Saturday 2 January 2010

America's Cup: The Teams are Meeting

by SailRaceWin

Contents of letter from Société Nautique de Genève to Golden Gate Yacht Club, 27th December 2009:

"Société Nautique de Genève defending yacht will be constructed in Switzerland in compliance with the provision in the Deed of Gift. The Deed only requires the “yacht or vessel” to be constructed in the respective country and does not expressly impose obligations in respect of any of the separate components onboard the yacht or vessel.

"We remain willing to meet and discuss to resolve any concerns you may have, although until there is certainty as to what “yacht or vessel” SNG will declare for the Match the issue would appear to be theoretical and moot until then."

Contents of letter from Golden Gate Yacht Club to Société Nautique de Genève, 29th December 2009:

"Thank you for your letter of December 27th concerning the "constructed in country" requirement of the America's Cup Deed of Gift.

"This is to confirm that GGYC welcomes your offer to meet and discuss this issue, which, as you know from our letter of December 22nd, we believe is of the utmost urgency. We are prepared to meet at a mutually agreeable time and place as soon as possible. When and where would you suggest?"

Reply from Société Nautique de Genève to Golden Gate Yacht Club:

"I refer to our letter dated 27th December 2009, a brief email message I have received in response from your representative Mr. Ehman, your press release dated 28th December 2009 and your letter of 29th December 2009 welcoming our offer of ameeting to discuss the concerns you have raised. I am pleased you have accepted our offer of a meeting, and I hope we can continue the recent good progress we have both made in Sydney.

"Given the success of the Sydney meeting, I propose the meeting is again held before the America’s Cup International Jury Chairman Mr. David Tillett. We have spoken to Mr. Tillett and he can be available for a meeting. He will respond directly to both competitors to confirm a date and place for the meeting.

"You have raised concerns regarding possible sails and other unspecified equipment that might be used on a yacht or vessel that SNG may select to defend the America’s Cup just prior to the commencement of the first scheduled race of the Match, on 8th February 2010. As expressed in our previous letter, SNG defending yacht will be constructed in Switzerland in compliance with the provision in the Deed of Gift and SNG disagrees with your interpretation of this provision of the deed of gift. SNG observes the Deed only requires the “yacht or vessel” to be constructed in the respective country and does not expressly impose obligations in respect of any of the separate components onboard the yacht or vessel.

"Should your proposed interpretation be followed, SNG would have similar concerns regarding a number of items of equipment onboard the USA. SNG is also concerned that USA’s rig is not as described in your challenge documents dated 11 July 2007.

"It is sensible that our respective related mutual concerns be discussed and addressed together at the same meeting.

"Once we have confirmation of the date and place, we will advise our representatives that will attend the meeting."

Société Nautique de Genève
Golden Gate Yacht Club

RSHYR: Prizes presented to Rolex Sydney Hobart winners

Andrew Saies and Crew from TWO TRUE Final Prizegiving Ceremony at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. Image copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.

by Di Pearson

With both the Governor and the Premier of Tasmania in attendance, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race came to a close today when the prizes were presented to all the winners of the 628 nautical mile race at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, in Sandy Point, Hobart.

Joining His Excellency, the Honourable Peter Underwood AO, the Governor of Tasmania and Mrs Underwood and The Honourable David Bartlett, Premier of Tasmania and Mrs Bartlett were Mr Matteo Mazzanti, Rolex Geneva (SA) and the Commodores of the race’s organiser, Matt Allen for the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and Clive Simpson for the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania which finishes the race.

Prior to the prize giving ceremony, Commodore Allen called for one minute’s silence in remembrance of Andrew Short and Sally Gordon who died as a result of an accident in the Flinders Islet Race in October.

He then read ‘The Sailor’s Farewell'.

“It was inspiring having Matt Short (Andrew’s brother) and his family in the race this year,” remarked the Commodore who said the CYCA was still counting the hits on the Rolex race site; “we can’t count that high,” he said.

Thanking Rolex and the RYCT, Commodore Allen said: “To Rolex, we certainly could not ask for a better partner in this race.”

Both commodores thanked officials and volunteers, along with the race director Tim Cox, the international jury, Martin James for his design of the race tracker (the first in the world), John Winning for the use of his services and motor vessel the ‘JBW’ which acts as the Radio Relay Vessel for the race and David Kellett who manned the radio aboard.

RAN (UK) - Niklas Zennstrom - IRC Div 1 winner. Image copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.

There was no sign of the emotion of yesterday after the protest hearing when Andrew Saies was handed the highly prized Tattersall’s Cup today for Two True’s win. Instead it was a broad grin when he accepted the famous trophy.

“Thanks to Rolex for their sponsorship,” said Saies who also thanked the two yacht clubs involved in the race. “I had a great boat and a great crew,” the South Australian winner said.

Australian sailor Chris Hosking accepted the British entry RÁN’s prize, as owner, Niklas Zennstrom had to return to England. “The owner is very happy with the race and his result. He’s only sorry the boat was delayed in arriving in Australia and he wasn’t able to race in the Rolex Trophy Rating Series,” Hosking, his boat captain said.

Alfa Romeo on her way to Hobart and both line honours and a Div. 0 win. Image copyright ROLEX/Daniel Forster.

On behalf of Neville Crichton, Jonno Morris accepted the JH Illingworth trophy and replica, awarded to Alfa Romeo for winning line honours. Alfa Romeo won so much silverware that Morris needed assistance to carry it out of the RYCT!
Morris, the managing director of McConaghy Boats, was thrilled to note that the top three boats on line were all built by McConaghy.

The Jane Tate Memorial Trophy, a perpetual trophy awarded to the first woman skipper on corrected time, was presented by her daughter, Mrs Kath Worbey in memory of her mother who sailed in the second race and was the first woman to complete the event.

Mrs Worbey, who presented the trophy to Rebecca Walford, the skipper of Discoverer of Hornet, brought the house down when she told how she sailed to Sydney from Tasmania aboard one of her father’s yachts as a nine year old, “and I never wanted to have that experience again; I haven’t been on a yacht for around 60 years.”

Also honoured at the ceremony was Bruce Gould, a Sydneysider who is originally from Hobart. He sailed his 40th race aboard Geoff Hill’s Strewth (NSW) and finished 48th overall. During his 40 races, he won in 1987 aboard Pacha, scored the line and double wins in 1987 on Sovereign and was a survivor from Winston Churchill in the disastrous 1998 race.

Mrs Kath Worbey presenting the Jane Tate Memorial Trophy to Rebecca Walford, skipper Discoverer of Hornet, representing the Royal Air Force (UK). Image copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.

Greg Prescott from Tasmania, Tony Kirby from NSW, Peter Hopkins from Tasmania and Robert Case from Melbourne all achieved their 25th Hobart in this Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Prescott did not make it all the way as Limit suffered rigging damage.

Veterans of more than 40 Sydney-Hobart races, prior to the start of the 65th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, left to right: Syd Fischer - 41, Bruce Gould - 40, Tony Ellis - 43 and Bill Ratcliff - 42. Image copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.

Kirby steered his own Patrice Six to a solid fifth overall and third in Division 3 and Hopkins sailed aboard Valheru.

Case is the most unique. He has not missed a single Hobart race since he was 16 and this year sailed on Ichi Ban, owned by the CYCA commodore. Case has sailed 11 of his races with father Bernie who has sailed 40 Hobart races! Case is also believed to be the youngest (at 41) to achieve his 25 races.

Sarah-Jane Blake, who completed the Hobart on board LION NEW ZEALAND. Image copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.

Another unique aspect of the race was that the ORCi rule was introduced for the first time, with one third of the fleet sailing under the rule. Interestingly, the IRC overall winner, Two True, also won under ORCi. The only anomaly was Pinta-M, which moved from 25th in IRC to fifth in ORCi.

A replacement for the IMS rule, ORCi is proving popular due to a number of owners expressing their preference for a measured, transparent rating rule.

