Supermaxi Luxury Yacht & Superyacht News

New Zealand Millennium Cup 2015 officially kicks off

January 20, 2015

Today, January 20, saw the official start of the 2015 New Zealand Millennium Cup, marked by a skipper’s briefing, followed by an official welcome function in fabulous Russell at the Duke of Marlborough, New Zealand’s oldest pub. One of the most anticipated aspects of this year’s event has been the all-new location, with the regatta being hosted in the beautiful Bay of Islands yacht charter destination for the first time.

Preview Day - PJ Montgomery at Welcome Function

Preview Day - PJ Montgomery at Welcome Function

Held in conjunction with the Bay of Islands Sailing Week, the seven participants of the Millennium Cup – sailing yacht Janice of Wyoming, superyacht Silvertip, charter yacht Bliss, luxury yacht Sassafras, Silencio yacht, Antaeus and Steinlager 2 – will make a spectacular sight as they join nearly ninety other yachts on the water for the three days of racing.

Welcoming skippers and owners to the pre-race briefing in the Opua Cruising Club, Ray Haslar, race officer for the joint events, gave the good news of a fine forecast, with clear weather and building breezes expected over the coming week.

Preview Day - Skippers Briefing at Opua Cruising Club

Preview Day - Skippers Briefing at Opua Cruising Club

The new surroundings did not disappoint with blue skies throughout the day setting the scene for the days ahead. As one of New Zealand’s most beautiful regions, the Bay of Islands is a popular cruising ground for superyachts and will make the ideal backdrop for racing. Many yachts had taken advantage of the day to make final preparations before racing begins, heading out for some practice race time and to fine-tune maneuvers.

With the skipper’s briefing complete, the event was officially launched at the formal regatta Welcome Function. Held in Russell at the Duke of Marlborough, New Zealand’s oldest pub, the event saw owners, skippers, crew, media and industry members receive a traditional Maori welcome and blessing on the event, before enjoying some renowned Kiwi hospitality and beverages from Allan Scott Wines and Mt Gay Rum.

Day One of racing, the Dubois Race Day, will commence at 11.30 on 21 January, with yachts eagerly awaiting the release of start times and handicaps at the pre-race skipper’s briefing. On completion of racing participants will enjoy a Taste of Bay of Islands Function at the 35º South Restaurant, Paihia, which will showcase the best the region has to offer.

Superyacht Challenge Antigua 2015, January 29 – February 1

January 20, 2015

The Notice of Race and Entry Form for the 2015 Superyacht Challenge Antigua, to be hosted by the fabulous Antigua yacht charter destination, nestled in the Caribbean, is now available online. To be hosted by the Admiral’s Inn and Antigua Rigging, in association with National Parks Antigua, the fifth edition of the regatta is proving very popular with expressions of interest from 15 superyachts, the maximum for the event. These include such outstanding vessels as the last year’s winner sailing yacht Marama, charter yacht Leopard 3, as well as charter yacht Sojana, to name but a few.

100´ sailing yacht Marama

100´ sailing yacht Marama - the overall winner of the Superyacht Challenge Antigua 2014

Designed to be solely for the pleasure of superyacht owners, their guests and crew. The magnificent fleet take part in three days of spectacular racing, using the International Superyacht Racing Rule. With daily pursuit races along the stunning south coast of Antigua and laid back social events, The Superyacht Challenge Antigua is a wonderful celebration of sailing and parties.

The racing is very competitive but the Superyacht Challenge Antigua is dedicated to pure fun afloat and ashore, where all participants enjoy a relaxed party atmosphere, free from commercial endorsements.

The Superyacht Challenge Antigua has one clear objective; to provide all the facilities to stage an ideal event for an exclusive selection of yachts, where fair racing and good companionship are valued above all else.

The regatta will continue with a limited entry of 12-15 yachts depending on the type of vessels. This decision was made to ensure that the magnificent amenities available at Nelson’s Dockyard would comfortably host the event. Furthermore the event will have no title sponsorship, to ensure that the Superyacht Challenge Antigua will be held for the pure enjoyment of the participants without any conflict of interest with a third party.

Last year’s regatta was extremely well received by all who took part. Four races are scheduled over a 3-day weekend with social evenings ashore hosted by the Admiral’s Inn, English Harbour.

J Class yachts to compete in 2015 Royal Yacht Squadron Bicentenary International Regatta

January 19, 2015

The J Class Association is thrilled to confirm that at least three J Class yachts will participate in the Royal Yacht Squadron Bicentenary International Regatta, running from 27-31 July 2015. Sailing yacht Lionheart, charter yacht Ranger and superyacht Velsheda will reach the beautiful Solent yacht charter destination on or around 20 July, and will be moored in Ocean Village, Southampton.

