Final Jockeying to Determine Handicap Winner

  • Racing
  • NEWS
  • By Jennifer Crooks
  • 29 Dec 2011 20:50:00

Roger Hickman and crew towards sundown on the 2nd day


With the line honours podium decided in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, focus now shifts to the handicap race under IRC for the Tattersall’s Cup.

With the line honours podium decided in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, focus now shifts to the handicap race under IRC for the Tattersall’s Cup.

Stephen Ainsworth’s crew on the successful Reichel Pugh 63 Loki is hoping that their corrected time in the race, that currently has them second under IRC, will elevate them to first place. This would give Ainsworth, who earlier this month was crowned the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 2011 Ocean Racer of the Year, the handicap win in the Rolex Sydney Hobart that has so far eluded him.

Assuming the crew on the current IRC leader, Roger Hickman’s Farr 43 Wild Rose, continue to sail as well as they have to date in this race, then it will take a down turn in conditions for them to be toppled.

This afternoon Hickman’s 1993 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race winner had just under 100 miles to go to the finish.

From on board Jennifer Wells reported: “We’ve been up with the leaders most of the time.  At approximately 2.30pm we were 75 nautical miles from the Tasman Light in fluky winds.  It’s been fabulous sailing down the east coast of Tasmania, but we’re hoping we’ll get better breeze.  We’re ecstatic to be able to do so well in such an old boat’ that won the race in 1993.

“It was wet and rough the first night, especially off Pambula. It was quite easy coming across Bass Strait – easier than sailing down the south coast.”

Of her skipper, Roger Hickman, currently sailing his 35th Rolex Sydney Hobart, Wells said: “It’s a benevolent dictatorship. The crew are very excited to sail on what was the original Wild Oats.”

However an area of high pressure is moving over the race area, bringing sunshine to the spectators turning out in Hobart, but also a drop in wind strength off the east coast of Tasmania.  While Wild Rose has a little in the bank in terms of her lead, we will have to wait until tomorrow to find out if Hickman can achieve his second win.


Latest arrivals

Meanwhile more boats have arrived in Hobart, the latest being Jim Cooney’s former line honours winner, Brindabella, home in 12th place on the water.  Ahead of the classic 1990s maxi there has been a major showdown between the Rolex Sydney Hobart’s competitive fleet of 50 footers.

Home in 11th place, 16 minutes before Brindabella was Robert Date’s Reichel Pugh 52, Scarlet Runner.

“We started off very well up until the time the sun went down on the first night, but we had a problem where we lost all our instruments, so we had to sail like blokes used to about 50 years ago with dead reckoning and a sextant!” said Date, adding that because of this they had lost around 15-20 miles on the competition and this they were unable to regain.

However this was not the end of their problems and at one stage Date said they were lucky not to dismast. “We lost one of the lower diagonal stays when the pin that holds it in came out. One of the crew managed to spot it and we grabbed it and changed on to the opposite tack and put that all back together. If we hadn’t spotted that in time we would have lost the mast.”

Aside from the boat Date admitted that he had also had a few issues of his own during the race, suffering a fall in the cockpit and on one occasion when the bunk he was in, on the weather side, gave way and he was propelled down to the leeward side of the boat.

Jason Van der Slot and John Williams’ Victorian crew on the modified TP52 Calm (formerly Stuart Robinson’s Stay Calm) were the first of the TP52s home, arriving in Hobart 11 minutes ahead of Chris Bull’s Cookson 50 Jazz, to take eighth place on the water.

They too had rigging issues. “We had a D1 pop out after Gabo on the first morning,” said Van der Slot.  “We lost about six hours just making sure the rig was okay.  From there we pumped the boat pretty hard and we managed to get in front of Ragamuffin and Jazz and we caught them up the river.  We were eighth across the line but they might have got us on IRC.  We are happy with how the boat performed – it was a good event.”

Van der Slot said that they had managed to regain lost ground on the Derwent river on the approach to Hobart thanks to local knowledge – he was born and bred here.

“The 50ft competition was amazing. Every time we tacked and gybed and crossed paths, it would be Ragamuffin there.  I think we finished where we thought we would with the preparation we put in.  We are a bit disappointed under IRC.  We put a pretty hard campaign for this together nine months ago and we have got some good key people on board for this race. We are happy with where we finished up.”

By Key Partners (KPMS)


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