Wild Oats XI near finish (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
|DOUBLE TRIPLE WITH ICING ON THE TOP
|Robert Oatley’s Wild Oats XI was announced this morning as the Overall Winner of the 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart. It had become clear overnight that none of the yachts still at sea could better the corrected time established by the 30.48m (100 foot) maxi skippered by Mark Richards. Wild Oats XI has repeated its historic performance of 2005, when it secured the treble of Line Honours, Overall Winner and Race Record.
Aside from Rani, in the very first race, Wild Oats XI is the only yacht ever to have achieved this impressive display of dominance. She has now done it twice. Bob Oatley was understandably impressed: “The main aim was the fastest time. To get the handicap too was fantastic, a real bonus. Getting the record trip was really the icing on the cake.”
By 15:00 AEDT on 29 December, 13 yachts had finished the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart including two of the international entries: KLC Bengal from Japan and Ambersail from Lithuania. Last year’s winner, Loki, has so far come closest to unseating Wild Oats XI. Finishing last night at just before 21:00 even she was two hours adrift on corrected time. Black Jack, which arrived an hour before Loki, lies in third overall. Chris Bull’s Jazz holds fourth.
Victorian yacht Calm had appeared to have the best opportunity of the yachts destined to arrive before dawn today. Needing to finish before 01:31, she was behind schedule yesterday afternoon. Owner Jason Van der Slot believed they would pick up pace but had not counted on stalling close to the finish: “We parked for two hours off Tasman Island and for an hour in the Derwent. We were aiming to finish in time to win and up to Tasman Island we were on track. It had all gone according to plan until then.” She eventually finished at 06:06 this morning and holds fifth place.
Five yachts have retired so far and, for the 58 yachts still racing, a difficult evening lies ahead. In the lee of northeastern Tasmania there is a substantial wind shadow. From midway down the eastern seaboard to Tasman Island spindrift is flying off 3 metre waves in a 26 – 36 knot west-southwesterly. These conditions are forecast to prevail through much of 30 December too.
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Wild Oats approaching the Hobart finish for 2012 Line Honors (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)
|On the morning of 28 December 2012, Wild Oats XI once again stamped her name in the Rolex Sydney Hobart history books. From the moment the start gun fired on Boxing Day the silver wraith seemed intent on condemning her rivals for line honours to the position of also-rans. Wild Oats XI’s finish time of 1 day 18 hours 23 minutes and 12 seconds sliced 16 minutes 58 seconds off her own record. Another commanding performance in a race she has begun to treat as her own.
Without doubt skipper Mark Richard’s crew of thoroughbred racers had some luck, but their race was not without problems. The first night saw the wind drop in the scheduled transition and her opponents close down the lead she had worked to establish during the afternoon. The crew held their nerve and once the northeasterly settled in they were off.
Ragamuffin-Loyal’s endeavours to stay in touch with Wild Oats XI were hampered by a headsail gear failure from which the 100-foot maxi never recovered; Syd Fischer’s equally accomplished crew forced to accept the unwelcome role of bridesmaid. Ragamuffin-Loyal finished almost five hours behind Wild Oats XI. Had the apparent error of starting the race too early been converted to a penalty, her crew’s sense of disappointment would have been complete. Fortunately, the International Jury found that race officials failed to notify Ragamuffin-Loyal after five minutes that they had jumped the start, leaving the crew unaware that they should have returned and restarted.
By 20:30 AEDT only four yachts had completed the 628 nm course. Lahana rounded out the maxi contingent just before 19:00, while Black Jack was the first mini maxi some 40 minutes later. Loki and Ichi Ban will be next home. None have so far been capable of posting a time that knocks Wild Oats XI off the overall podium position. The door may be open for a smaller yacht if the weather obliges. Calm, Jazz, Quest and Shogun look best placed to foil a second triple crown. They need the wind to shift substantially in their favour, something it has singularly failed to do so far.
