yacht racing Luxury Yacht & Superyacht News

Dubois Yachts confirm repeat sponsorship of the 2012 St. Barth´s Bucket

January 10, 2012

Dubois Yachts are happy to confirm that once again they are the sponsors of the St. Barth’s Bucket. There are over 45 vessels participating in this popular race. 10 of these are Dubois designed vessels, including the luxury charter yacht Bliss, Destination, charter yacht Ganesha, sailing yacht Koo, Lady B superyacht, charter yacht Moonbird, luxury yacht Salperton IV, super yacht Twizzle and sailing yacht Zefira.

Luxury charter yacht BLISS

Luxury charter yacht BLISS

Sailing yacht KOO

Sailing yacht KOO

GANESHA Superyacht

GANESHA Superyacht

Luxury yacht DESTINATION

Luxury yacht DESTINATION

LADY B Superyacht

LADY B Superyacht

Luxury charter yacht MOONBIRD

Luxury charter yacht MOONBIRD

Luxury yacht SALPERTON IV

Luxury yacht SALPERTON IV

Super Yacht TWIZZLE

Super Yacht TWIZZLE

ZEFIRA Superyacht

ZEFIRA Superyacht

The St. Barth’s Bucket 2012 will take place from March 22nd to 25th.

Dubois Yachts – Official Sponsor of the NZ Millennium Cup 2012

January 10, 2012

The world-renowned design studio Dubois Yachts is happy to be supporting the 2012 NZ Millennium Cup. Three Dubois designed yachts already belonging to the confirmed participants are the 44m sailing yacht Imagine, the 39.6m super yacht Janice of Wyoming, both built by Alloy Yachts as well as the 33.8m Silvertip superyacht by Yachting Developments.

44m sailing yacht IMAGINE by Alloy Yachts

44m sailing yacht IMAGINE by Alloy Yachts

The NZ Millennium Cup 2012 is a private event for Superyacht owners, their guests and crew, and will run over three days from 15th February to 18th February in Auckland, New Zealand. There will be sections for Sail and Motor Yachts, with a mix of harbour and passage races in the Hauraki Gulf to make the most of the spectacular yachting environs.

39.6m super yacht Janice of Wyoming by Alloy Yachts

39.6m super yacht Janice of Wyoming by Alloy Yachts

Preparations are well underway for the NZ Millennium Cup 2012 regatta. So far, there are 5 yachts registered for participation, with strong interest from a number of others. Events both on and off the water are fast taking shape and it promises to be a spectacular regatta!

Yachting Development´s 34m super yacht SILVERTIP

33.8m SILVERTIP superyacht by Yachting Developments

The NZ Millennium Cup is now an annual fixture on the superyacht circuit, and is set to become the premier Superyacht regatta of the South Pacific.

The Rolex Sydney Hobart handicap victory for Stephen Ainsworth´s 63´ LOKI yacht

January 09, 2012

After fourteen attempts, Stephen Ainsworth is happy to have won the historic Tattersall’s Cup with his McConaghy built Reichel/Pugh 63′ Loki yacht, adding the Rolex-Sydney-Hobart handicap victory to a brimming trophy cabinet.

LOKI yacht - Photo By Rolex Daniel Forster

LOKI yacht - Photo By Rolex Daniel Forster

“We are elated, it is a fantastic feeling, a huge thrill to win this race,” said a jubilant Ainsworth. “I know how hard it is to win this race. I have been trying for a long time!”

Critical to Loki’s victory in the Rolex Sydney-Hobart yacht race was the crew’s ability to push the yacht through the first night’s thirty-knot Southerly front – and then work through the light patches closer to the finish: Ainsworth’s crew taking sixty miles out of the leading Maxis in one morning.

Launched in Sydney in 2008, Loki yacht has been the standout IRC yacht in Australia – in 2010 taking both line honours and IRC Division 1 overall victory in the Audi Sydney Harbour regatta, plus the overall win in the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race.