New Year's fireworks in front of the docks in Hobart. Image copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

RSHYR: Race Booty Shared

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race trophies and Rolex timepiece. Image copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.

by Susan Maffei Plowden

Owners and crews, friends and family, gathered on the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania lawn in warm sunshine today for the presentation of trophies for the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. They saw the trophies more widely distributed than usual with the race's varying wind patterns suiting the smaller boats in all handicap divisions.

The winds alternated between calms and light air to strong 25-35 knot headwinds and tailwinds. And there were opportunities to gain a push south in two major eddies of the East Australian Current, which extended into Bass Strait, between the Australian mainland and Tasmania, further than usual.

At different stages of the 628 nautical mile race, IRC overall handicap leaders varied throughout the fleet, between one of the biggest yachts, the Reichel/Pugh 100 maxi Alfa Romeo (Neville Crichton) and the smallest, Zephyr Hamilton Elevators (James Connell), a Sea Nymph 33.

Andrew Saies presented with a Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece by Matteo Mazzanti, Rolex SA. Image copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.

Zephyr was still poised to win at Tasman Island 40 miles from the finish until early morning calms in Storm Bay ended her chances. She finished seventh overall on IRC.

In the end, smaller production yachts topped the podium. Two of the new Farr-designed Beneteau First 40s, Two True (Andrew Saies) and Wicked (Mike Welsh) placed first and second.

Third and fourth were two of the Murray, Burns & Dovell Sydney 38 one-designs, Next (Ian Mason/Jay Krehbiel), and Swish (Steven Proud).

These first four boats followed a similar strategy; heading well out to sea from the start, staying mainly east of the rhumb line and chasing the current eddies. And they pushed each other hard, racing one-design.

The two Sydney 38s ended their 628nm match race with a gybing duel over the last 11 miles in the River Derwent. Next crossed half a boat length in front to win the Sydney 38 One Design division ahead of Swish, but placed fourth behind Swish on IRC overall because she has a slightly higher IRC overall handicap for carrying a masthead spinnaker.

Next's skipper Ian Mason said: "It was a very tough race. It was just match-racing for nearly 400 miles with Swish. We were never more than about 800 metres apart and then she beat us by five seconds."

Two True also won the ORCi division, introduced into the race for the first time this year in response to a growing push among Australian owners for a more measurement-based, transparent rule than IRC.

Ragamuffin's veteran skipper Syd Fischer, strongly behind the move towards ORCi was surprised and gratified that 33 boats in the 100-boat fleet, raced under ORCi as well as IRC. "I think it will be a great rule because it's fully measured, transparent and we don't have anyone's input into it other than the measurements," he said.

"It's fair. I can't stand anything that isn't fair because people spend a lot of money on these boats. If you look around the world there's billions of dollars spent on them and they've come into what's a club rule."

At the presentation, Matt Allen, Commodore of the race organizer, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, who sailed his first Hobart race in 1976 and the 21st this year on his own modified Volvo 70 Ichi Ban, said: "The race to Hobart has certainly captured my imagination. Now it has never been in better health and I'm convinced that the best years are ahead."

Matteo Mazzanti from Rolex SA presented overall winning skipper Andrew Saies from Two True with a Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece, and the Tatersall's Cup for the overall handicap winner in IRC.

Sailes, sailing in his fifth Rolex Sydney Hobart, but on a brand-new boat this year, was clearly touched and said, "You can't win without a great boat, a great team and an ounce of Hobart luck..This is an iconic race, if you're a yachtie in Australia, you want to win this race."

Official Trophy Presentation at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. Image copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.


Alfa Romeo, Neville Crichton, (NZ), Reichel Pugh 100

1. Two True, Andrew Saies (AUS), Beneteau First 40
2. Wicked, Mark/Mike Welsh (AUS), Beneteau First 40
3. Next, Ian Mason (AUS), Sydney 38

IRC Div 0: Alfa Romeo, Neville Crichton, (NZ), Reichel Pugh 100
IRC Div 1: Ran, Niklas Zennstrom, (UK), Judel-Vrolijk 72
IRC Div 2: Tow Truck, Anthony Paterson (AUS), Ker 11.3
IRC Div 3: Next, Ian Mason (AUS), Sydney 38
IRC Div 4: Two True, Andrew Saies (AUS), Beneteau First 40
PHS Div 1: Wasabi, Bruce McKay, (AUS), Sayer 12
PHS Div 2: She, Peter Rodgers, (AUS), Olsen 40 MOD
Sydney 38: Swish, Steven Proud, (AUS), Sydney 38
ORCi: Two True, Andrew Saies (AUS), Beneteau First 40
Cruising: Holy Cow!, John Clinton (AUS), Oceanis 50

Dockside ambience in Hobart. Image copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.

The 66th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart will start at 1300 AEDT on 26 December 2010.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

CYCA SOLAS Trusts pledges $20,000 to St Helens Marine Rescue

Angela Matthews, Secretary, St Helens Marine Rescue, receives cheque from CYCA Commodore Matt Allen, Chairman of CYCA SOLAS Trusts. Image copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.

by Jennifer Crooks

In its 10th anniversary year, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Safety of Life at Sea Trusts (SOLAS) has made a pledge to St Helens Marine Rescue Association Inc (TAS) of $20,000 as seed funding for the purchase of a new RIB.

The RIB will provide additional rescue capabilities and support to the main rescue vessel, Freycinet, that the association acquired earlier this year from Tasmanian water police. The RIB will also provide an additional resource to the Break O’Day municipality.

Earlier this year, St Helens Marine Rescue assisted local marine authorities when a commercial fishing vessel overturned on the Georges Bay Barway, rescuing three of the four crew members safely. Local marine authorities rescued the fourth crew member from the water.

The conditions during this rescue were difficult at best and this incident prompted the need for a better suited, more manoeuvrable vessel.

St Helens Marine Rescue Association is a wholly volunteer operated association, that maintains a 24/7 watch over the waters of the Break O’Day municipality and St Helens, providing support to commercial and recreational vessels. Additionally, the rescue service has provided valuable assistance to those yachts competing in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race (when called upon) and the Launceston to Hobart race.
In making this donation, CYCA SOLAS Trusts Chairman, Matt Allen said “We are pleased that the CYCA SOLAS Trusts can provide this valuable assistance to St Helens Marine Rescue, so that they can continue to maintain the high standard of volunteer marine rescue.”

“It is associations like these that are often first to come to the aid of yachtsmen, commercial and recreational vessels. The support that St Helens Marine Rescue has provided to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht race over the years is recognised by this donation and we look forward to their continued support in the future, should it be required,” added Allen.

Angela Matthews, Secretary of St Helens Marine Rescue said that this funding was vital to the wholly volunteer run association. “On behalf of all the volunteers from St Helens Marine Rescue, I would like to thank the CYCA SOLAS Trusts for their commitment to volunteer rescue services.”

“This RIB is a vital community asset and is greatly appreciated by the Mayor and the Break O’Day community,” said Matthews.

One of the CYCA’s SOLAS Trusts objectives is to assist search and rescue organisations Australia wide. In the ten years since it was established, in excess of $500,000 has been donated to 17 organisations in every Australian state as well as the ACT. This is the fourth Tasmanian donation. Other Tasmanian organisations to benefit from CYCA SOLAS Trusts donations are Tasmanian Air Rescue (two donations) and Tas Coast Radio.

Cruising Yacht Club of Australia

Friday 1 January 2010

RSHYR: Alfa Romeo's Rivals Reveal How Neville Crichton Beat Them

Neville Crichton holds the line honours trophy high on arrival at Constitution Dock in Hobart. Image copyright Alfa Romeo.

by Edward Rowe

The skippers of Wild Oats XI and ICAP Leopard have revealed how Alfa Romeo and its skipper, Neville Crichton, beat them in the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, to take his 144th win in the second super maxi to carry the Alfa Romeo name.

