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  1. Peter Gustafsson
    Dec 26, 2008 @ 12:08

    Quantum Racing leder på korrigerad tid. Och för alla er arrangörer så är det så här man skall resovisa resultat under ett race så att alla fattar, “Estimated Corrected Time”.

    Lead yachts setting breakneck pace

    1900HRS, 26 DECEMBER 2008

    “This is the most comfortable first night we’ve ever had,” is how 26 Rolex Sydney Hobart race veteran Bruce Taylor summed up life on board his IRC 40 Chutzpah this afternoon.

    “We have a beautiful breeze, we have our large spinnaker up and we are slowly heading out to sea as the wind is moving towards the north. We are doing 16 knots and the world is a wonderful place.”

    Bruce Taylor could have been speaking on behalf of everyone on board the competing yachts this afternoon as the fleet rushed down the New South Wales coast at a frantic pace.

    By 5pm, just four hours into the 628 nautical mile race that began at 1pm this afternoon from Sydney Harbour, Wild Oats XI was two thirds of the way between Kiama and Jervis Bay and just ahead of Skandia, the next group of TP52’s and 60 footers were already abreast of Kiama, and the main body of the fleet was already off Wollongong and Port Kembla.

    “We have been sailing between 16 and 20 knots for the past three hours and making good progress,” said Mark Bradford from the Queensland Reichel/Pugh 66 Black Jack.

    “We are getting ready for tonight, we are expecting 25 knots of wind. In the dark it’s trickier to keep the boat on its feet but we’re pretty comfortable at 22 knots true and have had no problems.”

    Despite being the third yacht out of Sydney Heads Bradford thought their start was less than perfect. With Peter ‘Billy’ Merrington doing a great job on the helm they eventually found clear air and began passing boats.

    While the spectator craft swarmed around Wild Oats XI they left Black Jack pretty much alone.

    “We had no problems with the spectator boats,” he said, “though it seems the further south we got the more drunk the spectators.”
    At 1700hrs this afternoon Bryan Northcote, navigator aboard Ray Roberts’ Cookson 50 Quantum Racing was also pleased with their progress.

    “We had a good start and were happy to lead (the bigger Reichel/Pugh 55) Yendys out of the harbour,” he said.

    “They are abeam of us now and all the TP52’s are astern and closer into the coast. We are currently doing 17 knots with some slight assistance from the current.

    “We plan to stay east of the rhumbline (the shortest route to Hobart) and set up for Bass Strait. Depending on the trough that is expected tomorrow the critical entry into Bass Strait will be the main tactical decision.”

    At 1900hrs this evening Geoff Ross’ Yendys was leading the IRC handicap chase, navigator Will Oxley commenting, “We are just rolling on here. We were very happy with our start and trying to set ourselves up to make the best use of the southerly current. Spirits are high on board.

    “Fantastic downwind sailing and the modifications we made to the boat are a big improvement to our downwind performance so we are happy about that!” added Oxley, who reported 20-22 knots of NE breeze.

    Chutzpah has emerged as a firm handicap favorite, running second to Quantum Racing in the betting. Taylor is very pleased with how the day has gone so far.

    “We had a nice start. We went out the heads with boats bigger than us and that’s a happy place to be. Right now we are going along with some Volvo 60s and 50 footers so we are very comfortable.”
    For the faster boats, Bass Strait is speeding towards them sooner rather than later, and with a front that will bring lighter westerly winds due to move through the Strait tomorrow, important tactical decisions will need to be made during the next few hours.

    How far into Bass Strait they are when those lighter winds settle in, and how well they have set themselves up for the angle in towards the Tasmanian coast will be critical to the race record hopes of Wild Oats XI and the handicap fortunes of a great many wannabes.

    For the smaller boats, who look to be out of the running this year for a shot at the Tattersall’s Cup, life is a little more relaxed although the goal is still the same.

    Following a meal of wife Cathy’s meat and potato stew washed down with chocolate Yogos, Sean Langman and his crew of five aboard Maluka of Kermandie, the smallest and oldest boat in the fleet were tonight approaching Kiama ahead of a 15 knot northerly breeze.


  2. Peter Gustafsson
    Dec 26, 2008 @ 16:22


    December 26, 2008

    Wild Oats XI, Bob Oatley’s canting-keeled Reichel/Pugh maxi, chasing her fourth consecutive line honours win, was leading the Rolex Sydney-Hobart race after four hours of sailing. She had pretty much led all the way after clearly after winning the start in Sydney Harbour. At 18.30AEDT, in a friendly following northeasterly of 20-22 knots, the 98-foot Wild Oats XI under her big asymmetric spinnaker was bowling along at 18-20 knots of boat speed, nearing Jervis Bay and about 12 nautical miles offshore.