Crowned the 2010-2011 Bluewater Pointscore Champion – winning four of the seven-race series and taking line honours and the IRC 0/1 divisional win in this year’s Audi Sydney Offshore Newcastle Yacht Race, in September Loki added the Bird Island Race to its list of successes, breaking the 15 year-old record held by the 80ft super yacht Brindabella.

Congratulations to Loki’s owner and crew on beating an international fleet of eighty seven yachts and winning such a challenging and complex Rolex Sydney-Hobart race. Ainsworth describing the victory as “Pure joy!”

New catamaran category at the 2012 Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous

January 05, 2012

The 2012 Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous to be held from the 14th to 17th March in the beautiful and popular Caribbean yacht charter destination – the Virgin Gorda, has been announced to feature a new, catamaran category.

Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous - Photos By Jeff Brown, Superyacht Media, Cory Silken and Ingrid Abery

Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous - Photos By Jeff Brown, Superyacht Media, Cory Silken and Ingrid Abery

The racing will be divided into three classes: performance, cruising and catamaran, with the fleet competing to win the perpetual silver cup made by Garrard of London – the Boat International Media Trophy.

Sail and motor yachts with an LOA of over 80ft and catamaran yachts of over 60ft LOA are invited to participate in the 2012 Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous, hosted exclusively for the enjoyment of superyacht owners and their personal guests.

The Westward Cup 2012 Extends Invitations to Eight Big Class Yachts

January 05, 2012

Eight of the most stunning Big Class yachts in the world have been confirmed by the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS) to come and grace the shores of the Solent and compete in the second edition of the Westward Cup regatta, held in June 11-16, 2012.

The beauty of Big Class yacht racing in Cowes during the inaugural Westward Cup in 2010 - Photo by Franco Pace

The beauty of Big Class yacht racing in Cowes during the inaugural Westward Cup in 2010 - Photo by Franco Pace

Run in association with the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) and the Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM) with the RYS as the Organising Authority, the Westward Cup was first held in July 2010 and was a tremendous success for everyone taking part. It marked the revival of and interest in Big Class yacht racing in the Solent and around the world.

55m luxury charter yacht ELENA

55m luxury charter yacht ELENA

46m sailing yacht LULWORTH

46m sailing yacht LULWORTH

The Clubs have now extended invitations to the owners of the following yachts to race in June:

39.50m sailing yacht Altair by Fife & Co.
55m charter yacht Elena by Factoria Naval de Marin
46m sailing yacht Lulworth by Hakvoort Yachts
38m super yacht Mariquita by Fife & Co.
41m luxury yacht Cambria by Fife & Co.
50m sailing yacht Eleonora E (ex Eleonora) by Van der Graaf
42m Mariette superyacht by Herreshoff
32m super yacht Moonbeam IV by Fife & Co.

38m luxury yacht MARIQUITA

38m luxury yacht MARIQUITA

Speaking on behalf of the RYS, David Aisher, Rear Commodore Yachting, commented that after the immense success of the inaugural event in 2010, the organisers are delighted to once again be staging the Westward Cup in Cowes and are hoping for maximum take-up of the invitations to enter the Westward Cup 2012.

41m super yacht CAMBRIA

41m super yacht CAMBRIA

He said, “The Westward Cup is a unique event for these exquisite racing yachts. Apart from the competitive and challenging racing opportunities that the Solent and adjacent waters can provide, there is the relaxing and welcoming atmosphere of Cowes and the many clubs here, the true ‘home of yachting’ to many of these yachts. The RYS will provide a base for the owners and their guests, and, by staging the Westward Cup in Cowes, will also be providing the devotees of Big Class yachting a spectacle rarely seen in Solent waters.”

50m ELEONORA superyacht

50m ELEONORA superyacht

The RYS will run the racing along the successful lines of 2010, making maximum use of the waters around the Isle of Wight to ensure the captains and crews enjoy challenging and competitive racing that only these waters can deliver. Racing will be scored under the International IRC Rule.

42m sailing yacht MARIETTE

42m sailing yacht MARIETTE

The RYS may also produce results under a modified CIM rule to enable comparison of results using a rule used at other regattas by these magnificent yachts. It is also the intention to include a race around the Isle of Wight, subject to weather conditions.