Alfa Romeo, the Line Honours winner of the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart, is the second of three yachts owned and skippered by Neville Crichton to carry the Alfa Romeo name. Alfa Romeo 1, a 90 maxi took 74 line honours with Crichton at the helm; Alfa Romeo 2, a 100 maxi now has 144 wins in her account, and Alfa Romeo 3, a 71 foot mini maxi which has taken part in a limited number of events this year, has nine line honours and two regatta wins from her debut season.

On board Alfa Romeo II during the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Image copyright Murray Spence.

Despite this record of success, before the Rolex Sydney Hobart race started on Boxing Day Alfa Romeo, Wild Oats XI and ICAP Leopard were, to most commentators - and the skippers themselves, inseparable for line honours. At the start Alfa Romeo lead Wild Oats XI and Leopard out of Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day, having over taken them both in the sprint out of the harbor and, even during the race, it was so close that all three yachts were in sight of each other.

Yet, at the finish it was not even close. Wild Oats XI finished at five minutes after midnight, two hours and three minutes behind Neville Crichton's Alfa Romeo. Leopard, a Farr 100, finished at 0545, five hours and 40 minutes behind Wild Oats XI, nearly eight hours after Alfa Romeo.

Wild Oats' Mark Richards was gracious in defeat. "It was a tactical race and we never got a look in really," Richards said. "They had a little edge on us on the first night and the next morning we were in a big parking lot together. They got out first and put 30 miles on us before we knew what had happened."

Mike Slade, owner and skipper of ICAP Leopard, had an historical perspective of the close three-way battle of the maxis: "When Napoleon turned up at Waterloo he knew he was in for a bad day, he had a bad day at the office didn't he? I've been a bit like that. It was a fantastic race and well done Alfa, bloody marvellous."

Slade said that Leopard had gambled by sailing farther offshore than Alfa and Oats down the east coast of Australia rather than sailing in Alfa's wake. "We went offshore because there was no point in covering Alfa's tracks; she had about 20 miles on us and we just got locked out. We had about four shut-downs and it was as frustrating as hell. We sat there for hours, watching them go away. That cost us. We got punished."

Rounding Tasman Island was the worst Slade had experienced. "There was no wind and appalling seas; really nasty because it's a lee shore, you've got no steerage because there's no wind, but the seas were huge and that took us a couple of hours.

"Alfa and Oats had already gone round. The rich get rich and the poor get poorer, that's what the game's all about. So it was a shocker but we loved every minute of it. We will be back to do another one I think - the boat's a glutton for punishment."

Alfa Romeo II leaving Sydney en route to Hobart. Image copyright Alfa Romeo.

Crichton commented: "They were good competitors but at the end of the day we had the better team."

Crichton said that he was not surprised at the closeness of the race. At one stage earlier in the day Bob Oatley's Wild Oats XI clawed back much of Alfa Romeo's lead, to be within six miles of her.

"I always believed you could put a blanket over the two boats and that's the way it was for the whole race. (The difference was) the 21 guys we have. We've got the best crew in the world."

Crichton described the race as very tactical. "There were occasions when we had to take a gamble and hope it paid off. We were very busy the whole race. There were occasions when there was a lot of breeze, and occasions when we drifted, so it made the race much more interesting.

"I don't think there was any part of the race that counted any more or less. We all had periods we were parked up. I think it was the advantage of making the least amount of mistakes of anybody that won us the race."

Tom Addis, Alfa Romeo's navigator, said that the hardest parts of the race were off Gabo Island Sunday morning, and getting through the big hole in the bottom half of Bass Strait last night.

"It was a park-up," he said. "We were confident off Gabo, even though Wild Oats XI came up on us. It was painful, but you just have to be calm and get through it.

"The Derwent is hard too," he added. "You go into it unaware of what the future holds. You see a glassy patch and your heart falls, but you just have to get there and deal with whatever is there, whereas the rest of the race you can plan."

The crew of Alfa Romeo II on arrival in Hobart. Image copyright Alfa Romeo.

Helmsman Michael Coxon said that what made the race so taxing were the number of parking lots. "We averaged a 15 to 20 mile lead over Wild Oats XI but you can park up in the last 70 miles of the race and they can sail straight through you. That's always in the back of your mind."

This is the 144th win Crichton has enjoyed at the helm of Alfa Romeo, but winning line honours this time has been especially sweet. Unfinished business has at last been done.

"The Rolex Sydney Hobart is the ultimate," he declared, "and to win it is a good thing to have on your resume. We've done it twice."

Skipper: Neville Crichton

Alfa Romeo II crosses the line in Hobart to take line honours. Image copyright Alfa Romeo.

Dec 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Line Honours
Dec 2009 Rolex Trophy Passages Series 1 x Line, Handicap Honours
Dec 2009 SOLAS Big Boat Challenge Line Honours
October 2009 HSBC Coastal Classic Line Honours, Race Record
July 2009 TransPac Line Honours, Race Record

Oct 2008 Barcolana Race Line Honours
Sept 2008 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 4 x Line Honours, 2 x Corrected time wins
June 2008 Boat International SuperYacht Regatta 3 x Line Honours, class & event wins
June 2008 Rolex Giraglia Race Line Honours, new race record
June 2008 Rolex Giraglia Cup 3 x Line Honours, 2 x Handicap win
May 2008 Rolex Capri Race Week Maxi Class Event Win, 2 x Line Honours
May 2008 Pirelli Cup Maxi Class Event Win, 4 x Line Honours

Oct 2007 Barcolana Line Honours, race record
Sept 2007 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 5 x Line Hons, 1 x Handicap
August 2007 Rolex Fastnet Retired
August 2007 RYS Trophy, Scandia Race Week Line Honours, Class win
June 2007 Superyacht Cup 1 Line Honours Win
June 2007 Rolex Giraglia Cup Offshore Race Line Honours
June 2007 Rolex Giraglia Cup Regatta 2 x Line Honours to take event
April 2007 Hublot Palmavela Regatta 5 x Line Honours to take event

October 2006 Rolex Middle Sea Race – offshore race Line Honours
October 2006 Barcolana Race Line Honours
Sept 2006 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 4 Line Honours, event win
June 2006 Rolex Giraglia Cup Offshore Race Line Honours
June 2006 Rolex Giraglia Cup Regatta 2 Line Honours, 1 Handicap win
April 2006 Hublot Palmavela 4 x Line Honours wins

Dec 2005 Rolex Sydney to Hobart 2nd Overall
Dec 2005 Rolex Trophy Regatta Win
Dec 2005 CYCA Big Boat Trophy Line Honours
Dec 2005 Savills Short Ocean Championship Line Honours/Handicap win
Nov 2005 Cabbage Tree Island Race Line Honours
August 2005 South Molle/Daydream Islands Race Line Honours/Handicap win
August 2005 Edward Island Race Line Honours
August 2005 Lindeman Island Race Line Honours/Handicap win

Alfa Romeo

America's Cup: BMW ORACLE Racing Slide Show

Slides by Gilles Martin-Raget

This is the video that was presented by Russell Coutts at the World Yacht Racing Forum in Monaco, December 2009.

Gilles Martin-Raget

Thursday 31 December 2009

Rex Sellers named Member of New Zealand Order of Merit

by Zoe Hawkins

Double Olympic medallist Rex Samuel Sellers has been recognised in the New Years Honours List for his services to New Zealand Yachting.
Sellers was today named one of New Zealand’s greatest contributors and highest achievers, when he was named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Born in Nelson in 1950, Sellers is one of the country’s most successful yachtsmen, and his contribution to the sport of sailing and to New Zealand’s sporting success on the world stage is of the highest level.

In 1984 he won an Olympic Gold Medal, and in 1988 he won a Silver Medal, sailing with Chris Timms in the Tornado Class. He finished fourth in 1992 at the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992, and he was third (with Mark Rayner) at the 1982 World Championships in Canada.

His sailing career began in 1961 sailing in the Scootum class, before progressing through P Class, Cherubs and 470s into the Flying Dutchman and then, in 1977, Tornados.

He and Gerald Sly were chosen to represent New Zealand at the Tornado class at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, but never competed because of the American-led boycott. They and the Brazilians were then pre-Olympic gold medal favourites.