Lionheart, Ranger and Velsheda

J Class yachts Lionheart, Ranger and Velsheda to compete at RYS Bicentenary International Regatta - Image credit to J Class Association

Racing is scheduled from the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS) line from Monday 27 – Friday 31 July in and around the Solent and will be ‘round the cans’ courses. The event is also expected to include a clockwise round the island race, or coastal course of a similar distance. Close, competitive racing is a signature of all J Class racing and the fleet consistently delivers a great display for spectators and followers on and off the water.

Jonathan Peel, PRO of the RYS Bicentenary International Regatta, said: “The J Class yachts are a magnificent addition to a regatta that promises to be a memorable spectacle to celebrate 200 years of the RYS.”

The Js will race as a fleet under the JCA handicap rules, with challenging 2-3 hour courses in and beyond the Solent, depending on conditions. Other classes taking part in the RYS Bicentenary International Regatta include Classics, IRC and One-Design sportsboats.

John Grandy, Race Officer for the J Class, said: “We are delighted that the J Class will be so well represented at our 200th Anniversary Regatta. This historic class has a deep heritage with the RYS and it has been wonderful to see it revived and raced so competitively in recent years.”

A great success of McConaghy-built yachts at 70th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

January 13, 2015

McConaghy-built yachts have once again secured the most coveted trophies and Rolex timepieces in the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. These include superyacht Wild Oats XI that has won line honours for a record eighth time.

McConaghy-built superyacht Wild Oats XI - Photo by Andrea Francolini Photography

McConaghy-built superyacht Wild Oats XI - Photo by Andrea Francolini Photography

● Bob Oatley’s Reichel/Pugh 100 sailing yacht Wild Oats XI claimed the J.H. Illingworth Trophy and a Rolex timepiece yet again after winning line honours for a record eighth time

● Roger Hickman’s Farr 43 yacht Wild Rose won the Tattersall’s Cup and a Rolex timepiece for first overall on corrected time

● Tony Kirby’s Ker 46 yacht Patrice claimed the  George Barton Trophy for first in IRC Division 1

In addition to the line honours trophy, Wild Oats XI yacht was awarded the F and J Livingstone trophy for ‘First yacht Due South of Tasman Island’.

Wild Rose Yacht - Photo by Andrea Francolini Photography

Wild Rose Yacht - Photo by Andrea Francolini Photography

Wild Rose also received trophies for first place in IRC Division 4, (the Sir Arthur Warner Trophy), first place in the Combined 20 and 30 Year Veterans Division (the Gordon Marshall Trophy), first place in the 20 Year Veteran Division (the CYCA Trophy)  second place overall in ORCi, and first place in ORCi Division 4 (the TasPorts Trophy).

The 2014 edition of the great race delivered a total of seven first places overall and in divisions for McConaghy built boats in a fleet of 117 highly competitive boats, from just seven yachts in the race from the McConaghy stable. It is a remarkable result, a testament to the dedication of the owners and the skill of the skippers and crews.

The summary of McConaghy Boats success in the Sydney to Hobart race now stands as follows:

● 3 course record holders

● 17 overall victories since 1990

● 74 podium places since 1983

● 13 overall victories and Rolex time pieces, out of a possible 20 over the past decade

In the 10 Rolex Sydney to Hobart races completed by Wild Oats XI, Bob Oatley’s super maxi has only been beaten to Hobart on two occasions; once by Neville Crichton’s McConaghy built Reichel Pugh 100 superyacht Alfa Romeo, and once by Anthony Bell’s Elliott 100 superyacht Investec LOYAL.

The McConaghy built Ker 40, St George Midnight Rambler, owned by Ed Psaltis, Bob Thomas and Michael Bencsik was part of the CYCA Gold three-boat team which won the Southern Cross Cup. The final race of the series was the Sydney Hobart. The Southern Cross Cup was awarded to St George Midnight Rambler and her team mates at the Rolex Sydney Hobart presentation in Hobart on New Year’s Day.

Unfortunately for Bill Wild and his crew on Wedgetail they were let down for the second year in a row by rig failure. It was a devastating blow to the Reichel Pugh 55 which was launched by McConaghy Boats as Yendys in 2006. They had sailed a fantastic race and were well placed on corrected time and within hours of the finish on both occasions

Congratulations to the winning owners, skippers and crews of Wild Oats XI, Wild Rose, Patrice, and St George Midnight Rambler, as well as the other McConaghy yachts that competed in this year’s event: Merlin (16th overall IRC and 4th in division 2)  and Helsal 3, and commiserations for the owner and crew of Wedgetail from the whole team at McConaghy Boats.