Wild Oats XI near finish (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
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MALUKA OF KERMANDIE the smallest yacht in the fleet (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
The 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart got underway in exceptional conditions. The forecast southerly breeze providing the perfect angle for a spinnaker start and run down the harbour. The angle would prove less kind as the yachts exited the Sydney Heads and made their turn towards Hobart, finding the 20 – 25 knots now firmly on the nose. Mark Richards and Wild Oats XI looked to be in no mood to be interrupted in her bid to claim a sixth line honours, blasting off the line and showing Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin Loyal a clean pair of heels before popping out of the Heads comfortably in the lead.
An interesting night lies ahead. The decision how far to head out to sea was the first conundrum facing the crews. So far the bulk of yachts appear firm in the belief that staying inshore, and inside the rhumb line will pay better. Only, one or two boats have shown a determination to head offshore for any length of time. Mike Broughton, navigator on Chris Bull’s Jazz, felt ahead of the start that the fleet would do well to stay inshore for the initial section of the race, certainly until the major swing in wind direction expected during the night. This transition should see the wind back to the northeast and will have the yachts running under spinnaker for an extended period.
Start of the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart
Earlier this morning, Gordon Maguire, tactician on Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki, indicated some of their pre-race routing suggested the bigger yachts could profit enormously from the predicted northeasterly. If it arrives on cue, they could bite a huge chunk out of the course during the hours of darkness and be lying off Green Cape by mid-morning on the second day, 27 December. The small boats, meanwhile, such as race veteran Roger Hickman’s Wild Rose, might only find themselves parallel with Jervis Bay as dawn breaks. The difference in power between segments of the fleet will be all too apparent at this juncture.
Wild Oats XI leads out of Sydney Harbor (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)
WILD OATS XI, after the start
At 17:30 AEDT Wild Oats XI was 8 nautical miles north east of Kiama travelling at 12 knots, with some 50 nm under her belt after 4.5 hours of sailing. Any thought of setting a new record seemed to be on hold as navigator Adrienne Cahalan called in to report the wind speed dropping as evening arrives. Ragamuffin Loyal lies within striking distance just astern. Lahana, Ichi Ban and Black Jack round out the top five on the water. Conditions have been wet and hard on crews during these first few hours and the measure of performance differential between front-runners and back markers is clearly demonstrated by Charlie’s Dream. Averaging just 3.4 knots, Peter Lewis and crew were parallel with Botany Bay having knocked a mere 13 nm off the 628nm course distance.
Black Jack charges down the harbor (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
The start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart is like few other yacht races. The natural amphitheatre formed by the deep-water harbour offers great viewing potential from the water, at water level from the beaches and coves, and grandstand opportunities from higher ground. Every Sydney-sider has a favourite location, and South Head must be one of the most popular and dramatic. A huge crowd always assembles to watch the fleet barrel down the harbour and make the sharp out into open water. This year’s spectacle was worth the effort involved. After a dreadful Christmas Day, when rain and wind battered Sydney, Boxing Day has been a joy. Blue sky and reasonably warm temperatures brought the locals out in their thousands to cheer the determined and enthusiastic crews off on their compelling adventure.
Crowds on the South End enjoy the spectacle. (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)
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Syd Fischer and Tony Ellis (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
The 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race promises to be one for the true believers; if you admire people who constantly challenge your values, fire your imagination, refuse to quit when the going gets tough, can’t be told that they are too old, are too stubborn to give it away and who keep coming back for more, then this year’s race is a Christmas present you’ll never forget.
At centre stage of the race, again run by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, is Sydney yachtsman Syd Fischer, a national living treasure who is still in the grip of finish line fever. At the age of 85, when most men of his age might be shuffling around a retirement village in their slippers with their trousers braced up around their chest, Fischer wants to win line honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht race – again.
He’s taken over the boat to do it, Investec Loyal, last year’s first across the line. The 100-foot super maxi becomes the latest iteration of Fischer’s Ragamuffin series, Ragamuffin Loyal.
Syd – lean, leather-skinned, laconic, highly competitive and still the subject of discussion for his exploits on and off the water – personifies Sydney: he won’t lie down.
The challenge he mounts at the front of the 80-boat fleet caps off an indifferent year for Australian sport internationally, a disastrous year for world cycling, but a great year for Australian sailing.