Sellers, along with Timms and Russell Coutts, was named New Zealand Yachtsman of the Year in 1984. Three of Sellers' sons, Ross, Marc and Brett, have risen to national prominence in sailing and daughter Justina is a top board sailor. In the 2002-2003 America's Cup, Sellers was employed by the American team, Oracle.

Sellers served as President of sailing’s national body, Yachting New Zealand, from 2005 to 2007. He also served on Yachting New Zealand’s Olympic Committee during the Beijing Olympic cycle. He has been involved in coaching - primarily as a volunteer – across numerous classes over the past 15 years.

Sellers was nominated for the Honour by Yachting New Zealand. The New Zealand Order or Merit is awarded to those who have rendered ‘meritorious service to the Crown and the nation or who have become distinguished by their eminence, talents, contributions, or other merits’. He was one of ten individuals recognised for their services to sport.

Yachting New Zealand

RSHYR: Overall Race Winner Confirmed

Dockside presentation to TWO TRUE - overall IRC handicap winner. Inage copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.

by Susan Maffei Plowden

Andy Saies' Two True survived a protest this afternoon to be confirmed as overall winner of the Tattersall's Cup, the major prize in the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race for the overall IRC handicap winner.

After a two-hour hearing, the International Jury dismissed the protest entered by the Inglis 39 She's the Culprit (Todd Leary), the Hobart yacht damaged in a crush of boats approaching the first rounding mark after the race start on Sydney Harbour.

Two True, one of the first new Farr-designed Beneteau First 40 stock production racer/cruiser to be imported into Australia, won IRC overall by 42 minutes from another new First 40, (Mike Welsh) after a close race-long duel in which they followed a similar strategy - stay well east of the rhumbline.

Ian Mason's Sydney 38 Next, in third place, another 1hr 19min behind, was similarly pushed by close competition in the six-boat Sydney 38 fleet racing one-design, as well as on IRC handicap. Another Sydney 38, Swish (Steven Proud) from the strong Sydney fleet, was fourth and Tony Kirby's Jeppersen X-41 Patrice Six, fifth.

In sixth place was the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race winner Ran (Niklas Zennstrom), from the UK.

Two True, from the Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia, is the first yacht from South Australia to win the Tattersall's Cup since Kevan Pearce's win with SAP Ausmaid in 2000. The South Australians continue to be strongly committed to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, sailing 1000 nautical miles just to get to the start.

TWO TRUE (AUS/SA), Andrew Saies, IRC overall handicap winner. Image copyright ROLEX/Daniel Forster.

Owner-skipper Saies said he was absolutely elated at the win after being in the surreal situation of not knowing the outcome until after the protest hearing. "Obviously we are very happy with the jury's decision. We believe we did everything in the circumstances to avoid significant damage to the other boat. We gave our intention to protest, we did a 720 (degree penalty turn), though the damage to the other boat was minor and superficial."

"I respect the decision of the skipper of She's the Culprit not to continue racing in those circumstances, but obviously we are very happy and delighted with the outcome."

He thanked his crew, which raced the two prior Sydney Hobart Races on his previous boat True North, a Beneteau First 40. "The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race cannot be won without a great team, a great boat and an ounce of Sydney Hobart luck. Our team are fabulous guys. We have worked together for the past three years on my previous boat True North." Saies particularly thanked Brett Young, his team and boat manager. "Energetic, tireless work ethic, great understanding of the rules."

He said the race was a physical endurance event over 628 miles. "The wind was in, the wind was out, we drifted, we went backwards, we lost internet access, we didn't know what was going on until the last few minutes. It was a classic Rolex Sydney Hobart event and we were in it up to our back teeth and it came our way in the end.

"Great boat, this new Beneteau it just jumps out of the water, jumped a bit too hard in the last day or so in those big short waves. It's a fast boat, we had belief that this boat was going to rate well and do okay in this event, if the weather conditions allowed a small boat event.

"We may be privileged enough to have a boat and a team that gets to this position as people have in the past. But in yacht racing to have everything going right in one event at the right time is probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"So it meant so much to get this right this time. So celebrations, back to normal, business as usual, great boat, great team looking forward to the next regatta in Melbourne, the next Sydney Hobart."

The last boat to finish, Chris Dawe's Polaris of Belmont (AUS/NSW) was due to cross the finish line at 0830pm tonight.

The 100-boat fleet that started the 65th Rolex Sydney Hobart had crews representing the USA, UK, New Zealand, Spain, the Netherlands, and New Caledonia, as well as every Australian state.


IRC overall: 1, Two True (Andy Saies, SA), Beneteau First 40, corrected time 04 days 07hr 57min 43sec; 2, Wicked (Mike Welsh, Vic), Beneteau First 40, 04:08:39:08; 3, Next (Ian Mason, NSW), MBD Sydney 38, 04:09:48:54.

IRC 0: 1, Alfa Romeo (Neville Crichton, NZ), Reichel Pugh 100, corrected time 04 days, 12hr, 11min, 51sec; 2, Evolution Racing (Ray Roberts, NSW), Farr Cookson 50, 04:14:32:46; 3, Ichi Ban (Matt Allen, NSW), Jones Volvo 70, 04:16:27:22.

IRC 1: 1, Ran (Niklas Zennstrom, UK), Judel/Vrolijk 72, 04:10:48:21; 2, Shogun (Rob Hanna, Vic), J/V 52, 04:13:09:50; 3, Ragamuffin (Syd Fischer, NSW), Farr TP52, 04:15:18:43.

IRC 2: 1, Tow Truck (Anthony Paterson, NSW), Ker 11.3, 04:11:16:18; 2, AFR Midnight Rambler (Ed Psaltis/Bob Thomas), modified Farr 40, 04:11:26:24; 3, Chutzpah (Bruce Taylor, Vic), Reichel/Pugh IRC 40, 04:14:06:32.

IRC 3: 1, Next Ian Mason, NSW), 04:09:48:54; 2, Swish (Steven Proud, NSW), 04:10:17:42; 3, Patrice Six (Tony Kirby) Jeppersen X-41, 04:10:24:32.

Sydney 38 One Design: 1, Swish, 04:00:16:54; 2, Next, 04:00:16:59; 3, Subzero Goat (Bruce Foye, NSW), 04:06:37:59.

ORCi (ORC International): 1, Two True (Andrew Saies, SA), Beneteau First 40, 04:07:57:43; 2, Wicked (Mike Welsh, Vic), Beneteau First 40, 04:08:39:08; 3, Zephyr Hamilton Elevators (James Connell/Alex Brandon, NSW), Farr 1020, 04:10:52:17.

Performance handicap:

PHS 1: 1, Wasabi (Bruce McKay, NSW), Sayer 12m, 04:19:02:33; 2, Sailors with disAbilities (David Pescud, NSW), Lyons 54, 04:21:26:15; 3, Mahligai (Murray Owen/Jenny Kings, New Zealand), Sydney 46, 04:21:26:15.

PHS 2: 1, She (Peter Rodgers, NSW), Olsen 40; 2, Flying Fish Arctos (A.Fairclough, NSW), McIntyre 55, 04:13:41:02; 3, Namadgi (Canberra Ocean Racing Club, ACT), Bavaria 44, 04:16:12:30.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

RSHYR: Two True – she’s won the Rolex Sydney Hobart

Matteo Mazzanti, Rolex SA presenting Andrew Saies, Two True with Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece and CYCA Commodore Matt Allen with the Tattersall's Cup. Image copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.

by Di Pearson

Andrew Saies’ new boat Two True this afternoon became just the fourth South Australian yacht to win the Rolex Sydney Yacht Race overall, but the win did not come without a long wait and plenty of angst.

Finishing the race yesterday (Wednesday) just before 1.30pm, Saies arrived in Hobart to hear the news that he was being protested by Todd Leary (She’s the Culprit) in relation to a collision that forced the Tasmanian boat to retire with a hole punched in her starboard side.