Esimit Europa project celebrating 20 years this year

January 13, 2015

The Esimit Europa project is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The project originally started by connecting two bordering cities between Slovenia and Italy, when Igor Simčič started realizing his vision of providing a symbol of the blurring borders. In 1995, first with the help and support of the mayors of the both bordering cities, he introduced the Esimit Gorizia & Nova Gorica sailing project. The project has been extending across boundaries ever since and gradually becoming more and more European. The yacht representing the project was granted the honourable privilege to sail under the European flag in 2002 and under the patronage of the European commission since 2006.

Esimit Europa 2 superyacht at the 2014 Rolex Capri Sailing Week - Photo by Francesco Ferri

Esimit Europa 2 superyacht at the 2014 Rolex Capri Sailing Week - Photo by Francesco Ferri

Since 2010, the project has been represented by one of world’s fastest and technologically most advanced yachts, superyacht Esimit Europa 2, and its multinational sailing team, composed of European and World champions, Olympic Games medallists, multiple time winners of the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race sailing races, coming from 11 different countries. With 35 consecutive wins since its christening in 2010, Esimit Europa 2 has carried the message of a successful and united Europe around the world.

Numerous official and personal endorsements that the project has received from the most distinguished European diplomats, including the official support of the European Commission, Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, presidents of European countries and governments, foreign ministers and ambassadors prove that it is much more than a sailing project. Throughout the 20 years of the project’s history , by organizing high level receptions and events, it has served as a platform for establishing and fostering sports, diplomatic and business connections, and by engaging in charity activities it extended the message of friendship and collaboration and connected all people without boundaries.

In the jubilee racing season of 2015 sailing yacht Esimit Europa 2 will again be spreading the message of collaboration at some of the classic races in the Mediterranean and conclude it with a gala event dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Esimit Europa project. The gala will be organized at the premises of the Yacht Club de Monaco, which is the home yacht club of the European flagged maxi.

Before that, with an early opening of the season in May, Esimit Europa 2 will participate in one of the first races for the maxis in the Mediterranean, the Volcano Race, at which she participated last year for the first time and took the line honours. In its fifth edition this 400 nautical miles long race will start from Gaeta, and go to Eolian Islands and back to Gaeta. The race will be organized by the International Maxi Association, in association with the Yacht Club Gaeta E.V.S. and the Base Nautica Flavio Gioia.

From there, Esimit Europa 2 yacht will continue to San Remo for the start of the Mediterranean classic in June – the Giraglia Rolex Cup – taking part in both offshore races of the event. First she will participate in the regatta from San Remo to St. Tropez that kicks off from the dock of the Yacht Club San Remo at midnight. This will already be the 6th edition of the approximately 60 nautical miles long offshore race. The team will then prepare for one of the most renown offshore races in the Mediterranean, the famous 242 nautical miles long Giraglia Rolex Cup set from St. Tropez, around the rocky Giraglia Island and back to Genoa. Esimit Europa 2 participated in this race already four times, each time taking line honours, while in 2012 she set an amazing course record of 14 hours, 56 minutes and 16 seconds, smashing the previous one by 3 hours and 6 minutes.

Next on schedule, in August, is the 500 nautical miles sailing challenge, the Palermo – Montecarlo Race, that is set across the Mediterranean, joining two coastal cities, Palermo and the Principality of Monaco. It is organized by the Circolo della Vela Sicilia in collaboration with the Yacht Club de Monaco. After setting a course record in 2010 and taking line honours in 2011 and 2012, Esimit Europa 2 superyacht will participate in this race for the fourth time.

Being the leading yacht that races for the Yacht Club de Monaco, it will be a special privilege for the Esimit Sailing Team to participate in this race with a destination of the course set in front of her home yacht club, even more so during a jubilee year in which the celebration of 20 years of the Esimit Europa project takes place after this race.

With this event the European flagged maxi will not only conclude the racing season of 2015, but also stand as a symbol of the Esimit Europa project’s 20 year story.

Three Dubois-designed yachts to attend New Zealand Millennium Cup 2015

January 13, 2015

Set to run in the breath-taking Bay of Islands yacht charter location from January 21 to 23, the New Zealand Millennium Cup is proud to once again host a number of Dubois-designed yachts in the line-up. Sailing yacht Janice of Wyoming, superyacht Silvertip as well as charter yacht Bliss are all Dubois-designed vessels with strong reputations for whipping around a course.

Dubois-designed charter yacht Bliss at the 2013 Dubois Cup - Photo by Rick Tomlinson

Dubois-designed charter yacht Bliss at the 2013 Dubois Cup - Photo by Rick Tomlinson

Ed Dubois gives his opinion on his take on the importance of an industry that is geographically removed from the wider global industry, yet integrally connected.