    Behind Wild Oats XI, lies Grant Wharington’s Skandia. The 66-foot canting-keeled Black Jack (Peter Harburg) was another 8.5 nm behind, half a nautical mile ahead of the modified Volvo 70 Ichi Ban (Matt Allen). Then came a group of fixed keelers: Alan Brierty’s new 62-foot Limit only 1.5 nm behind Ichi Ban, followed closely by Stephen Ainsworth’s near sister ship, the 63-foot Loki, ASM Shockwave (Andrew Short), an eight-year-old 80-footer and Geoff Ross’ 55-foot Yendys.

    Ray Roberts’ Cookson 50 Quantum, a canting keeler, was slightly further out to sea, in more wind pressure, leading the TP52s Wot Now (Graeme Wood), Ragamuffin (Syd Fischer), Quest (Bob Steel), Cougar II (Alan Whiteley), Wot Yot (Bill Sykes) and the R/P 47 Secret Men’s Business 3 (Geoff Boettcher).

    This leading group was sailing comfortably, on port gybe in slight seas, laying courses either side of 180-degrees that put them almost straight on course for Tasman Island, the last rounding mark of the 628 nm course 41n miles from the finish in Hobart. Black Jack’s skipper Mark Bradford said by telephone from the boat that she had been sailing comfortably, in 22 knots of breeze under asymmetric spinnaker at 16-20 knots of boat speed for the previous three hours, with some crewmen sleeping below. “We are resting everyone up, expecting more breeze, 25 knots tonight,” he said.

    At 1900 AEDT, Geoff Ross’ Yendys was leading the IRC handicap chase according to the CYCA Yacht Tracker. Navigator Will Oxley commented, “We are just rolling on here. We were very happy with our start and trying to set ourselves up to make the best use of the southerly current. Spirits are high on board.”

    “Fantastic downwind sailing and the modifications we made to the boat are a big improvement to our downwind performance so we are happy about that!” added Oxley, who also reported 20-22 knots of NE breeze.

    The leading bunch, besides facing tougher sailing in stronger wind overnight, was facing decisions with the north-easterly intensifying offshore, whereas the current ahead is stronger inshore on the west side of an eddy off Bateman’s Bay and running towards the south at two knots for a useful shove.

    Under a swirl of television and photographers’ helicopters, the 100-boat fleet started cleanly in a classic Sydney Harbour 12-15 knot north-easterly sea breeze on a perfect Sydney summer’s day that had brought out thousands of spectators on harbour headlands and cliff tops overlooking the Tasman Sea, and on boats. Although the tide was ebbing at a speed of half a knot in the main channel, there were no recalls.

    Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards, who manoeuvres the giant maxi like a dinghy, again pulled off one of his perfect starts as first boat to clear the line from the pin end.
    Richards and his tactician Iain Murray did not appear to have much room to clear the pin and tack back towards mid-harbour as they reached the spectator boat enclosure line on the northwestern shore. But their judgement and Wild Oats XI’s startling acceleration off the line enabled them to quickly tack onto port and clear the nearest chasing boats, the TP52 Wot Now and the fleet’s other 98-foot canting-keeled maxi, Skandia.

    While Wild Oats XI sped clear of the chasing bunch on a long port tack across the harbour Skandia, her main rival for line honours became caught up in the following bunch. Unable to point as high and slower through tacks, while her canting keel was swung from one side to the other, she fell into disturbed airflow firstly from Wot Now to windward and then Limit, which lee-bowed her. Wild Oats XI was first to round the initial turning mark between North and South Head, with Skandia about a minute behind; then Loki, Black Jack and Limit in close proximity.

    Unfortunately for the leaders, the perfect conditions, with only slight seas outside Sydney Heads, were also perfect for power-boaters. While exclusion zones retain spectator boats inside the harbour, they are free to roam offshore. A swarm of them closed around Wild Oats XI and Skandia as they cleared the seaward mark, about 4.5 nm from the start, with Wild Oats XI 1min 8sec ahead. As the maxis set their spinnakers for the dash south, Wild Oats XI particularly suffered in the wash from the unruly spectator boats. Skandia, sailing a slightly hotter angle out to sea, gained and at times looked to have the edge on her rival.