Adamant he was innocent, Saies was devastated at the thought he had finished this year’s mentally tough 628 nautical mile race in good time, but may have lost the coveted Tattersall's Cup to a boat of the same Beneteau design, Wicked, owned by Mike Welsh from Victoria.

“I felt absolute elation when the decision was handed down,” an emotional Saies said at a press conference this afternoon.

“I was very, very happy with the international jury’s decision,” said the South Australian yachtsman who told how waiting to hear the decision weighed on his mind.

“This is an iconic yacht race and every yachtie in Australia wants to win it. I feel proud to have achieved this once in a lifetime goal.”

An international jury of five heard five protests at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania relating to the same incident which occurred at the first rounding mark of the Rolex Sydney Hobart, conducted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, which began last Saturday at 1pm.

The jury heard evidence for approximately one and half hours and deliberated for another hour before delivering their findings.

In relation to Two True, the International Jury dismissed the protest against the boat relating to an incident in Sydney Harbour after the start.

Colortile - the International Jury dismissed the protest against the boat relating to an incident in Sydney Harbour after the start.

She's The Culprit - minor damage sustained in harbour incident. Protest against the boat dismissed by the International Jury.

Kioni - disqualified by the International Jury for an incident in Sydney Harbour after the start.

“I’m in great company with the names on that trophy,” Saies said when CYCA Commodore Matt Allen handed the orthopedic surgeon the stunning Tattersall’s Cup.

“This race cannot be won without a great team, a great boat and an ounce of Rolex Sydney Hobart luck,” Saies commented. He went on to say that the Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia, the club he represents, has a proud tradition of trying to field at least one local boat in the race each year.

A sistership to Two True finished second overall and had the protest against Saies been upheld, Mike Welsh’s Victorian entry Wicked would have been the winner.

“I do not want to win a race like this on a protest against a similar boat that sailed a better race,” Mike Welsh said yesterday. Fortunately, he was not put to the test and is very happy with the outcome.

“To us it would be a very hollow victory because they beat us across the line; they beat us fair and square and I seriously would like to see the guys win the race. However, we are quite prepared to accept the trophy if that is how it works out,” Welsh said yesterday.

Ironically, both owners had raced their previous yachts against each other at Geelong Week in Victoria over the past few years, Saies with True North, and Welsh with Alien, both coming up with podium results, but the two did not know each other until yesterday.

The similarities don’t end there. Like Welsh, Saies only purchased his new Beneteau First 40 this year and first took her to Audi Hamilton Island Race Week where she finished third in IRC Division 2.

This is only the second time a Beneteau design has won the race; Michael Spies skippered his Beneteau 40.7, First National Real Estate, to a win in 2003.

Third place overall went to the Sydney 38 Next, chartered by Ian Mason from the host club. A second Sydney 38, Swish, owned and skippered by Steven Proud was fourth.

Of the 95 yachts remaining in the 65th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, only Chris Dawe’s Polaris of Belmont remains at sea, but she is expected at the finish line in Hobart before midnight.

The official prizegiving for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart will be held at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania tomorrow morning starting at 11am.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

RSHYR: Protest dismissed, Two True declared overall winner of the Rolex Sydney Hobart

by Lisa Ratcliff

Andrew Saies’ newly launched Beneteau First 40 Two True has been declared the overall winner of the 65th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race after a protest against him over an incident on Sydney Harbour soon after the start was dismissed by the five person international jury this afternoon.

“I’ve been dreaming of winning this trophy since I was 12 years old,” an emotional Saies said.

Two True is only the fourth South Australian winner of the Tattersall’s Cup. The last was Kevan Pearce’s SAP Ausmaid in 2000.

The jury met at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania to hear evidence for an hour and a half and deliberated for a further hour before delivering their verdicts on five separate protests.

The protest against Two True relating to an incident on Sydney Harbour was dismissed by the International Jury.

The protest against Colortile relating to an incident on Sydney Harbour was dismissed by the International Jury.

The protest against She’s the Culprit relating to an incident on Sydney Harbour was dismissed by the International Jury.

Nick Athineos’ Beneteau 47.7 Kioni was disqualified from the Rolex Sydney Hobart 2009 by the international jury relating to an incident on Sydney Harbour
The official prizegiving for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart will be held at the RYCT tomorrow morning, 11am.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

RSHYR: She rolls into Hobart the Rolex Sydney Hobart PHS winner

SHE, Peter Rodgers, PHS Division 2 winner. Image copyright ROLEX/Daniel Forster.

by Di Pearson

Peter Rodgers did not quite take in the fact that he had provisionally won the PHS class overall in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race when he moored at Constitution Dock just before midday today; maybe the slight head injury he sustained yesterday during the race had affected him.

Rodgers was tired after spending five days at sea and was possibly suffering a spot of concussion after being whipped by wet sheets (ropes) as he came up the companionway of his modified Olsen, She, yesterday and hit his head as the boat went through a crash gybe.

When told of his provisional win, Rodgers responded: “Did we win our division – what division are we in? He did not seem to take in the fact that after his yacht had sailed its 14th Rolex Sydney Hobart, a win was finally on the table after previously scoring second places in the 2000 and 2003 races.

Rodgers, a 13-Hobart race veteran, was fortunate to have Colin Apps, an Intensive Care Paramedic aboard who checked his skipper out and bandaged him up, satisfied that he was alright to go on with the race.

“He’s (Rodgers) is OK. We just bandaged him up and made him take it easy for a while,” Apps said.

The 27 year-old yacht, which represents the race organiser, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, has had an extraordinary track record, with only one retirement recorded; in the disastrous 1998 race.

Apart from the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Rodgers keeps his ocean racing to a minimum, the Gosford Lord Howe Island race the only other major ocean race on his calendar, but he and his crew are experienced ocean racers.

Like most others in the race, Rodgers had his tale of woe in what is being billed one of the most “mentally tough” Hobart races in years, due to the constantly changing conditions and the slowness of the race.

“We lost 40 miles coming into Gabo Island and we never recovered from it,” he said, still not quite believing he’d won.

Colin Apps said of Rodgers: “He’s a club man; he makes up the guts of the sport and he’s a great yachtsman.”

Provisionally, the Andy Fairclough skippered Flying Fish Arctos, a McIntyre 55 from NSW is second overall in PHS. Namadgi, a Bavaria 44 owned by a syndicate of 26 from Canberra, is provisionally third. Moored right next to She, the two were celebrating on arriving in Constitution Dock.

Only one yacht remains at sea, Chris Dawe’s Polaris of Belmont, a Cole 43 from Gosford is due in by approximately 6.30pm this evening, meaning all will be tucked up safely in Hobart for the New Year celebrations.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

RSHYR: Two True's Win Hangs in the Balance

Mike Welsh' Beneteau First 40 Wicked, awaiting the outcome of a protest against Two True to determine whether they finished 1st or 2nd Overall. Image copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.

by Lisa Ratcliff

As the remainder of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet trickles across the finish line, Andrew Saies’ Beneteau First 40 Two True has moved into contention for the overall win. But first they have to survive this morning’s 10am protest.

It’s been a long wait for South Australian yachtsman Saies who waited for the overnight finish of the smallest in the original 100 strong fleet, Zephyr Hamilton Elevators, which was leading the IRC scoresheet. With the Nymph 33 now out of the picture in seventh, Saies’ victory hangs in the balance due to a protest lodged by She’s the Culprit following a start line collision that forced Tasmanian boat She’s the Culprit out of the race.

Should the protest be upheld, the coveted Tattersall’s Cup win for the 2009 race will go to a sistership Beneteau called Wicked, owned and skippered by Victorian Mike Welsh. The 2003 Rolex Sydney Hobart was won overall by Michael Spies’ First National Real Estate, a Beneteau 40.7.

Matt Allen's Ichi Ban prior to its dismasting on the delivery back to Sydney. Image copyright ROLEX/Daniel Forster.