“We are very excited to see that the Millennium Cup is being held once again in 2015.

The new venue of the Bay of Islands, along with its well established regatta, is especially exciting for a number of reasons,” says Dubois.

“Firstly, it is one of the most beautiful coastal areas in the world and ideally suited for yacht racing.

Super yacht Janice of Wyoming under sail

Super yacht Janice of Wyoming under sail

“Secondly, it brings the large New Zealand-built yachts into an area and environment that particularly suits them; beautiful and away from the everyday rush and bustle of a city atmosphere and in an archipelago of islands that provides for stunningly scenic courses to be set,” he says.

Dubois’ connection with the New Zealand industry has been long and fruitful, with a number of award-winning yachts standing as testimony to both his skill and that of local yards and craftsmen. In recognition of that long association, the NZ Millennium Cup committee have named a day’s racing ‘Ed Dubois Race Day’.

“We have been fortunate, as a design office, to have had 37 large yachts built in New Zealand over a period of just under 30 years. This represents, astonishingly, just over $NZ1billion worth of contracts.”

Silvertip Yacht

Silvertip Yacht

“This large fleet not only represents our design input and experience; it is testament to the extraordinary yacht building skills and excellence that has been built up in New Zealand and which has reached the very highest level, worldwide.

The craftsman, engineers, spar builders and sail makers that have created this truly phenomenal industry should be congratulated on this extraordinary achievement. Some examples of their excellent work can be seen racing in the waters of the Bay of Islands in January 2015.”

The regatta runs from the 21-23 January in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands, and  will once again be handicapped to ISYR by Jim Teeters, to ensure close-fought, fun racing. Organised by the NZ Marine Export Group, the regatta is complemented by a range of onshore hospitality events, and runs concurrently with New Zealand’s biggest domestic regatta; Bay of Islands Sailing Week, delivering an unbeatable atmosphere of camaraderie to overseas guests.

Returning to the race are Janice of Wyoming, Bliss and Silvertip; all veterans of the race who’ve experienced first hand the New Zealand Millennium Cup experience and who are looking forward to battling it out once more for supremacy. Entries to date also include five-time circumnavigator, superyacht Silencio. The 50-metre Perini Navi comes fresh from a run of successful regattas which include taking third in class at this February’s St Barth’s Bucket and victory in the 2013 Perini Navi Cup.

Joining her is 34.2-metre Royal Huisman sailing yacht Sassafras, with new EC6 carbon rigging by sponsor Southern Spars. The sloop was designed by Fontaine-Hood for comfort over long distances as well as power under sail, and organisers are very much looking forward to seeing that power demonstrated as the fleet weaves through the Bay of Islands.

In a separate Pacific Division, special guests Steinlager 2 and Antaeus will go head to head, to the sure delight of local yacht watchers who know Steinlager from her unbeaten Round the World campaign records.

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2014: Two yachts with shared history claim main prizes

January 06, 2015

The main prizes at the 70th Anniversary Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race went to two yachts with a shared history. Driven by facing her most fearsome opponent in years, Bob Oatley’s superyacht Wild Oats XI made history by claiming an amazing eighth line honours win. Some 29 hours later, Oatley’s original Wild Oats reached Hobart with a corrected time finish that would ensure overall victory and the coveted Tattersall’s Cup trophy. Oatley’s former boat, the 43-ft sailing yacht Wild Rose, owned and skippered by his friend Roger Hickman, secured her second victory in the race, 21 years after the first.

WILD OATS XI (AUS) crossing the finish line to claim her eighth Line Honours victory in the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - Photo by Rolex Daniel Forster

Superyacht WILD OATS XI (AUS) crossing the finish line to claim her eighth Line Honours victory in the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - Photo by Rolex/Daniel Forster

Shakespearian start

Every Boxing Day at 13:00, Sydney becomes an amphitheatre for the start of the great race; a moment when one of the world’s most iconic cities comes to a standstill for the start of this 628 nautical mile offshore classic to Hobart, Tasmania. Hundreds of thousands of spectators watch from the shore, on the water, or live on television and the internet; a public start for the 117 yachts and around 1,500 competitors, before they enter a profound nautical solitude and face the unpredictable elements of nature.

There were those who had travelled thousands of miles to compete for the first time, such as Polish skipper Mariusz Koper on Katharsis II: “The Rolex Sydney Hobart is such a famous race, it’s a lifetime’s dream taking part in it”; those who had made the nautical pilgrimage countless times: “It’s just something you’ve got to do, whether you say it’s the Everest of yachting, or it’s for the camaraderie, or the beauty of Hobart,” adds Hickman; and those making the journey for the final time having devoted a lifetime to the ‘great race’: “This is my last race,” confirmed 35-time competitor Ed Psaltis, handing off to his son Ben, who completed his first voyage to Hobart in 2014 on St George Midnight Rambler.

