Six yachts entered for this year's Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race are among the fleet of up to 46 boats expected to line up tomorrow for the 104th running of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron's prestigious Gascoigne Cup short ocean race.
Heading the Sydney Hobart contenders is Bob Steel's TP52
Quest which won the Gascoigne
Cup last year as well as taking line honours and first place under
IRC ratings. The Cup itself decided on Performance
Others entered for the Cup as part of their preparation
for the Hobart race include Ed Psaltis, Bob Thomas and Michael
Bencsik's Ker 40 AFR Midnight Rambler, Ron
Forster's Beneteau First 40 Ariel, Warwick Sherman's
Sydney GTS43 Occasional Coarse Language Two, Chris
Bran's Beneteau First 40 Brannew, and Jonathan Stone's
Davidson 34 Illusion, a past Sydney Hobart Race
Psaltis is also a past Sydney Hobart winner with an earlier
AFR Midnight Rambler.
The Gascoigne Cup is one of three short ocean races conducted
each summer by the 150-year-old Squadron, the others being the
Morna Cup sailed in November and the Milson Cup in February. All
three perpetual trophies take pride of place in the Squadron's
The Gascoigne Cup is by the oldest and, arguably, the most
prestigious short ocean race trophy on the Sydney short ocean
racing calendar. Many famous yachts and yachtsmen have won this
iconic ocean race since it was first presented to the club and
raced for in 1886.
This Saturday's race, over a course of about 25 nautical miles,
starting and finishing in Sydney Harbour, will be the 104th
time the Gascoigne Cup has been contested as it was not awarded
during the two World Wars.
The fleet includes yachts from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron
and the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia will contest the race,
which is also part of the Grant Thornton short ocean
Among the fleet is another past winner of the Gascoigne Cup,
Paul Clitheroe's Balance and CYCA Commodore Howard Piggot's
Flying Cloud, while Squadron Division 1 yachts
incude Hell Razor (Ian MacDiarmid), Euphoria
(Tony Coleman), Jackie Clare (Geoff and Debbie Davidson),
Wine-Dark-Sea (Peter Lowndes and Sarah Goddard-Jones).
Squadron yachts contesting Division 2 include Morag
Bheag (John Maclurcan), alouette
(John Waring), Senta (Terry and Julie Clarke),
Aurelia (Norman and Thomas Longworth), King Billy (Phil
and Elesa Bennett), Campeador (Jonathan and Mary
Threlfall), Limelight (Alan Husband) and Arcturus
III (Peter Davenport).
The Gascoigne Cup was presented to the Squadron in 1885 in
honour of Captain Gascoigne, then Aide-de-Camp to Lord Carrington,
Governor of New South Wales to honour the Captain for his heroic
service in the Sudan campaign, which included an attempt to rescue
the embattled General Gordon during the infamous siege of Khartoum
The original Deed of Gift specified an annual ocean race for
yachts of over five tons measurement, until won three times in
succession by the same yacht by the same owner. While a number of
Squadron yachts were able to win two consecutive races in the first
45 years and even more in total, none could achieve three in a row.
In 1933 the Deed of Gift was amended to make the Gascoigne Cup a
Remarkably, it was not until the 1950s that A F Albert's Norn
achieved three consecutive wins (1952, 1953, 1954), achieving five
wins in total. The most successful yacht, however, has been the
famous Admiral's Cup team yacht Caprice of Huon which has
won the Cup seven times, but with different skippers.
By Peter Campbell, RSYS Media