There are 10 boats still to finish the 628 nautical mile ocean classic, nine of them due before lunchtime and one of them Kioni, a witness to the She’s the Culprit collision. Chris Dawe’s Polaris of Belmont will close the book on this year’s race, due later this afternoon – in time for Hobart’s New Year’s Eve celebrations - after spending six days at sea.

For what has been a pretty slow march to Hobart, amazingly there are still only five retirements.

The last time the corrected time win was affected by a protest was in 1985 when Garry Applebey’s Sagacious protested Peter Kurts’ Drakes Prayer following a start line incident. Sagacious won the protest and Drakes Prayer was penalised, costing Kurts victory. A winner for that race was never announced.

It was because of this incident that the organising club, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, moved to a two start line format for larger fleets.

Peter Rogers’ She is due in shortly. The crew has requested assistance at the dock for a crewman with a head injury and a cut over the eye.

In the early hours of this morning, Matt Allen’s Jones 70 Ichi Ban, was dismasted during the delivery back to Sydney when the D2 shroud broke approximately 170 nautical miles south of Eden. Everyone on board is OK and the boat is currently motoring to Eden.

The dockside announcement of the overall winner was due to take place on the Hobart waterfront at 11am this morning but will have to be rescheduled pending the outcome of this morning’s protest, which could take quite some time.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

Wednesday 30 December 2009

RSHYR: Handicap Winner Still in Balance

SHOGUN, Rob Hanna. Image copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.

by Susan Maffei Plowden

The smallest boat in the fleet, Zephyr Hamilton Elevators, was as of this evening, still well in the running to win the IRC overall handicap division of the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

Zephyr is a Sea Nymph 33 co-owned by James Connell and Alex Braddon from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. She won division E in the 2007 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

The Sea Nymph 33 design is extremely fast downwind and is well-suited to the strong northerly wind prevailing on the lower Tasmanian east coast, forecast to reach 20-30 knots by evening.

The final 40 nautical miles of the 628nm course, with the northerly forecast to blow at 15-25 knots with gusts to 30 knots, which will put Zephyr on the wind, and will certainly slow and may end her chances of winning the Tattersall's Cup for IRC overall handicap.

At 1550, Zephyr had 46 miles to go, and was doing 9.7 knots for an estimated finish at 2311, well inside the time she needed to take first place (0131 on Dec 31).

EVOLUTION RACING, Ray Roberts. Image copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.

Second and third on corrected time standings were two of Beneteau's new First 40s, which have already finished: Two True (Andrew Saies) from the Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia and Wicked (Mike Welsh) from Sandringham Yacht Club.

The Farr-designed First 40 is a replacement for the successful Beneteau 40.7. A Beneteau 40.7, First National Real Estate skippered by Michael Spies, was the overall handicap winner of the 2003 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

Two True, in second spot, still has to face a protest by the Tasmanian Inglis 39, She's the Culprit (Todd Leary), which was badly damaged after the race start in a jam of boats converging on the first rounding mark at Sydney Heads and had to retire.

With some of the boats named in the protest documents still racing, the International Jury has deferred the protest until tomorrow morning (Dec 31).

Zephyr has also signaled by radio to the race committee that she will lodge protests against three boats, without specifying who they are, after finishing. That protest could also arise from the crush of boats in the 100-boat fleet converging to leave Sydney Harbour.

Two True and Wicked finished fast under spinnakers before a moderate southeasterly sea breeze early this afternoon, with Two True crossing 22 minutes ahead of Wicked.

Saies said: "It was a very difficult and frustrating race. Having had a couple of light patches on the way down, we thought we were through it and then we got a third one, 25 miles from Tasman Light last night; around 3:00am we were flapping around for three hours."

RAN, Niklas Zennstrom. Image copyright ROLEX/Daniel Forster.

Tactician Brett Young said Two True had followed a strategy of always being well east of the rhumbline and had received a favourable push from the current in two major eddies.

"Our routing was always east of the rhumbline," said Young. "It's the first time I've ever done that. And we had really good competition from Wicked. They sailed hard, but we got through them. We really stuck to our game plan, even with the weather not being anything like what it was originally forecast. We only came into Tasmania when we could lay Tasman Island."

Young said the First 40 had performed well in the bumpy seaway following the southerly front. "Last night was a tough night, but that's when this boat comes into its own. In a seaway, it just goes faster."

Mark Welsh, boat manager and tactician on Wicked for his owner-skipper father Mike Welsh, said: "We chose the design after a lot of searching around the world for one that would be very competitive in IRC racing and it looks like we might have chosen successfully."

SHORTWAVE, Matthew Short. Image copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.

A third new First 40 was racing, Paca (Philippe Mengual) from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. "So our race really depended on watching the other two boats, said Mark. "All credit to Two True, they sailed an absolutely sensational race.

"On the second night out, even though we were with them off Gabo Island, we couldn't hold them. They sailed very, very well that night, got through us and from there we were just playing catch-up and we couldn't catch them. They did a great job."

The only IRC division decided, with all boats finished, is Division 0 for canting-keeled boats. The line honours winner Alfa Romeo (Neville Crichton), a Reichel Pugh100, won from the Cookson 50 Evolution Racing (Ray Roberts), with the modified Jones Volvo 70 Ichi Ban (Matt Allen) third.

With 48 yachts finished, and five yachts retired, there are 47 yachts still racing to the finish in Hobart.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

RSHYR: Slice of history for Lion New Zealand crew

Lion New Zealand. skippered by Alistair Moore, near Cape Raoul. Image copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.

by Lisa Ratcliff

Dave Dobbins’ unofficial New Zealand anthem ‘Slice of Heaven’ was playing loudly on the stereo and the huge black New Zealand flag was flying on the Whitbread maxi Lion New Zealand’s forestay as the crew celebrated their arrival in Hobart this morning, 25 years on from the boat’s Sydney Hobart line honours win.

The winning helmsman from 1984 was the late Sir Peter Blake and today his 26 year old daughter, Sarah-Jane, surveyed the Hobart waterfront as the large crowds enjoyed the summer sunshine and the spectacle of the annual Rolex Sydney Hobart finish.

“I did it to get to know Dad a little better,” said Sarah-Jane. When asked had the trip been emotional, she said “I’ve been busy and tired; when you stop and think about it, it can mess with your head.”

The 1984 Sydney Hobart was particularly rough while this year’s race has been fairly benign, apart from a couple of 30-35 knot squirts and rough seas that drenched the crew sitting on the rail.

Sam Cray, the 18 year old son of original crewmember Godfrey Cray reflected “we have a connection with what they did. They were the last of the Corinthian crew of that era who all volunteered and paid their own way. They were a bit like a travelling rugby team.”

Lion New Zealand’s modern day crew can identify with the Corinthian spirit, they have come under their own steam with support from skipper Alistair Moore and Blair Smeal and the Lion New Zealand Charitable Trust, which was established to preserve New Zealand’s unique maritime history by ensuring significant vessels remain in working order.

Cray was in awe of the boat’s arrival in Hobart in 40th place at 12:40pm today. “If anyone had said six months ago that I was going to do a Rolex Sydney Hobart I would have laughed.

“One spectator boat met us at the mouth of the Derwent River, then by the time we finished the fleet had built to 10. Back then [1984] the finish must have been amazing.”

The third offspring from the 1984 crew is Conrad Gundry, the 20 year old son of Simon Gundry. He described the welcome in Hobart this morning as “a fantastic reception”.

At the race finish, Bill Thomas, chef and camera operator, provided an extra special moment when he presented each of the 14 crew with an original crew supporter pin from the boat’s 1984 win.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

RSHYR: Tattersall's Cup still in doubt

Andrew Saeis' Two True en route to Hobart. Image copyright ROLEX/Daniel Forster.

by Susan Maffei Plowden

The smaller boats at the back of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, after surviving frustrating light air and calms off the southeastern coast of New South Wales, are blowing home fast today.

A light but steady nor'easter in Hobart this morning, has been giving the yachts finishing a comfortable one-leg day over the last 11 nautical miles of the course up the Derwent River.