Each competitor has his or her own story; whether it’s defined by success, failure, adrenalin, frustration, personal ambition, friendship or fatigue. No two races are ever the same; something that has drawn the 50,000 plus sailors who have chosen to take part. Each journey is rich in character, emotion and endurance.

Bob Oatley, Owner of WILD OATS XI, and Skipper Mark Richards receive the Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece for Line Honours from Jean-Nöel Bioul, Rolex SA - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Bob Oatley, Owner of WILD OATS XI yacht, and Skipper Mark Richards receive the Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece for Line Honours from Jean-Nöel Bioul, Rolex SA - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Tale of two designs

Five 100 foot Maxis started the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart, ensuring the quest for line honours would be the most dramatic in years. Hull damage on the first night forced Anthony Bell’s superyacht Perpetual Loyal out of the race; conditions were unsuited to the American entry superyacht RIO 100 and Ragamuffin 100 yacht, the latter skippered by Syd Fischer, who at 87 became the oldest sailor in the race’s proud history.

The resulting duel was a forecast heavyweight contest between Oatley’s Mark Richards-skippered Wild Oats XI and the newcomer, Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark’s superyacht Comanche, recently launched and the latest thinking in Maxi yacht design. The two boats could not be more different in terms of aesthetic look; Wild Oats XI pale, sleek and narrow compared to the dark, imperious and ultra-wide Comanche. With stellar professional crews on both yachts, it would be left to the weather conditions to dictate the narrative.

Following a glorious Sydney start, with plenty of breeze, Comanche powered towards the Sydney Heads leaving the rest of the fleet in her wake, setting an unofficial record for the fastest boat past the first turning mark: an incredible four minutes, 35 seconds. Live television audio picked up Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards exclaim: ”Look at that thing go!” Which perfectly articulated how the all-conquering Wild Oats XI welcomed the threat of a new pretender to her crown.

Mark Richards, skipper of Line Honours winner WILD OATS XI, and Roger Hickman, owner and skipper of Overall Winner WILD ROSE - Photo by Rolex Daniel Forster

Mark Richards, skipper of Line Honours winner super yacht WILD OATS XI, and Roger Hickman, owner and skipper of Overall Winner WILD ROSE yacht - Photo by Rolex/Daniel Forster

The two Maxis shadowed each other down the New South Wales coast; Comanche led for the first 24 hours but when conditions lightened, Wild Oats XI took charge proving quicker in negotiating a lighter patch of wind. “That was the key moment,” confirmed Wild Oats XI’s Spanish navigator Juan Vila.

Arriving in Hobart on a spectacular Sunday afternoon after 50 hours at sea – over eight hours outside the race record Wild Oats XI set in 2012 – Oatley’s crew enjoyed a rapturous applause from an enthusiastic public. Comanche lived up to her pre-race billing as a serious contender arriving just 49 minutes later. “Our team did an unbelievable job,” explained skipper Ken Read. “On one hand we are disappointed, on the other proud of what we put together.  Both boats sailed a flawless race. They had their day, they had 12 hours of Wild Oats weather.”

For Richards – winning skipper in each of Wild Oats XI victories – this victory was the sweetest. “It was one of those challenges you dream about. It was a hard race, the competition the toughest we’ve had. The newest, latest technology, versus our boat, which is ten years old. We always thought Comanche would be quicker; we tried to minimise the losses, constantly working out how we could attack this thing and working an angle to our advantage. Ten years ago, we would never have dreamt about an eighth Rolex Sydney Hobart win.”

Roger Hickman's WILD ROSE (AUS), overall winner of the 70th Rolex Sydney Hobart - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Roger Hickman's sailing yacht WILD ROSE (AUS), overall winner of the 70th Rolex Sydney Hobart - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Rose gold

Hickman acquired what would become Wild Rose in 1991 from Bob Oatley. Two years later Hickman – along with co-owners Bruce Foye and Lance Peckman – won the race when the boat was still called Wild Oats. It was subsequently renamed to avoid confusion with Oatley’s 100 foot Maxi.

“I did three Hobarts with Bob on this boat. When I bought the boat from him in 1991, he almost gave it to me,” Hickman explained. “I was a young merchant navy officer then. I was honoured and privileged to sail with him and the others. When I went to buy the boat, I only had half the money, so I asked Bob if he could wait while I tried to raise the rest. He said to me, ‘Roger, you were the only guy to ever go to the bar and buy me a drink, don’t worry about the rest!’”

