A Race of Contrasts - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Constitution Dock, Hobart is buzzing with activity after a stream of boats crossed the finish line throughout Day 4 of the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Corinthian Spirit - The Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet continue to arrive in Hobart
By 17:00 AEDT, 39 yachts had completed the 628-nm race, as the docks filled with tales from another dramatic contest. Of the 117 starters, 65 yachts are still sailing and a further 13 officially retired, unable to complete the course.
Current forecasts have four veteran yachts – Love & War, Quickpoint Azzurro, Wild Rose and the fleet’s smallest and oldest boat Maluka of Kermandie – all in contention for overall victory. All three boats represent vast contrasts to the sleek, carbon fiber-built 100-foot Maxis which dominated the race for line honors.
Simon Kurts’ Love & War
Simon Kurts’ Love & War is a three-time winner of the race (1974, 1978, 2006). The boat, built over forty years ago, needs to arrive in Hobart before midnight this evening to retain any chance of claiming an unprecedented fourth Tattersall’s Cup. This wooden classic won in two contrasting eras of ocean racing underlining the boat’s durability and the true spirit of the Rolex Sydney Hobart: any crew stands a chance of victory provided they demonstrate true teamwork, tactical nous and an intrepid spirit. Love & War, featuring veteran navigator Lindsay May competing in the race for a staggering 41st time, is currently approximately 40-nm from the finish.
Roger Hickman’s Farr 43 Wild Rose is a mere 29 years old and pushing hard for that elusive first Tattersall’s Cup. In poignant synergy, Wild Rose was once owned by Wild Oats XI’s Bob Oatley, whose crew yesterday claimed a record-breaking eighth line honors victory. Wild Rose has already produced a stern, resilient performance, overcoming adversity on her journey south. “We had a massive broach in 30 knots this morning with the spinnaker up,” Jenifer Wells, the crew’s navigator reported. “We laid her over a couple of times, broke the steering cable and it was looking very dicey. “We got out the emergency tiller and pulled the kite down, repaired the cable and we were back racing in 12 minutes.”
Roger Hickman’s Farr 43 Wild Rose
Another wooden classic is Maluka of Kermandie, a gaff-rigged huon pine beauty. Owned by one of the race’s colorful characters, Sean Langman, the 30-footer still lies some 122-nm from the finish line.
Currently leading on handicap though is Shane Kearns’ Sparkman & Stephens 34 Quickpoint Azzurro 108-nm from Hobart.
The crews arriving in Hobart this afternoon carried the look of seasoned offshore racers: tired, proud, red-eyed, salty and wind-swept.
“The race is always very different and always extremely challenging and this one was special as it was my wife’s first Rolex Sydney Hobart,” explained Philip Coombs, owner of the 42-ft Simply Fun, whose amateur crew performed miracles to even make the start line. “The team I have are brilliant. Three days before we were due to leave for Sydney our boat had extensive damage so the boat builders worked night and day for two weeks to get us ready. We are happy to be here considering all of the factors involved.”
Titania of Cowes
Mark Covell on the British-flagged Swan 68, Titania of Cowes, reported: “It was an absolute classic, starting off on the nose, plenty of rail time, lots of waves over the boat, before it slowly lightened up. We then got kite up and breeze kept coming up and up; we ended coming up the Derwent (River) on the nose in a hailstorm. We pretty much had everything!”
Shortly after lunchtime on Day 3, Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI claimed her eighth Rolex Sydney Hobart line honors victory in ten years. This morning skipper Mark Richards was able to reflect on a momentous achievement for the 100-foot Maxi. “An eighth Rolex Sydney Hobart line honors win is something we never would have dreamt about ten years ago. The reception from hundreds of spectator boats and tens of thousands of people on the dock is a spectacular way to finish a yacht race.”
That high level of interest continues as the sailing world stands by to learn the identity of 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart overall winner.