as the front line, as the breeze kept dropping out and became patchy, making it particularly difficult for the third line boats to lay their turning mark at Sydney Heads.

But all 85 boats eventually cleared the Heads, the smallest boat in the fleet, Army Sailing Club's 30 foot Gun Runner, skippered by Reece Young, having the distinction of last boat to clear the Harbour. However, she had four or five boats for company, only slightly ahead of her.

Of the 11 internationals, Ron O’Hanley’s canting-keel Cookson 50, Privateer, was looking good - as was the first Hungarian entry in the race - the Roni Ormandlaki skippered TP52, M3 Team Hungary.

The move leads many to reconsider their predictions as to the overall victory in this year’s 628 nautical mile race. Matt Allen’s defending champion, Ichi Ban, a TP52, still rates No. 1 with most, and was up challenging the 60-plus footers of the race. However, little boats like Bruce Taylor’s Caprice 40, Chutzpah (Vic) sailing well in her favoured off the wind conditions. A second Victorian, John Newbold’s RP51 Primitive Cool was also up amongst it.

At the other end of the fleet, Gun Runner and LeeAnn Lynch’s Elan 43 Relish IV, with 49 Sydney Hobart race veteran Bill Ratcliff on board, were almost level pegging.

Medium north easterly winds continue along the NSW Coast, meaning the super maxis are unable to put a lot of distance on the bulk of the fleet at this early stage of the race.

At 3.25pm Gordon Ketelbey reported his yacht Zen had rig damage and that they were retiring to Wollongong. at 4:20pm Sun Hung Kai Scallywag reported a broken bowsprit and have also retired from the race, the fleet is now at 83.

For all information and to follow the race on tracker: http://rolexsydneyhobart.com/

Photo Credit: Rolex / Studio Borlenghi

Follow the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race
This year's edition of the 628nm Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will see 86 teams on the starting line on Boxing Day, Wednesday 26th Dec. Amongst these entries are 5 super maxis, Infotrack, Wild Oats XI, Comanche, Scallywag and Black Jack are expected to dominate the world's toughest blue water classic.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Simon Louis told a selection of navigators “The long-range weather models show relatively light winds as the yachts leave Sydney Harbour, but with a 15-20 knot (and gusts to 35 knots) north to north-easterly winds, should continue during Boxing Day night and into the next day, with the breeze expected to go around to the west later.” This scenario will leave some dead spots in between.

While this forecast favours the Line Honours battle and the 45 to 55 footers, makes the fight for IRC overall win and Tattersall’s Cup, in the red hot range. Matt Allen's TP52 Ichi Ban, is favourite and aims to become the first boat to defend the title in many years.

Goto 2015 Rolex Syd-Hobart Race Some of the yachts we will be closely following (Below) have all scored points in the
Asian Yachting Grand Prix (AYGP) Skipper & Yacht Rankings, at one time or other...

Ting Lee's Volvo 70 Noahs II with coach Steve McConaghy onboard
Ray ‘Hollywood’ Roberts Farr 55 Hollywood Boulevard
Last year’s winner, Matt Allen's Botin TP52 Ichi Ban
Phillip Turner's Reichel Pugh 66 Alive, skippered by Duncan Hine
Seng Huang Lee's Dovell 100 Scallywag skippered by David Witt
Bruce Taylor's Caprice 40, Chutzpah, with Peter Fletcher onboard
Larry Jamieson is on Andrew Kearnans TP52 Koa
Li Jian's Reichel Pugh 80 Apsaras, skippered by Travis Read, with crew from China and Philippines.

The start at 1300 AEST (10:00am East Asia) on Boxing Day, 26th Dec, will be broadcast live on the Seven Network via 7Mate throughout Australia. Also will be live streamed to a vast international audience via the RSHYR website, Tencent, Fox Asia and ABC Australia Plus Network (Astro Channel 521 Malaysia).

Goto live tracking throughout the race at the official CYCA - Rolex Sydney Hobart 2018 website.

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