The Bureau of Meteorology forecast for the lower east coast of Tasmania has a light east-northeast breeze this morning tending northeast-north during the morning and increasing to reach 20-30 knots by this evening.

But the winner of the race's most prized trophy, the Tattersall's Cup for the first boat on IRC overall corrected, may still be in doubt after the finish.

At 1200, Andrew Saies' Beneteau First 40 Two True, from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, was leading the IRC corrected time calculations from another First 40, Wicked (Mike Welsh) from Sandringham YC.

Seventh was the British Judel/Vrolijk 72 Ran (Niklas Zennstrom), moored since finishing yesterday, at the Kings Pier Marina.

Two True was 7.6nm from the finish doing 7 knots, looking set to cross over two hours inside the time needed to win.

But, after finishing she still has to survive a protest lodged against her by the Inglis 39 She's the Culprit (Todd Leary) over an incident soon after the start in Sydney Harbour. She's the Culprit, holed in a collision had to retire immediately.

The weather pattern, with its heavy mix of calms and light air before the northerly flow bringing the small boats home fast, has not suited the 50-72 footers that were most fancied in pre-race predictions.

Aboard one of smaller boats in this group, the Corby 49 Audi Centre Melbourne (formerly Flirt), was Roger Hickman who has sailed in 33 Hobart races, twice aboard Tattersall's Cup winners.

Hickman described how the mid-fleet boats were finally slowed by the southerly change, the final nail in the coffin for their overall handicap chances. "We were off Schouten Island, (102nm) from the finish, when it went hard south with a good 28-30 knots of breeze for four or five hours. Then it lightened up, but it got very bumpy off Maria Island.

"It was a tough night, cold but within the realms of acceptability. It went straight south so we had to tack into Maria, tack out, and back into Eaglehawk Neck and chipped our way up to Tasman.

"Half an hour before we got to Tasman the wind went a bit left. We just got to Tasman and then it was just soft, five knots, six knots, and then halfway across Storm Bay this little north-easterly came in, which I guess was the saving grace because we could well still be out there for another couple of hours."

The after-race beers with crew mates on the dock this morning evoked sad memories for Hickman ... of his partner and crewmate Sally Gordon who, along with the yacht's skipper Andrew Short, died in the wreck of Short's Shockwave on Flinders Islet during a Cruising Yacht Club of Australia overnight coastal race in October.

"This is my 33rd Sydney Hobart; the first one in 15 years without my mate Sal," he said. "And it's a piss-off because you get so used to relying on people. It's all about the camaraderie. It's not which Hobart you do; it's whom you do it with. And you make some wonderful, wonderful friends."

With 35 yachts finished, and five yachts retired, there are 60 yachts still racing to the finish in Hobart.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

RSHYR: Dolphins and the puffs when they are needed bring back memories of special mates

Roger Hickman dockside at Constitution Dock. Image copyright Bruce Montgomery.

by Bruce Montgomery

A pod of dolphins off Bicheno on the Tasmanian east coast, the biggest that veteran yachtsman Roger Hickman has ever seen, stopped him in his tracks on board the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race entrant Audi Centre Melbourne yesterday.

Until that point in the race, he had not really reflected on the night of October 10 when he lost his “first mate” Sally Gordon and “good mate” Andrew Short when Short’s maxi struck Flinders Islet off the coast of Wollongong and they died.

Another Rolex Sydney Hobart boat, the TP52 Shortwave, with 11 members of Andrew Short’s family making up the crew of 16, took time out to stop racing as they crossed the same latitude of Flinders Islet, 30 nautical miles further out to sea.

Andrew’s older brother Matthew went to the starboard side of the boat.

“We had agreed on what we were going to do when we got to that point on the course,” Matt’s wife Christine said.

“He said a few words to the kids. It wasn’t heavy. He said that Andrew had died doing what he enjoyed doing and he reminded the kids not to make any silly mistakes. We wore lifejackets for the whole race,” Christine Short said.

“After that, we threw one of his favourite hats into the sea, the one from last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart. From then on, we knew he was with us. Every time we needed some wind we said ‘Come on, Andrew, give us a puff’, and he did.”

The family plans to return to Flinders Islet in a couple of weeks to scatter Andrew’s ashes.

Hickman, on his 33rd Rolex Sydney-Hobart, reflected particularly on the loss of Gordon, his memories triggered not by passing the Wollongong coast but by the haunting presence of that pod of dolphins off Bicheno.

“Sally was a really good friend, a special lady. We sailed the world and did the last 13 Sydney Hobarts together,” Hickman said.

“The Rolex Sydney Hobart is not about the boats you sail on or the number of Sydney Hobarts you do or how bad the weather was, it’s the number of friends you make.

“Sally was a terrific crew person, a wonderful lady, very special, because she was my first mate.”

Then came the emotions of the dolphins, with which Sally Gordon had a special affinity.

“Off Bicheno we got more dolphins than any of us had ever seen, and I’ve been floating around for a long time,” Hickman said.

“They just played and played. Sally was always fascinated with them. That was sad because you think, ‘bugger’.

“Sally and I had done 20 Flinders Islet races over the last 15 years; with Sally, with the dolphins, it was just amazing. Every time we saw dolphins, she just loved them. You’d call her, she’d come up on deck and go to the bow and tap on it to attract them. No matter how close the race was, how furious the competition was, she was just obsessed with them.

“This was the best display I had ever seen. They just frolicked and jumped out of the water.

“I said to Peter Inchbold, ‘you can understand why people get religious because if you connected that with a god, a Sally Gordon type god, you would think they have come to haunt us’.

“That was quite poignant; very poignant. Very sad. You can visualise Andrew and Sally floating upside-down, lifeless, and that is very sad.

“You just think ‘bugger’,” Hickman said, and turned away.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

RSHYR: RAN on watch for Rolex double

Ran tying up at Constitution Dock and see if the crew can claim a rare double of overall wins in the Rolex Fastnent and Rolex Sydney Hobart. Image copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.

by Bruce Montgomery

The crew of the British 72-foot yacht RÁN is on tenterhooks this morning, perhaps on the verge of achieving a remarkable double in ocean racing, to win both the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Rolex Sydney Hobart on corrected time in the same year.

RÁN, owned by Niklas Zennstrom, the founder of Skype, the internet phone system, began the morning as the leader on corrected time for the race. It was fifth across the finish line yesterday just before 9.30am.

At 6.40am today, there are only two yachts in a position of beating the Judel/Vrolijk for the coveted Tattersall’s Cup, the Holy Grail of the Hobart race. However, both are still at sea, but facing near-headwinds once they reach Storm Bay.

Andrew Saies’ new South Australian 40-footer Two True, is currently showing as first overall, but needs to make better speed this morning. Two True has also had a protest lodged against her by the Tasmanian yacht She’s The Culprit following a collision at the first rounding mark of the course, which may affect her result.

Mark Welsh’s Victorian yacht Wicked, which was eight nautical miles north of Tasman Island, and Tony Kirby’s Sydney yacht Patrice Six, which, at Cape Raoul, is the closest of the three to the finish are also in with a chance.

Kirby and his X41 design, representing the race organiser, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, will need to average around nine knots to make the finish line by about 12.30pm today to win the Tattersall’s Cup from RÁN.

Stephen Ainsworth and his Loki crew, whom Kirby sailed with for some years, were last night keeping their fingers crossed for their old sailing mate who is on his 28th race to Hobart.

“It would be fantastic to see TK win the race; he’s a great guy and it would mean the world to him,” Ainsworth said last night after finishing the race himself.

Wicked has to finish by 3.10pm. At 6.40am she still had 60 nautical miles to sail, as the crow flies, but the weather bureau has unfavourable winds forecast a large proportion of the fleet rounds Tasman. This means Wicked is likely to be putting in plenty of tacks, particularly in the Derwent, which will take up extra time.

The three yachts all have finish line ETA’s within the time limit, but only time will tell.

The forecast for Tasman Island to South East Cape for the rest of today is for north-east winds of 5-15 knots increasing to 10-20 knots during the morning and to 15-25 knots near Tasman during the afternoon. Seas are expected to rise to two metres, with a south-west swell of three metres, but dropping.