We had success at the Olympics with Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page in the 470 Men’s, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen in the 49er, Tom Slingsby in the Laser and Olivia Price, Nina Curtis, and Lucinda Whitty in the Women’s Match Racing in the Elliott 6. The TV coverage at the superb Weymouth venue has reinvigorated interest in sailing and helped to demystify it for non-sailors.
Fischer will be on his 44th Sydney-Hobart. He has already won line honours wins with Ragamuffin in 1988 and 1990, with an overall win in 1992 aboard an updated Ragamuffin.
This year he is leasing Investec Loyal with a view to knocking off five-time line honours winner and race record holder (1:18:40:10 set in 2005) Wild Oats XI, whose skipper, Mark Richards, is just young enough to be his grandson.
Last year Loyal, skippered by owner Anthony Bell, beat Wild Oats XI in the fourth closest finish in the race’s history; three minutes and eight seconds.
This month Richards and Wild Oats XI recaptured a psychological advantage over Fischer by taking line honours in the 180 nautical mile Cabbage Tree Island Race, when Ragamuffin Loyal had to drop her mainsail after a pin dropped out of the port runner block. Sailing with a scratch crew, Fischer made repairs, but was unwilling to risk the rig. It must be noted she was eight miles behind Oats at the time and contesting her first ocean race with Fischer.
Prior to winning last year’s race, Loyal was second across the line in 2010 and fourth in 2009. Not only has Fischer leased Loyal for the next two Hobart races, he will buy it outright when the lease runs out.
For this year’s Hobart race, Fischer will have right-hand man, Tony Ellis, and David Witt as boat captain. Ellis will sail his 46th race (one behind the record), but will sail his 40 together with Fischer, while Witt was one of Australia’s best known 18ft skiff sailors in the 90s. He made the transition to ocean racing, via the great events: the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Melbourne-Osaka double-handed race and the Volvo Ocean Race.
Asked at today’s official launch if there are many arguments between him and Fischer on the boat, Ellis said: “We’ve had plenty of cross words over the years – but it stays on the boat.” Does Ellis win any of the arguments? “Syd’s won a few arguments with me,” Ellis quipped.
When asked about the crew that will be onboard for the Hobart race, Ellis said, “We’re going to have a pretty well rounded crew by the time we get to the start line… Andrew Cape (multiple Volvo Ocean Race and Rolex Sydney Hobart yachtsman) is going to come and navigate for us. The last time we sailed together (the 1992 Hobart), we won the race overall.
Geoff Huegill, the Aussie swimming legend and former butterfly world record holder, is back, sailing aboard the same boat he did his first race on in 2010; Ragamuffin Loyal. “To be part of a crew that has such great experience behind them is something that I am really looking forward to,” he said.
“Once you’ve got the bug for sailing it really gets you – the teamwork aspect is an opportunity that I really enjoy,” Huegill commented.
The hardest part of his first race, the retired swimmer said, was “Sleep deprivation – but I’m used to it now, because I have a 10 month old baby,” he said.
Owner, Bob Oatley, has gone back to the drawing board with Wild Oats XI after her defeat in the Derwent last year. Oats had been no match for Loyal in light weather. She keeps her retractable daggerboards that were fitted before last year’s race, but she has a new retractable, centreline fin, three metres aft of the bow.
The aim of all three is to reduce leeway, but they are each used in different phases of light weather sailing, the forward fin being used first before being retracted. In addition, there is a new fitting on the bulb of the keel, whose role is to minimise ‘tip vortex’, curling water at the tip of the bulb that can reduce lift.
Skipper, Mark Richards said at the official Rolex Sydney Hobart launch today, “Last year’s race was a great race all the way until the finish, but Loyal was quicker in light air – and we’ve made some radical modifications to rectify that. We’ve tested the new set-up and it’s
This then is the battle royale to which we can look forward to at the front of the fleet, the old bull versus the young bull for the fastest boat at sea, but there will be other contenders.
Peter Millard and John Honan’s 98ft maxi Lahana is back after finishing third across the line in 2010 and 2011. Also on the front row of the grid is Grant Wharington’s Wild Thing, which took line honours in 2003, when she was named Skandia. The 98 footer has undergone modifications ahead of the race, including being lengthened to 100 feet.
