Tuesday, 29 December 2009

RSHYR: Classics of the past chase modern glory

Simon Kurts' S & S 47 Love and War. Image copyright ROLEX/Daniel Forster.

by Bruce Montgomery

Forty-footers, several of them carrying the names of classic boats from the Corinthian past of Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Races, are coming into their own for an overall win in this year’s event as they race down the Tasmanian east coast into the path of escalating southerly winds.

The overall race lead, which is determined by constantly correcting a boat’s elapsed time to take into account its size relative to the rest of the fleet, is shuffling between some great names including Simon Kurts’ Love & War, Martin Power’s Bacardi and Mike Freebairn’s Ray White Spirit of Koomooloo, which has sailed to Hobart in the past under the names of Ragamuffin and Margaret Rintoul ll.

Also among the contenders are Mike Welsh’s Victorian sloop Wicked, the Tasmanian boat Matangi from the Tamar Yacht Club and Andrew Saies’ new South Australian Beneteau First 40, Two True.

Koomooloo, as Ragamuffin won the 1971 Fastnet Race and contested three Admiral’s Cups. Then she raced as Margaret Rintoul II, including an extensive spell racing on the Derwent.

Mike Freebairn bought her to replace another classic yacht, the 1968 Sydney Hobart overall winner Koomooloo, which sadly sank during the 2006 race.

The top positions on handicap in this year’s race are in a constant state of flux because there is so little between them, most sailing off St Helens and most have to finish by tomorrow morning to win.

The weather will come into play. The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a strong wind warning for the lower east coast between Wineglass Bay and Tasman Island as westerly winds of 5 to 15 knots shift to the south at 20 to 30 knots offshore.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

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