“Fantastic, wonderful, surreal, it hasn’t sunk in,” said Hickman, a Hobart native on receiving the Tattersall’s Cup. “I am so elated. Every sportsman old and young loves the feeling of competing and winning.”

Overall Winner, Roger Hickman and WILD ROSE crew - Photo by Rolex Daniel Forster

Overall Winner, Roger Hickman and WILD ROSE yacht crew - Photo by Rolex/Daniel Forster

Wild Rose is comprised of a 14-strong crew, including six female sailors as well as family members – Hickman’s sister Lisa, and brother Andrew, both for the first time. Passionate about the competition, by his own admission Hickman is a driven, fierce competitor. Claiming victory in the 70th edition of the race carried an extra seal of satisfaction for Hickman, a keen student of the race’s history and 38-time competitor. “I am pleased to have done more than half of the 70 races; this year is a big milestone, it shows the creativity of the people seventy years ago, the enormous efforts that have gone in.”

Perhaps the appeal of the race was most poignantly articulated by Wild Rose navigator Jenifer Wells. “The fantastic thing about sailing is that it’s so challenging physically, mentally; you have to persevere and deal with what is dealt in terms of the weather, sea state. You come together as team. It’s not what happens to you during the race, it’s what you do about it.”

The two winners were awarded Rolex timepieces for their momentous achievements on the water. The values so ably demonstrated by the successful crews echoed by Rolex, title sponsor of the race since 2002 and which recently extended its commitment to the race and organisers, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart In Numbers

5,720 – number of starting yachts in the history of the Rolex Sydney Hobart

This year marked the 70th edition of the race

117 yachts started the race, 103 finished, 14 retired

3 days, 7 hours, 4 minutes and 43 seconds – time it took winning yacht Wild Rose to complete the 628 nm race

2 days, 2 hours, 3 minutes and 26 seconds – time it took Wild Oats XI to claim line honours

Ragamuffin 100 owner/skipper Syd Fischer at the age of 87 became the race’s oldest competitor

Duende’s Tony Cable extended his record number of races to 49

Winning skipper, Roger Hickman, has taken part in the race 38 times

Bacardi has completed the race more times than another boat: 29

21 years passed between Wild Rose’s two Rolex Sydney Hobart victories (the boat was called Wild Oats in 1993)

14 crew members comprised the winning team on Wild Rose

Wild Oats XI has claimed a record 8 Rolex Sydney Hobart line honours wins

Farr 43 sailing yacht Wild Rose – The overall corrected time winner of Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2014

December 30, 2014

The overall corrected time winner of the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has become Roger Hickman’s Farr 43 sailing yacht Wild Rose.

Overall Winner, Roger Hickman and sailing yacht WILD ROSE crew - Photo by Rolex Daniel Forster

Overall Winner, Roger Hickman and sailing yacht WILD ROSE crew - Photo by Rolex/Daniel Forster

Completing the legendary 628 nautical mile Rolex Sydney Hobart race course in 3 days, 7 hours, 4 minutes and 43 seconds, Wild Rose arrived in Hobart on Monday evening, finishing with a corrected time that proved insurmountable for the yachts drifting through an abating breeze to Hobart.

Hickman acquired Wild Rose in 1991 from Bob Oatley, the owner of the all-conquering 100-foot Maxi yacht Wild Oats XI. Two years later Hickman – along with co-owners Bruce Foye and Lance Peckman – won the race on the boat then called Wild Oats.

How fitting that on the year Oatley, who sailed the great race three times with Hickman, witnessed his stellar Wild Oats XI crew make history with an eighth line honours success that Wild Rose claimed the race’s most significant prize. “Fantastic, wonderful, surreal, it hasn’t sunk in,” said Hickman, a Hobart native. “I am so elated. Every sportsman old and young loves the feeling of competing and winning.”

Roger Hickman's WILD ROSE (AUS) sailing to win the 70th Rolex Sydney Hobart

Roger Hickman's WILD ROSE (AUS) sailing to win the 70th Rolex Sydney Hobart - Photo credit to Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Wild Rose, a 29-year old boat, is comprised of a 14-strong crew, including six female sailors as well as family members including Hickman’s sister Lisa, and brother Andrew, both for their first time. Passionate about the competition, by his own admission Hickman is a driven, fierce competitor. “The Rolex Sydney Hobart is something you’ve got to do, whether you say it’s the Everest of yachting, whether it’s the camaraderie, the challenge, or the solitude of being on the ocean. It’s wonderful so many people enjoy the race from the Maxis to the timber boats.”