Last year’s overall race winner, Stephen Ainsworth’s Reichel/Pugh 63 Loki, is back to defend her title and still appears to be the boat to beat. In August, the CYCA boat broke the 13 year-old record for a conventional yacht in the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Race and won the race outright. This month she won the CYCA’s Cabbage Tree Island Race and she goes in to the Rolex Sydney Hobart as the pre-race favourite.
On board again are sailing master Gordon Maguire and navigator Michael Bellingham. Ainsworth has also declared this is his last. He will be selling Loki and spending future Christmases with his family (unless he suffers the Fischer Syndrome at some stage).
Fischer first took line honours in 1988 in a gale-strewn race that ended with one of the smallest boats in the fleet, the Davidson 34, Illusion, win the race outright. Illusion is back as well this year, this time in the hands of Kim Jaggar and Travis Read.
The two bought the boat in April and, according to Jaggar, have spent more on its reconfiguration than the actual purchase. They are seeking to reduce the boat’s rating by going to a masthead kite, smaller headsails and a longer spinnaker pole. It will sail with a crew of eight.
“We’d like to beat Hicko (Roger Hickman’s Wild Rose) and Simon (Simon Kurts’ Love & War),” Jaggar said, “but it has to be right race for us.”
Love & War is always a sentimental favourite for handicap honours in the race. Peter Kurts won the race in 1974 and 1978 and, after his death in January 2005, son Simon gave the nod for his navigator Lindsay May to sail the wooden boat to Hobart the following year.
May sailed her to an emotional third win in 2006 and is back in his role as navigator, while Peter’s son Simon will skipper the yacht with his 21-year-old son Phillip having his second crack at the race.
Bob ‘Robbo’ Robertson’s top performing Queensland yacht Lunchtime Legend is on a mission, coming off a win in the Magnetic Island Race Week series and second in both the Audi Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach Race Weeks.
“This is our year; we have to do it this year,” Robertson said, having built and launched the Beneteau 40 in time for the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart race and scoring a highly creditable third in IRC Division 4 after scoring the exact same overall time as Andrew Saies’ same design Two True (SA) and in the company of pacesetters of the calibre of Hickman’s Wild Rose (NSW) and David Rees’ Whistler from Tasmania.
This time, Lunchtime Legend has a younger crew fired up, Robertson says, after the Australian successes at the London Olympics: “That has done so much to get young people involved again in sailing. I reckon our average age will be 20 years lower than in the 2011 race.”
This is a strong fleet of 80 boats: four maxis and nine previous winners of the major trophy, the Tattersall’s Cup, presented to the overall winner.
Joining Illusion, Loki, Love & War, Wild Rose and Wild Oats XI in the previous winners’ club are Geoff Boettcher’s 2010 winner Secret Men’s Business 3.5, Andrew Saies’ 2009 winner Two True, which is one of four South Australian entries, Bob Steel’s 2008 winner Quest and Luna Sea, which won the nightmare 1998 race as AFR Midnight Rambler, which is now in the hands of James Cameron.
Anthony Lyall’s Cougar II, which was second overall in 2008 in the hands of Victorian Alan Whiteley, leads the Tasmanian contingent in this year’s race. She has just won the Maria Island Race in record time and claimed the treble of record, line honours and overall win.
All states and the ACT have boats in the fleet with the NSW fleet numbering 43, Victoria 13, Queensland nine, Tasmania and South Australia four each, WA two, the ACT one and there are four overseas entries.
The overseas boats include the first Lithuanian entry, Ambersail (Simonas Steponavicius), a Volvo 60 that had been the Assa Abloy training boat for the 2001/2 Volvo Ocean Race.
Beneteaus make up the biggest design contingent, 12 of them, all in the 40-foot range. Two True and Lunchtime Legend will be up against the other form boat, the reigning Blue Water Point Score champion, Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victoire and the chartered Balance, now known as Peugeot Surfrider, which will feature a mostly French crew headed by Sebastien Guyot.
Once again, David Kellett will lead an experienced team on the Radio Relay Vessel (RRV), JBW, which accompanies the fleet to Hobart each year, generously loaned again by John Winning. Young Endeavour will act in the role of Communications Support Vessel to the RRV this year, under command of LCDR Michael Gough, Commanding Officer STS Young Endeavour.
