Wild Oats Consolidates Lead on Day Two of Rolex Trophy

  • Racing
  • NEWS
  • By Jennifer Crooks
  • 17 Dec 2004 18:15:00

Wild Oats


In the PHS division, Perth based surgeon Philip Childs is tonight no doubt satisfied that trucking his Farr 38 Courtesan across the continent for the Rolex Sydney Hobart was worth the effort.

Former winemaker and now Hamilton Island owner Bob Oatley has taken a firmer grip on the IRC division of the Rolex Trophy with another display of high performance sailing on the second day of the four-day regatta off Sydney Heads.

After winning both races on day one on corrected time with his new Reichel/Pugh 66 Wild Oats, Oatley racked up two second placings today, extending his overall points lead over second placed Targé (Steven David) – his former Wild Oats.

This is Wild Oats her first regatta in Australia after an outstanding campaign in Europe where she finished second overall in the Maxi World Rolex Cup, and the  sleek silver grey boat looks exceptionally fast.  Her next event will be the Strathfield Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race in early January.

Quick as Wild Oats is with her radical canting keel, a 66 foot boat will never outrun a 98 foot super maxi, and the battle for line honours continued to be a tussle between New Zealander Stewart Thwaites’ Konica Minolta and Melbournian Grant Wharington’s Skandia.  On the first day the honours were even, but the second day has belonged to the Kiwis.

In the first race of the today, sailed in a very light 4-5 knot southerly, a bad start compounded by choosing the wrong side of the course on the first upwind leg cost Skandia dearly, and despite making up ground over the remaining three legs she trailed Konica Minolta across the finish line by 45 seconds.

The second race of the day was sailed in better wind, between 10 and 15 knots, and the big boats revelled in the extra breeze to hold their ratings against the smaller boats.  Konica Minolta led Skandia across the line by a minute and a half and far enough ahead of the smaller boats to also win the race by 18 seconds on corrected time from Wild Oats.

For Iain Murray, at the helm of Targé, this second day of the Rolex Trophy was an altogether more pleasing day at the office than yesterday.  On day one the shine of a good first race performance had been well and truly tarnished by a second race where everything went wrong.  First the boat was called back after crossing the start line early, then, just minutes after restarting, Targé was pulled to a dead stop when a fishing pot caught around her swing keel.

But a day is a long time in offshore racing it seems.  Murray and his team came out of the blocks on fire in the first race today, sailing a superb tactical race in the light conditions to cross the line behind Konica Minolta, Skandia and Wild Oats, but close enough to the bigger yachts to beat them by almost a minute and a half on corrected time.

It was the same order across the line in the second race, Konica Minolta, Skandia, Wild Oats and Targé, but this time, in the stronger wind, the bigger boats had got away from the Reichel/Pugh 60, and Murray and owner Steven David had to settle for fourth place on corrected time.

It was enough to keep Targé in overall place in the Rolex Trophy overall standings, but while Murray conceded that they could scarcely have sailed the boat better in the first race he said they still have some work to do to get the most out of the boat in heavier conditions. 

They have had to limit the extent of the swing on Targé’s canting keel, and this has significantly affected the boats handling, so this series was always about adjusting to the new configuration.

“We are very comfortable now in light breezes,” Murray said dockside, “but in windy conditions the boat is a bit switchy, trickier to sail.  We are not consistent enough yet.” 

Murray wants to be sailing 10 to 20% better by Boxing Day, an ominous thought for the other 50 and 60 footers who have their sights set on winning the 60th anniversary Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on handicap.  Despite her canting keel Targé established today that she has a good enough rating to win races on handicap against more conventional, lower rated rivals.

In the PHS division, Perth based surgeon Philip Childs is tonight no doubt satisfied that trucking his Farr 38 Courtesan across the continent for the Rolex Sydney Hobart was worth the effort. 

He describes his crew as an “eclectic” assembly that includes a geologist, a boilermaker a pilot, a teacher, a sail maker and an engineer, but after a middling day yesterday this ensemble extracted consistently good performances from their boat today to move into first place in the division, seven points ahead of Nicholas Bartels and Martin Vaughn’s Murray 41 Terra Firma.


The top placings for Day 2 of the Rolex Trophy Rating Series were:

Race 3, IRC Division:

1. Targé, Reichel/Pugh 60 (Steven David, NSW)
2. Wild Oats, Reichel/Pugh 66 (Robert Oatley, NSW)
3. Ginger, Swan 45 (Leslie Green, NSW)
4. Yendys, Judel/Vrolijk 52 (Geoff Ross, NSW)
5. Another Challenge, Sydney 38 (Chris Lewin, VIC)

Race 3, PHS Division:

1. Uptown Girl, Peterson 40 (Rod Winton, NSW)
2. Komatsu A Few Good Men, Mumm36 (Shane Kearns, NSW)
3. Courtesan, Farr 38 (Philip Childs, WA
4. Another Challenge
5. Fuzzy Logic, ILC 40 (Bill Lennon & Paul Roberts, VIC)
6. Terra Firma, Murray 41 (Nicholas Bartels & Martin Vaughan, VIC)

Race 4, IRC Division:

1. Konica Minolta, Brett Bakewell-White 98 (Stewart Thwaites, NZL)
2. Wild Oats
3. Skandia, Don Jones 98 (Grant Wharington, VIC)
4. Targé
5. Aera, Ker 55 (Nick Lykiardopulo, UK)
6. Ginger

Race 4, PHS Division:

1.  Uptown Girl
2.  Brindabella, Jutson 80 (George Snow, NSW)
3.  Courtesan
4.  Nips N Tux, IMX 40 (Howard de Torres, NSW)
Terra Firma


Courtesan under spinnaker Image:

Courtesan under spinnaker

Brindabella - maxi yacht Image: Ian Mainsbridge

Brindabella - maxi yacht


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