Yendys wins battle
of the 50 footers
The battle of the 50
footers in the Rolex Sydney Hobart reached its conclusion in Hobart today
with a resounding on the water as well as handicap win for Geoff Ross'
brand-new 55 footer Yendys, crossing the line at 12:45pm local time.
Like line honor winner Wild
Oats XI and her arch-rival Loki, Yendys is a Reichel/Pugh
design and the first grand-prix boat to have been built in China. "I am
incredibly happy with the boat. It is magnificent, the best boat I've ever
sailed on," enthused Ross of his new steed. "It is almost a boat you would
build if there was no handicap, so that's the test. It is really simple, but
|YENDYS, Geoff Ross sailing off Tasman Island.
Photo by: Carlo Borlenghi/ Rolex.
Over the fateful first night of
this Rolex Sydney Hobart, Yendys had stayed inshore and hadn't seen
wind stronger than 27 knots. Ross was amazed that these conditions had taken
such a toll on others in the fleet. "We didn't have any really bad
conditions. It was just very lumpy in the current. It was rough, but
seriously if you complain about that you should come by plane. I personally
don't like it, but I can hardly say it was unexpected," he said.
What was novel for Ross was that
they never experienced winds greater than 30 knots. "It was rough and bumpy,
but if you don't see 30 knots coming to Hobart - that is pretty
extraordinary in my experience. I've never had that before."
Over the course of the race,
Yendys used better boat speed and good tactics to slowly ease ahead of
her rivals and up until the approach to Tasman Island was looking in good
shape on handicap. However as he was approaching the corner, the wind
dropped to single digits and they were unable to lay Cape Pillar, the
southeastern tip of Tasman Island. "We ended up coming in somewhere around
Maria (island - to the north of Tasman Island) and it took us a long time to
get around that. We thought we would get around Tasman Island at 4am and we
got around at 7.30am - that was the difference."
At present Yendys is lying
seventh overall under IRC handicap and is leading Division B.
The fifth boat into Hobart, 2
hours and 49 minutes after Yendys, was Graeme Wood's Nelson Marek-designed
TP 52 Wot Yot, with designer Bruce Nelson sailing in the crew. Wood's
company wotif.com is fielding two yachts in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, with
Wood skippering his TP 52, newly acquired from the US. Wood said he'd been
surprised by how well the TP 52, a boat designed to sail downwind from Los
Angeles to Hawaii, went upwind. "We were sailing alongside Loki a lot of the
time and holding her all the time upwind. We were pretty chuffed because
Loki is a 60 footer and a heavier boat should go well in those conditions."
|Geoff Ross, YENDYS arriving in Hobart. Photo by:
Carlo Borlenghi/ Rolex.
While they did well calling
tactics, during the race they concentrated mostly on the basics: boat speed,
keeping the boat level, trimming, etc. They would have done better had they
predicted the southeasterly this morning. "The southwester never came and we
were a bit to the east of the rhumb line down there which didn't hurt us too
much, but then coming across Tasman Island this morning we hit some
headwinds which probably did us a fair bit of damage overall," said Wood.
Wot Yot is currently ninth
overall under IRC and second in Division B.
Highly rated prior to the start
as the boat to challenge Yendys, Loki had a less than ideal Rolex Sydney
Hobart. Fast out of the blocks, they managed to blow up the hydraulic pump
mounted in the foredeck and used to alter the up-down control for the genoa
fairlead. To repair the hydraulic ram pipe they had to access it from below
and in the process this caused a deluge of water to get in through the
foredeck whenever they buried the bow - in the conditions experienced, this
"We had a bow full of water,"
recounted despondent owner Stephen Ainsworth. "We had the electric bilge
pump running to stem the flow. So we had probably a ton of water up there
for several hours while we fixed the problem and ran a new lead. And people
just sailed past us and that happened right after the start, so we were
always playing catch up. It was just one of those races for us."
Ainsworth echoed the sentiments
of all the other skippers in being surprised just how upwind this Rolex
Sydney Hobart has been. "This is my 10th Hobart race and I have never done a
race which has been upwind the whole way. It wasn't rough and it wasn't
cold, so it was quite pleasant. We ate lots of food, but it was a bit
boring. We finally got a chute up coming round the corner into Storm Bay and
even that wasn't that exciting in 8 knots!"
After struggling to remove a
piece of kelp from his rudder while crossing Storm Bay, Ainsworth's race was
made only slightly more bearable by just beating Ray Roberts' Quantum Racing
to the finish line by one and half minutes. But then this was a 50 footer.
Like Ainsworth, Ray Roberts'
Rolex Sydney Hobart would have benefited greatly from less upwind
conditions, Quantum Racing being a Cookson 50 with a canting keel like
Oats and the Volvo Open 70s. "It worked really well, but from a rating point
of view, it being an all upwind race, it was probably a disadvantage," said
Roberts of his yacht's movable appendage. "With a canting keel boat you
can't out-sail your rating penalty in an all-upwind race. This boat is
primarily an off the wind boat and if we'd had more of that I think it would
have been a different result. In 25 years of doing the Hobart race it was
really unusual to be on the wind 90% of the way. That made it hard for us,
but that is what this race is: You have to have the right boat, the right
strategy, the right crew and there's that luck element."
They suffered no problems with
their boat and aside from less upwind work, Roberts reckons that in the
given conditions they had suffered being later to the southeasterly shift in
the latter stages of the race than bigger boats like Matt Allen's Ichi Ban,
the current IRC leader among the boats that have finished. While Ichi Ban
were able to lay the corner at Tasman Island in one tack, in contrast
Quantum Racing had to tack perhaps 100 times. "But that is the ball game and
the luck element of the Hobart race. Those guys sailed very well, but they
had their good break as well, so good luck to them."
Tactician on board, American Dee
Smith, said that both the current and the wind had failed to behave as
forecast, but this came as no great surprise. "We missed a couple of things,
but I think we sailed the boat well and safe and I think it is pretty good
to be in here when we did."
The next boat expected into
Hobart is the Volvo Ocean 60 DHL, skippered by Olympic Tornado veteran Mitch
Booth. At present Lindsay May's Love & War is leading overall under IRC
handicap from John Williams' Bacardi. Both boats must finish by mid-morning
tomorrow if they are to win the coveted Tattersalls Cup.
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