The CYCA’s annual race starts at 1pm AEDT on Boxing Day, December 26 on Sydney Harbour. The fleet will sail from two start lines off Nielsen Park. The start will be broadcast live on the Seven Network throughout Australia, webcast live to a global audience on Yahoo!7 and the Australia Network throughout the Asia Pacific Region.
By Bruce Montgomery, Rolex Sydney Hobart media team
THE 2012 RACE
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Lilla - IRL 7600 - CNB Briand 76 yacht skippered by Simon De Pietro (Photo by Daniel Forster/PPL)
Hamilton, Bermuda, June 21, 2012 – ‘Lilla’, the big red Briand 76 (IRL7600) owned by Simon and Nancy De Pietro of Cork, Ireland and Mattapoisett MA, sailed a fast straight-forward Newport Bermuda Race and won Class 13 in the Cruiser Division. ‘Lilla’ also took first place in the whole Cruiser Division and will be presented with the Carleton Mitchell Finesterre Trophy for first place.
True - USA 22 - J160 production yacht yacht skippered by Howard B Hodgson Jnr (Photo by Daniel Forster/PPL)
‘Lilla’ led classmate ‘True’, a J-160 owned by Howard Hodgson of Ipswich MA by 1 hr 17 min on corrected time for the win in class and division. ‘True’ was second in both Class 13 and the division. Third place in the Cruiser division went to ‘Odyssey’ a Swan 55 sailed by Glenn Dexter from Halifax NS.
And there is Icing on the cake for ‘Lilla’. In 2011 she raced in the Marion to Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race and set the 645-mile course record from Marion MA to Bermuda at 68:58:45. That performance last year and her top finish in the Newport Bermuda Race earn her the Bermuda Ocean Cruising Yacht Trophy presented by SAIL Magazine. This special combined competition trophy goes to the captain who has the best performance in consecutive Newport Bermuda and Marion Bermuda races. ‘Lilla’ sailed from Newport this time— a 10-mile shorter course in 63:17:13, some 5 hours and 41 minutes faster.
“The only problem we had,” said navigator Nancy De Pietro, “was getting water to the forward head and shower. The water tank we were using was aft, on the port side [That was the high side on the long port tack all the way down from Newport] and the pump had trouble because it was sucking air up there.”
“The one great thing about sailing on this type of boat is that we get to shower after coming off of every watch,” said Simon De Pietro with a smile.
Not having water for showers would have been a crisis for this cruiser crew… all good friends and family. It was an international crew with sailors from Ireland, the Dutch West Indies, England, Canada, South Africa and the USA. ‘Lilla’ has a comfortable 3-cabin layout and is used for charter as well as offshore racing.
In addition to doing the Bermuda Races, she has also done the Caribbean 600. She is an aluminum yacht with just 8.5-foot draft. She does not go to weather well but on a reach her waterline works and she is good and fast. The De Pietros thought of entering the St. David’s Lighthouse Division but needed to be able to use the power winches.
‘True’ a 53 foot J-160— also in Class 13— finished an hour behind ‘Lilla’ Her navigator Richard Casner of Dedham MA said, “The conditions were perfect for ‘True’ we had entered as a non-spinnaker boat and we think that paid off. We were right next to the Swan 60 ‘Lady B’ when she set a chute and we were able to walk away from her. The double headsail rig we used was just right for this boat in this race.”
The Newport Bermuda Race had 6 divisions and 17 classes. The Cruiser division had 30 entries. More than 100 prizes will be awarded Saturday evening on the lawn of Bermuda’s Government House. His Excellency Mr. George Fergusson the Governor of Bermuda will present the prizes along with Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Commodore John Brewin and the Cruising Club of America Commodore Dan Dyer.
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Carina -USA 315 - McCurdy & Rhodes 48 yacht skippered by A Rives Potts Jnr, making the most of the blustery conditions. Carina is the provisional winner of the principal St David's Lighthouse Trophy for the third time. (Photo by Barry Pickthall / PPL)
Going into Monday evening, LLwyd Ecclestone’s ‘Kodiak’ crew was hopeful of winning the St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy, the most coveted of the three main Newport Bermuda Trophies awarded to the corrected time winner of the large amateur division. Then came ‘Carina’ to steal the show.
