Fine tuning in Rolex Sydney Hobart form guide regatta

  • Racing
  • NEWS
  • By Jennifer Crooks
  • 12 Dec 2007 16:33:00
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The regatta will be only the second contested by Bruce Taylor’s latest Chutzpah, the new IRC40 out of Melbourne which was launched mid-October and has been purpose built to try and win the elusive Tattersall’s Cup, the silverware awarded to the Rolex Sydney Hobart overall winner.

Seventeen of the 85 boats competing in the Rolex Sydney Hobart will fine tune during eight races over four days when the Rolex Trophy kicks off tomorrow outside Sydney Heads.

The regatta will be only the second contested by Bruce Taylor’s latest Chutzpah, the new IRC40 out of Melbourne which was launched mid-October and has been purpose built to try and win the elusive Tattersall’s Cup, the silverware awarded to the Rolex Sydney Hobart overall winner.

Taylor will line up for his 27th Rolex Sydney Hobart, his 25th as an owner, on 26 December with the new Chutzpah, which he predicts could be his last in a long line of boats by the same name.

With a second and third overall and seven divisional wins, Taylor is going to have another serious tilt at the Tattersall’s Cup this year, and he believes there is a window in the fleet for this particular sized boat.

Taylor’s Rolex Sydney Hobart crew will be on board for the Rolex Trophy as they tune up the boat for the bluewater classic, an event which is getting harder and harder to win believes Taylor. Perusing the Rolex Trophy line-up, Taylor picked off just some of the major threats to his assault on the Tattersall’s Cup …Rosebud, Shogun out of Victoria and Geoff Ross’ Yendys.

“Then again, you have got to look at who won last year,” he said, referring to the 23-year old Love & War which won the Rolex Sydney Hobart in 2006, its third overall win, thanks to tailor made weather and a winning strategy.

Roger Sturgeon, the handicap winner of yesterday’s SOLAS Big Boat Challenge with his TP65 Rosebud, admits they are the rookies compared to the local talent sailing in the Rolex Trophy.

“This regatta is going to be fun, we’ll be a better crew at the end of the series,” said Sturgeon, who will be sailing in the Rolex Trophy with a number of Australians on board. With its extremely experienced crew, the US entry Rosebud is a serious challenger for the Tattersall’s Cup but not if the breeze is middle of the range warns Sturgeon.

“Anything but medium winds suit us…but sometimes if you are smarter than the others, you can get away with it,” Sturgeon laughed.

The largest boat in the 24 boat Rolex Trophy fleet will be Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI. It’s going to lonely out the front for the line honours winner of yesterday’s maxi boat race with the 60-footers Wild Joe and Rosebud the nearest in size.

Syd Fischer’s entry for his TP52 Ragamuffin completes a hot fleet in the 50-55 foot range. Three TP52s, two of them Rolex Sydney Hobart entries, will take on the Cookson 50s Living Doll and Quantum Racing and the 1999 Sydney Hobart overall winner Knee Deep in IRC Division 0/1.

Knee Deep’s West Australian skipper Phil Childs is promising to “fight like hell” in this series but is realistic about his chances given the boat is not yet fully optimised for IRC, the handicap which will determine the winner of both the Rolex Trophy and the Rolex Sydney Hobart.

Childs first noticed the Farr 49, Geoff Ross’ former Yendys, “bobbing around in Abbotsford Bay” and then it came up for sale at a trucking auction. With a “five inch carpet hanging off the bottom” and the boat in a pretty poor state, Childs had the boat looked at and discovered it only needed “tender loving care” to bring it back to its former glory.

Regarding his Rolex Sydney Hobart prospects, Childs is confident that if it blows hard, all four WA boats will at least complete the 628 nautical mile course.

“We have pretty strong winds over there [in Western Australia], I’d be surprised if the WA boat don’t get there if it’s a rough race,” said Childs today.

The forecast for tomorrow is for E/SE winds 13-18 knots increasing to 20 knots on Friday and Saturday.

The first race is scheduled to start at 11am.

Daily results will be available from www.cyca.com.au under Sailing. - Lisa Ratcliff

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