Having won the 2009 Rolex Fastnet in August, RÁN went to Sardinia in September to win the Mini Maxi Division 00 of the Maxi World Rolex Cup and then came to Australia specifically to try to win the Fastnet/Sydney-Hobart double.

Zennstrom’s yacht is a new Judel-Vrolijk 72, launched in April and comes with a formidable reputation. She had an equally impressive crew that included America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race yachtsmen, including skipper Tim Powell, Steven Hayles, Adrian Stead, Andy Hemmings, Richard Bouzaid and Richard Meacham.

At 8.15am, 26 yachts had finished the race and Sailors with disAbilities (David Pescud) was the next yacht due. There have been no further retirements beyond the existing five, leaving 71 yachts still at sea.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

JVT: Check-up for Groupama 3

François Salabert helming Groupama 3 on her way back up the Atlantic Ocean.

by Vincent Borde and Caroline Muller

Expected to make landfall in Lorient early yesterday evening, in the end it took Groupama 3 until 2330 hours to tie up in her home port in an absolute downpour. Soaked to the skin but happy, the crew of the maxi trimaran took 16 and a half days to make it back from Cape Town, South Africa. Welcomed home by Franck Cammas and his team, the ten crew will now be able to enjoy a much deserved break as the technicians take over to prepare Groupama 3 for a fresh attempt to conquer the Jules Verne Trophy the minute the weather conditions are favourable at the start of 2010.

Wearing a beard, the features slightly drawn despite a big, telling smile of pleasure on making landfall, Fred Le Peutrec is a fulfilled skipper: "The delivery trip went very smoothly with a crew made up of some excellent sailors, half of which were on Groupama 3 for the first time. We've sailed well and I really appreciated the role of skipper, which requires you to shoulder a large amount of responsibility and to make decisions in view of what were difficult weather forecasts at times, particularly over recent days". However, Fred is also a happy man: "We're all delighted about making it home and seeing our families and children again to celebrate Christmas, which will certainly be joyful albeit a little late".

Seated at the table despite the late hour (thank you to the team at La Base restaurant), the sailors and landlubbers didn't waste any time exchanging their impressions of the voyage, giving their opinion about Groupama 3 and about the work which will ensue: "It really is a superb boat, that is very pleasant to helm. She never stops but she does require a great deal of attention" says Ludovic Aglaor, the current holder of the Jules Verne Trophy, who came along especially to see his friends Jacques Caraës and Ronan Le Goff.

Alongside him, Clément Surtel continues: "Each time it was my turn at the helm, the first ten minutes were stressful as I was only just finding my feet on Groupama 3, which is very sensitive. The following fifty minutes were a pure delight, to the extent that I found it hard to give up my position to the next person. I really appreciated the atmosphere onboard too. It was fantastic".

As for Eric Lamy, a full-time member of the Groupama team for a number of years, he will shoulder the role of Boat Captain at the end of the Jules Verne Trophy. The pleasure he experienced when sailing was only equalled by seeing his two daughters and his wife again: "The climb up the Atlantic was really great and I now know my way around Groupama 3 really well. She goes very quickly. When you're helming and you see the number 37 indicating the boat speed, you tell yourself how lucky you are to be where you are. It's magical" concludes the very talented sailor and cook.

Passing from group to group, Franck Cammas thanks the crew which have returned Groupama 3 safely back to port. Already the list of work to be carried out over the next few days is taking shape in the skipper's mind: "We're going to change the standing rigging as it's already covered over half a circumnavigation of the globe and it would be risky to keep it. We're also going to reinforce the centreline on the aft edge of the floats where the engineers have identified a weak point. The rest of the work will now focus on the smaller details due to the normal wear and tear after 16,000 miles on the water".

Happy to see his men and his trimaran again, Cammas hasn't lost sight of his objective, the Jules Verne Trophy: "We're closely monitoring the evolution in the weather with Sylvain Mondon from Météo France. For the time being there is no weather window. As such Fred (Le Peutrec), Ronan (Le Goff) and Jacco (Caraës), who all made the delivery trip aboard Groupama 3, will be able to get some rest before setting off around the world with the same crew as during our last attempt".

With the lateness of the hour, the crew gradually leave La Base to get home to a dry, motionless bed. On the pontoon, it's now over to the technicians to be on watch.

The crew of Groupama 3 for this delivery trip were:

1. Fred Le Peutrec
2. Ronan Le Goff
3. Jacques Caraës
4. Eric Lamy
5. François Salabert
6. Clément Surtel
7. Ludovic Aglaor
8. Thierry Duprés du Vorsent
9. Mayeul Riflet
10. Nick Legatt

Cammas - Groupama

ICAP Leopard narrowly beaten in Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race

100ft British super-maxi beaten by Kiwi and Australian rivals, just missing out on historic treble

ICAP Leopard during the Sydney-Hobart. Image copyright Andrea Francolini.

by Annabel Merrison

At 05:45 (local time) on the 29 December 2009 ICAP Leopard, the 100ft British super-maxi racing yacht owned by Helical Bar PLC chief executive Mike Slade, crawled up the Derwent river to finish third in what has been a light and arduous Sydney-Hobart race. After a long and hard-fought battle with her lighter rivals Wild Oats XI and eventual winner Alfa Romeo, the exhausted ICAP Leopard crew crossed the Tasmanian finish line after a torturous two days, 16 hours and 45 minutes at sea.

Whilst the Rolex Sydney-Hobart is well known for the fearsome conditions that it often throws at its competitors, this year’s edition was shifty and tactical almost from the word go. Faced with unstable weather conditions for the entire race, tacticians and navigators were hard-pressed to find every puff of breeze in order to gain any advantage after an uncharacteristically cold and blustery opening few hours.

ICAP Leopard’s veteran navigator Hugh Agnew commented: “This has been one of the most challenging races I have ever come up against. Forecasts changed hourly in the run-up to the start and it was impossible to predict the weather right up until the finish gun fired. It has been an immense tactical battle. We are disappointed not to have taken line honours but our congratulations go out to Alfa Romeo. They opened up a gap on day two and sailed an impeccable race from then on.”

This result means that ICAP Leopard has also missed out on a historic treble. Having been first home in the Rolex Fastnet and Middle-Sea races earlier in the season, Slade and his crew had the opportunity to be the first to win all three “offshore classics” in a calendar year. Unfortunately, with conditions suiting their lightweight rivals, it wasn’t to be.

Owner and skipper of ICAP Leopard, Mike Slade, commented: “Another Rolex Sydney-Hobart race and another cracking battle! Whilst this race may not have been a ‘classic’ it was a fantastic tussle. We are disappointed, of course, not to have taken line honours and the treble but we have had a brilliantly successful season nonetheless. The crew has been fantastic. In conditions that have not always suited us we have matched and even outpaced our rivals and it is a huge testament to Chris [Sherlock - Boat Captain] and the team that we managed to keep Wild Oats behind us for so long.

“All that remains now is for us to paint the town red, beat the locals at a spot of cricket and enjoy spending some time with old friends before the flight home!”

ICAP Leopard's Crew for the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race 2009


ICAP Leopard

Tuesday 29 December 2009

RSHYR: Image Collage of the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

ALFA ROMEO, Neville Crichton, line honours winner of the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Image copyright ROLEX/Daniel Forster.

ALFA ROMEO approaching the Derwent River. Image copyright ROLEX/Daniel Forster.

ALFA ROMEO, Neville Crichton, passing Tasman Island. Image copyright ROLEX/Daniel Forster.

ICHI BAN, Matt Allen. Image copyright ROLEX/Daniel Forster.

LAHANA off Tasman Island. Image copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.

LAHANA, Peter Millard and John Honan. Image copyright ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo.

SHOGUN, Rob Hanna. Image copyright ROLEX/Daniel Forster.

LOKI, Stephen Ainsworth. Image copyright ROLEX/Daniel Forster.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race