It looks as though, Based on provisional results, Rives Potts’ McCurdy and Rhodes 48-foot ‘Carina’ (Westbrook CT) won Class 3 and the silver scale model St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy for first in the Division and probably more loot to boot. ‘Carina’ with Potts at the helm won the same first place trophy in the 2010 race and in 1970 ‘Carina’ won it under Richard Nye. This ties ‘Carina’ with ‘Finisterre’ as the boat with the most lighthouses on her trophy rack. ‘Finisterre’ won three in a row under Carleton Mitchel 1956, 1958 and 1960.
Defiance - NA 23 - Navy 44 training yacht skippered by Bryan Weisberg (Photo by Daniel Forster / PPL)
‘Carina’ finished at 6:16PM in Bermuda and had a corrected time of 45:08:16. The US Naval Academy’s new Navy 44 ‘Defiance’ was second in Class 3 behind ‘Carina’ and also second in the St. David’s Lighthouse Division. Her corrected time was 45:42:50. The US Naval Academy’s older Navy 44 Class 2 boat, ‘Swift’, was first in her class and third overall for the division with a corrected time of 46:09:04. It was a pretty tight race with just 26 corrected minutes between these top two boats in the division after a 635-mile sleigh-ride.
For Potts and crew, this is his second St. David’s Lighthouse win in a row. “We had a fantastic race,” Potts said. “ Pretty straight forward. We powered through the stream and then played two big shifts down the rhumbline further south. We gybed twice and then tacked twice for the finish when the wind got lighter and went forward. We finished under a light #1 headsail.” These gybes and tacks were more than most of the other boats in the race made and probably helped ‘Carina’ win overall.
“The boat just got back from a circumnavigation and racing in the world’s top races three weeks ago. My son and nephew did a great job of getting ‘Carina’ ready for Bermuda. In a race like this, preparation is one key to winning. Crew work is another and we had a family based crew working together.” Potts added.
The crew of ‘Carina’ is made up of four fathers and five sons. One of the fathers, Bud Sutherland, is Rives Potts’ brother-in-law and his son Rives Sutherland is the Captain of ‘Carina’ who took her on her global trek.
Change happened overnight in the Double-Handed Division, too. Perennial double-handed winner Hewitt Gaynor (Fairfield CT) slipped his J120 Mireille into first in Class 15 and first in the division. Joe Harris (South Hamilton MA) who sailed such a fast race in his Class 40 ‘Gryphon Solo2’ was alone on the leader board Monday. Harris had an elapsed time of 60:20:26 while Gaynor’s was 74:12:34. On corrected time, ‘Mireille’ beat ‘Gryphon Solo2’ by roughly 4 hours.
Shockwave - USA 60272 - a mini maxi yacht skippered by George Sakellaris (Photo by Daniel Forster / PPL)
The provisional Gibbs Hill Division winner is ‘Shockwave’ a Reichel/Pugh 72 skippered by George Sakellaris of Farmington MA. Sakellaris will win the silver replica of the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, a top prize along with the St. David’s Light. ‘Shockwave’ took double silver snatching the North Rock Beacon Trophy, the third important prize for the IRC corrected time winner, which is a silver replica of the 1960-1990 North Rock Light Tower that once warned mariners of the rocky approach to Bermuda from the North.
Med Spirit - FRA 1575 - Welbourn 92 maxi skippered by Michael D'Amelio. (Photo by Daniel Forster/PPL)
‘Med Spirit’ sailed by Michael D’Amelio (Boston, MA) in the Open Division is the other winner that seems clear under the provisional results for the Royal Mail trophy. Six boats started in this division that featured boats from 40 feet to 100 feet in length. Their common denominator was moveable ballast, either canting keels or water ballast. The 3 Class 40 boats all had water ballast and were fully crewed so they did not qualify to sail against the 3 Class 40’s that went double-handed in Class 15.
The Wally 100 ‘Indio’ under Mark Fliegner (Monaco) came second. ‘Donnybrook’, in her maiden race skippered by Jim Muldoon (Washington DC) had to retire with damage to her daggerboard and daggerboard trunk. Under corrected time only about 5 hours separated the winning 100-footer and the bottom Class 40.