    With the leaders almost a quarter of the way down the track to Hobart a fast time looks on the cards, with some predictions still suggesting a record pace. At the final weather briefing this morning, these predictions looked less than secure with two changes in conditions lying in wait. The first is a trough forming in Bass Strait that looks to be pushing through the existing high pressure and creating a large patch of unstable wind for the unwary. The second trap is the eastern seaboard of Tasmania where the winds look variable in direction as the High Pressure northerlies fight a series of frontal westerlies for ascendancy.

    Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI established the current Course Record of 42 hours 40 minutes in 2005. In order to better this time the first yacht needs to be at the finish in Hobart before 0740 AEDT on Sunday 28th December.

    The 100-boat fleet in the 64th Rolex Sydney Hobart has crews representing the USA, UK, New Zealand, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Russia and New Caledonia as well as every Australian state.


  3. Leino
    Dec 26, 2008 @ 22:16

    Kul att underbart vackra Ragtime hänger med bra. Lika kul att Skandia har minst sträcka kvar trots övertaget Wild Oates förväntas och visade sig ha fram till kryssmärket efter starten.


  4. Peter Gustafsson
    Dec 26, 2008 @ 23:31


    December 26, 2008

    As the two canting-keeled maxis Wild Oats XI (Bob Oatley) and Skandia (Grant Wharington) swapped the lead overnight as the Rolex Sydney Hobart pace slowed with the nor’easter fading along the south coast of New South Wales, drama was unfolding further back in the fleet. The crew of the Farr 53 Georgia, owned by Rolex Sydney Hobart veterans John Williams and Graeme Ainley, had to abandon the yacht in a sinking condition after she broke her rudder and rapidly took on water through the rudder shaft last night.

    Georgia was about 19 nautical miles east of Ulladulla on the southeast coast of New South Wales when she sent out a Mayday distress call at around 2120 AEDT. The crew sent up a red flare and activated the yacht’s EPIRB distress signal. With the CYCA radio relay vessel JBW communicating instructions, the Volvo 60 Telcoinabox Merit (Les Rodriguez), which was just a mile away and the veteran yacht Ragtime (USA/Chris Welsh), four miles away, answered the distress call.

    As the situation onboard deteriorated, Georgia launched her life raft and, in two relays of seven, her 14 crew members transferred via the life raft to Telcoinbox Merit, with the text-book rescue completed at 2300. Merit headed towards Batemans Bay intending to transfer the Georgia crew to the police launch Nemesis at daylight. Georgia, when they left her, was floating with water at deck level and the mainsail still set. Nemesis intends taking the crew into Ulladulla.

    Williams and Ainley, who is a former president of Yachting Australia, are two of the fleet’s most experienced sailors. Williams has raced to Hobart 25 times and Ainley 24. From Sandringham Yacht Club, Melbourne, the two previously shared ownership of Bacardi, a veteran Peterson 44, which placed second in the rough 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart race. They bought Georgia, originally owned by Auckland sailor Jim Farmer, in 2007 and raced her in the 2007 Rolex Sydney Hobart.

    At 0500 AEDT, Skandia was leading Wild Oats XI by 2.8nm as the two leaders passed Gabo Island, off the NSW/Victoria border to begin crossing Bass Strait to Tasmania, with 388n miles to go on the 628nm course. The wind at Gabo Island was blowing at 12-14 knots from the north-east. Skandia, was 55nm east of Gabo doing 13.5 knots on port gybe while Wild Oats XI, another two miles further east, was heading back in towards her rival on starboard gybe at 14 knots.

    Third, 15nm behind the largest in the fleet was Peter Harburg’s canting-keeled Reichel/Pugh 66 Black Jack, further inshore but heading out on port gybe at 20 knots, followed closely by ASM Shockwave (Andrew Short), a fixed keel 80-footer, also designed by Reichel/Pugh.

    The overall IRC handicap leader was calculated to be Quest, a TP52 owned by Bob Steel who won the Rolex Sydney Hobart’s major handicap prize, the Tattersalls’ Cup, with a previous Quest in 2002. Second was Bill Wild’s Welbourn 42 Wedgetail and third the 55-foot Yendys (Geoff Ross). The backmarkers in the fleet, including the smallest yachts racing south, Maluka of Kermandie (Sean Langman) and Nest Property (Murray Wilkes) are 150nm behind the leaders. American yacht Ragtime is first foreign yacht on the water and lies 12th in the overall handicap standings. A few miles behind lies Walross IV (GER), in 8th on handicap, with Gery Trentesaux’s Lady Courrier (FRA), close by. Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI established the current Course Record of 42 hours 40 minutes in 2005. In order to better this time the first yacht needs to be at the finish in Hobart before 0740 AEDT on Sunday 28th December.


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