Friday, 8 October 2010

RSHYR: Sailing Royalty Signs Up as 50th Application for Great Race Lodged

Sir Robin Knox Johnston at the helm. Image copyright Marinepics/

by Lisa Ratcliff

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s premier event, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, has caught the fancy of sailing royalty with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston signing up to crew the British entrant Titania of Cowes.

Knox-Johnston was the first person to sail single handed and non-stop around the world between 14 June 1968 and 22 April 1969. In 1994 he co-skippered Enza New Zealand with the late Sir Peter Blake to take the Jules Verne Trophy in 1994 for the fastest circumnavigation of the world and the following year was knighted.

For his first attempt at Australia’s ultimate blue water event he will join the boat’s owner/skipper and club mate Richard Dobbs. Both are members of the Imperial Poona Yacht Club, a convivial and select institution founded in the 1930s which challenges current Oxford undergraduates to a backwards sailing race down the Thames each year.

The 68 foot Swan, formerly Chippewa which was built in Finland in 2000 and has raced successfully in the USA, Caribbean and Europe, will sail 17,000 nautical miles to get to the Sydney Harbour start line for Boxing Day and her race crew will comprise Olympians, Whitbread round the world and America’s Cup sailors.

“The Rolex Sydney Hobart Race is seen as one of the world’s great classic yacht races. But how can you discuss it intelligently unless you have completed it?” queries Knox-Johnston, adding that he jumped at the opportunity when invited by Dobbs.

Titania of Cowes is amongst the first 50 applications of entry lodged with the organising club. Numbers are similar to this time last year but with more interstate applicants buoying the preliminary starter’s list.

“The Rolex Sydney Hobart will always be top heavy with New South Wales entrants but with strong IRC fleets building in others states we are noticing a broad spread of entries from the outset,” said CYCA Commodore Garry Linacre.

“When interstate boats such as the South Australian Beneteau Two True win the major trophy, as they did last year, the lure of the event is further enhanced as sailors from around the country and around the globe sign on with their eyes on the main prize, the Tattersall’s Cup,” added Linacre.

Every Australian state is represented in the first 50 applications for entry while countries include Germany, the UK, USA, Switzerland, France, Hong Kong and Russia.

Champion Australian offshore yachtsman and two-time Rolex Sydney Hobart overall winner, Roger ‘Hicko’ Hickman is a veteran of 33 eastern Bass Strait crossings as part of the armada that leaves Sydney annually at 1pm on Boxing Day. For the 66th edition of the great race Hickman has joined forces with well-known Russian Dragon sailor, Mikhail Muratov, to bring a part Russian crewed entry to the 2010 race.

Owners CYCA Commodore Garry Linacre and past Commodore David Fuller have loaned Muratov and Hickman their Corby 49 Vamp (previously Limit and Flirt) to campaign the 628 nautical mile passage south for Russia, although the boat will fly the host club’s burgee.

Mikhail Muratov - Co-skipper of VAMP and well-known Russian Dragon Sailor. Image copyright Team Murka.

Muratov is bringing five Russians to the mix and Hickman will provide the balance from his long time Australian crew. Following this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the co-skippers will compete against each other in the International Dragon World Championship in Melbourne in January.

The 50th application for entry received was Darryl Hodgkinson’s Beneteau First 45 Victoire.

Applications for entry to compete in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2010 close at1700hrs AEST on Monday 1 November and can be completed online at

Applicants who successfully pass the entry criteria will be invited to lodge their entry form by the closing date, 1700 hours on 3 December, 2010.

The current list of applicants is here.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race