‘Spirit of Bermuda’, the Bermuda Sloop Foundation sail-training vessel, was the sole entry in the new Spirit of Tradition Division. She finished Monday night at 11:20 ADT.
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Shockwave - USA 60272 - a mini maxi yacht skippered by George Sakellaris (Photo by Daniel Forster/PPL))
By John Rousmaniere
As of 1800 Sunday, six boats have finished the race, each of them breaking an elapsed time course record. In finishing order, they are Rambler (Class 10), Bella Mente (Class 10), Shockwave (Class 10), Team Tiburon (Class 10), Med Spirit (Class 16), and Kodiak (Class 8). Shockwave and Kodiak are the current corrected time leaders in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division and St. David’s Lighthouse Division, respectively. Med Spirit is the current corrected time leader in the Open Division.
First to finish Rambler, a 90-foot Reichel/Pugh sloop owned by George David (Hartford, Conn.), broke the course record decisively, averaging 16.06 knots down the 635-mle course in a time of 39 hours, 39 minutes, 18 seconds. She clipped 9 hours off the previous course record set in 2004 by Morning Glory, which averaged 13.06 knots for Open Division boats and 14 hours from the ‘Official’ Record. Med Spirit set the new Open Division record of 45 hours, 26 minutes, 28 minutes… three hours faster than the previous record.
Sailors had vivid descriptions of high-speed, extremely rough conditions on the long, fast reach that prevailed from start to finish. Scott King, Team Tiburon, reported that after starting under a spinnaker, once the boat cleared the Narragansett Bay entrance buoys the crew set a double-headsail rig with a topsail over a jib. They then took in and shook out reefs in the mainsail as the conditions warranted, with one or two sailors always working the mainsheet.
Team Tiburon sailed Wizard a 74-foot sloop designed by Reichel/Pugh and chartered by Mark E. Watson III, a Bermuda business CEO. They covered 385 miles in her first 24 hours in the race, averaging almost 17 knots. “She felt slow when the speed dropped to 11,” King said. “I’ve been in boats where 11 knots was not even part of the plan.”
King said the water was always rough, with some waves 8 feet or higher and water constantly on deck, pushing sailors around. The Gulf Stream crossing was not as rough as he expected, he said, but it was spectacularly beautiful.
“Just before we entered the Stream we saw a long streak of phosphorescence in the water, as though a full moon was out and shining right down on it.” The phosphorescence disappeared when the boat charged into the main body of the Gulf Stream, but reappeared. “Dolphins were torpedoing through all this, right in front of us,” King said.
As they neared Bermuda on Sunday morning, Team Tiburon sailed into a series of rain-squalls with stronger winds that pushed the boat to over 20 knots as she crossed the finish line off St. David’s Head.
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George David"s 90ft maxi Rambler has smashed the 635 mile Newport Bermuda race record, clipping a massive 14 hours off the previous best time set 10 years ago by Roy Disneyâs Pyewacket. The new record now stands at 39hr, 39 minutes, 18 seconds (subject to ratification) - an average speed of 16knots(Photo by Barry Pickthall/PPL)
Dateline: 07:09:18 ADT Bermuda: George David’s 90ft maxi Rambler has smashed the 635 mile Newport Bermuda race record, clipping a massive 14 hours off the previous best time set 10 years ago by Roy Disney’s Pyewacket. The new record now stands at 39hr, 39 minutes, 18 seconds (subject to ratification) – an average speed of 16knots.
A delighted George David said. “These were perfect conditions. The most exciting moment was when we hit 26 knots. I’m so pleased with our performance. We have reduced the record by 25% – Not bad for a boat that is now 10 years old. This Rambler is the best boat I have ever owned!”
Rambler not only slashed the race record, her crew also spanked their rivals, with Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente crossing the lighthouse line 1 hour 43 minutes behind, followed 3 minutes later by Shockwave skippered by George Sakellaris.
On corrected time however, Shockwave beat Rambler by 33 minutes, followed by Belle Mente in 3rd and Team Tiburon 4th. Two yachts in class 10 are still racing.
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