Claiming victory in the 70th edition of the race clearly carries an extra satisfaction for Hickman, a keen student of the race’s history and 38-time competitor. “I am pleased to have done more than half of the 70 races; this year is a big milestone, it shows the creativity of the people seventy years ago, the enormous efforts that have gone in.”

Roger Hickman, owner and skipper of Farr 43 yacht WILD ROSE (AUS), 70th Rolex Sydney Hobart overall winner

Roger Hickman, owner and skipper of Farr 43 yacht WILD ROSE (AUS), 70th Rolex Sydney Hobart overall winner - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

What drives so many competitors to the Rolex Sydney Hobart is that the handicap system provides any boat theoretical chance of victory. Hickman and his skilled crew sailed the boat hard, to its full potential, and pushed relentlessly to maximise her speed. Nights at sea were short, resources deployed skilfully. “One of the things that can cause you problems in the Rolex Sydney Hobart is fatigue and sleep depravation. As skipper, owner and the one with the most anxiety about winning, losing, and safety, I didn’t get much sleep, but I’ve got a great crew and slept when I needed.”

The fatigue is already forgotten as Hickman and his crew toast a historic Rolex Sydney Hobart success having received the Tattersall’s Cup and Rolex timepiece for etching their unique place in sailing history.

Across the finish line shortly after 15:00 AEDT today (30 December), after just over four days of racing, Southern Myth became the final yacht to complete the 2014 race. Out of 113 total starters, 103 boats finished and 14 retired.

A Great Success of Reichel/Pugh designed yachts in 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

December 30, 2014

This year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has been a huge success for the Reichel/Pugh-designed yachts, including the majestic 100-foot Supermaxi yacht Wild Oats XI. Sailing yacht Wild Oats XI has claimed her eighth line honours in the race.

Reichel Pugh designed Supermaxi yacht WILD OATS XI (AUS) on the way to her eighth Line Honours victory - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Reichel/Pugh designed Supermaxi yacht WILD OATS XI (AUS) on the way to her eighth Line Honours victory - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

100’ Wild Oats XI – 1st to Finish – 8th Line Honors Win In 10 Years – Bob Oatley

40′ Chutzpah – 1st IRC Division 2 –  2nd Overall in fleet IRC  –  2nd ORCi Division 2 – Bruce Taylor

52′ Scarlet Runner – 1st in Division 1 ORCi – 2nd Division 1 IRC – Robert Date

Robert Oatley’s Reichel/Pugh designed and McConaghy Boats-built 100’ Canting Keel Super Maxi yacht WILD OATS XI has claimed the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race line honours for an eighth time in ten years at 15.03.26 hours today, in the time of two days two hours three minutes and 26 seconds. This goes down in the race’s 70 year history as the only yacht to ever achieve this amazing feat. Last year, Wild Oats XI matched the efforts of Morna/Kurrewa IV, the holder of seven line honours titles during the 1950’s and her last in 1960.

“The boys did a wonderful job in overcoming superyacht Comanche which led for the first night. I can’t believe I’m standing here today,” skipper Mark Richards said. “To win a Hobart is a great honour, but to win line honours for an eighth time – I’m so proud.” RSHYR media reported that Bob Oatley was effusive dockside as his yacht was brought to the dock by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania escort vessel: “It’s a miracle – and we will be back next year, yes, we’ll definitely be back next year,” a clearly emotional Oatley said. “She is the best boat in the world – she’s proved that.”

Reichel/Pugh’s Sydney-Hobart History

Reichel/Pugh designed Maxis have taken First to Finish in 9 out of the last 10 editions of the race and currently hold the elapsed time record of 1 day 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds. Since 1996 RP Maxis have taken Line Honours 10 times including a record 4 times in a row by 100’ super yacht Wild Oats XI in 2005-2008. Wild Oats XI has taken Line Honours a record 8 times in ten years (2005-2014),  beaten by Reichel/Pugh-designed 100′ superyacht Alfa Romeo in 2009. The Current Race Record was set in 2012 by 100’ Wild Oats XI beating the previous record Wild Oats XI set in 2005.

2013 – 100’ Wild Oats XI – 1st to Finish – B. Oatley – 7th Line Honors Win In 9 Years

2012 – 100’ Wild Oats XI – 1st to Finish/1st Overall in Fleet/Overall Winner Corrected Time – Bob Oatley (Trifecta Win and Course Record Set: 1 day 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds)

2012 – 63’ Mini-Maxi Loki – 2nd Overall & 1st Division 1 – Stephen Ainsworth

2012 – 66’ delete ‘pocket’ Mini Maxi Black Jack – 3rd Overall & 1st Overall ORCi – Peter Harburg

2011 – 63’ Mini-Maxi Loki – 1st Overall – Stephen Ainsworth

2010 – 100’ Wild Oats XI – 1st to Finish – Bob Oatley (Record 5 times Line Honors)

2010 – 51’ Secret Men’s Business 3.5 – 1st Overall – Geoff Boettcher

2009 – 100’ Alfa Romeo – 1st to Finish – Neville Crichton

2009 – 100’ Wild Oats XI – 2nd to Finish – Bob Oatley

2008 – 100’ Wild Oats XI – 1st to Finish – Bob Oatley (Record 4 times in a row Line Honors)

2007 – 100’ Wild Oats XI – 1st to Finish – Bob Oatley

2006 – 100’ Wild Oats XI – 1st to Finish – Bob Oatley

2005 – 100’ Wild Oats XI – 1st to Finish/1st Overall in Fleet/Overall Winner Corrected Time – Bob Oatley (Trifecta Win and Course Record Set: 1 day, 18 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds)

2005 – 100’ Alfa Romeo – 2nd to Finish & 2nd on Corrected Time in Fleet – Neville Crichton

2002 – 90’ Alfa Romeo – 1st to Finish – Neville Crichton

1996 – 80’ Morning Glory – 1st to Finish –  Dr. Hasso Plattner (Course Record Set: 2 days, 14 hours, 7 minutes, 10 seconds)

Below is a choice of the stylish charter yachts with design by Reichel/Pugh:

Supermaxi yacht Wild Oats XI claims eighth line honours at the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

December 29, 2014

It was the space of just six nautical miles that made the difference when it came to Bob Oatley’s supermaxi yacht Wild Oats XI, claiming a historic eighth line honours in the 628 nautical mile Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Wild Oats XI surges up the Derwent River towards Hobart amid a sea of white on her way to a historic eighth line honours victory in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. (Credit: Andrea Francolini/AUDI)

Wild Oats XI surges up the Derwent River towards Hobart amid a sea of white on her way to a historic eighth line honours victory in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. (Credit: Andrea Francolini/AUDI)

Having carefully analysed the weather prognosis for the race, skipper Mark Richards, Spanish navigator Juan Vila, and tactician Iain Murray, pre-determined a point in Bass Strait that they were convinced the yacht must reach as quickly as possible if they were to avoid being trapped by a forecast pocket of little or no wind.

When they reached that point two days ago, Wild Oats had come from behind in very light winds and was then leading their powerful American challenger for line honours, superyacht Comanche, by six miles – and that made all the difference.

Once at that point, Wild Oats XI nosed her way into the anticipated building breeze and accelerated while the Comanche (owned by Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze Clark, and skippered by Ken Read) struggled to free herself from the shackles of a near calm. Hours later, in the depth of the night far off Tasmania’s east coast, Wild Oats held a lead of around 40 nautical miles. This would prove to be a buffer large enough to absorb a late challenge from Comanche in the battle to be first into Hobart.

At times both yachts had charged through the night at more than 30 knots, but soon after sunrise Wild Oats XI hit an expected zone of light wind while Comanche continued to close the gap. Mark Richards said: “We expected our lead to be compressed, and it was.”

There were anxious times for everyone – sailors and race followers alike – as Comanche continued to make gains. But the advantage Wild Oats XI had established earlier withstood the test.

What followed was the most spectacular finish seen in the race’s 70-year history, Wild Oats was escorted up the Derwent River by hundreds of small boats, their wakes leaving a swathe of white water that looked like vapour trails. At the same time thousands of people lined the river banks and the docks to welcome the big boat to their city.

Bob Oatley, aged 86, was dockside to greet his yacht and crew. Inevitably the media descended on him with the big question: “Will you be going for a ninth win next year?” His answer was simple: “Ten wins sounds better to me.”

Comanche finished to a similarly rapturous welcome 49 minutes astern of Wild Oats XI.

Once that yacht was at the dock, and after Richards, Read and Clark had saluted each other’s efforts, Clark delivered more good news: his yacht would be back for the Hobart race in two years.

Later last night, when the Wild Oats XI’s crew celebrated their win at a dinner,  both Bob Oatley and Mark Richards praised the crew for the relentless, round-the-clock effort that led to the historic victory. They also welcomed Audi into the “Wild Oats Family” as a sponsor.

This year’s line honours win further cements Wild Oats XI’s place as the most successful yacht to have contested the race in its 70-year history, and Mark Richards as the most successful skipper. Since being launched for the 2005 Hobart race, Wild Oats XI has become the only yacht to secure the triple-crown – line and handicap honours and a race record time – on two occasions. She is also the only yacht to have achieved four consecutive line honours.