32m super yacht MOONBEAM IV

32m super yacht MOONBEAM IV

2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race: Victory On The 14th Attempt

January 02, 2012

The 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race was notable thanks to its unexpected winner of the coveted line honours trophy, a worthy overall winner and a slow passage home for the smaller yachts.

Start of the race Photo: ROLEX/D. Forster

Start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Photo: ROLEX/D. Forster

The Boxing Day start of the 628 mile race south to Hobart was spectacular, with the 88-strong international fleet setting off from the heart of Sydney Harbour, with its iconic bridge and Opera House as a backdrop. The Heads and shoreline were teeming with spectators as news helicopters flew overhead. Leading the charge on the beat out of the Harbour was Bob Oatley’s maxi sailing yacht Wild Oats XI, the line honours winner in five out of the last six Rolex Sydney Hobarts.

Weather-wise the start of the race was fairly conventional with some fast running conditions for the afternoon, but with a dramatic 180 degree wind shift into the south forecast for the first evening. A swell from the north generated by the ex-tropical cyclone Fina, combined with this wind shift, created a horrific confused sea on the opening night, as the 30 knots southerly wind kicked in with a punch, gusting up to 40 knots. But it is these brutal, testing conditions competitors expect when they set out on the Rolex Sydney Hobart and give the event its reputation as one of the world’s toughest offshore yacht races.

Super Yacht WILD OATS XI passing Tasman Island Photo: ROLEX/K. Arrigo

Super Yacht WILD OATS XI passing Tasman Island Photo: ROLEX/K. Arrigo

For the crews it was a case of battening down hatches and muscling through and by the first morning there was an impressively low attrition rate with just two retirements. They were joined later by a third, the 2003 line honours winner Grant Wharington’s Wild Thing, suffering sail damage.

24 hours in and race favourite for line honours, the Mark Richards-skippered Wild Oats XI superyacht, was 11 miles ahead of Anthony Bell’s super maxi sailing yacht Investec Loyal, these two having broken away from Peter Millard’s Lahana with singlehanded round the world sailor Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss holding fourth on the water. On IRC handicap Roger Hickman, an old hand in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, competing in his 35th race, had pulled into the lead aboard his 1993 race winner, Wild Rose yacht.

INVESTEC LOYAL Superyacht escorted by spectator craft before crossing the finish line Photo: ROLEX/D. Forster

INVESTEC LOYAL Superyacht escorted by spectator craft before crossing the finish line Photo: ROLEX/D. Forster

For this Rolex Sydney Hobart Wild Oats XI had been ‘turboed’ with the addition of new twin daggerboards and a larger square-topped mainsail, but her dominance as the fastest boat in the race was called into question when at 20:00 on the second evening of the race she was overtaken by the similarly-sized, but older, Investec Loyal.

With the wind lightening and backing from the southwest into the southeast, so Wild Oats XI was caught in a wind hole. Her co-navigator, Ian Burns explained what happened: “They [Investec Loyal’s crew] were keeping track of how we were doing and the moment we stopped under a cloud with no wind under it, they basically sailed right around the outside of this large hole we were stuck in and came back above us. It was good work on their part.”

Super maxi sailing yachts INVESTEC LOYAL and WILD OATS XI close to the finish line on the Derwent River Photo: ROLEX/D. Forster

Super maxi sailing yachts INVESTEC LOYAL and WILD OATS XI close to the finish line on the Derwent River Photo: ROLEX/D. Forster

The theoretically faster super yacht Wild Oats XI managed to catch up and overtook Investec Loyal at 07:30 on the second morning of the race as the two boats were sailing down the east coast of Tasmania. For the rest of the morning followers of the race were on the edge of their seats as the two boats match raced around the remainder of the course.

As they rounded the south side of Tasman Island, so Wild Oats XI was becalmed again and, taking their chance, Investec Loyal once again pounced, sailed around the outside of them to regain the lead. Crossing Storm Bay and sailing up the Derwent River to the finish, the Wild Oats XI crew, sailing with many of Australian yachting’s elder statesmen and women on board, threw all they could at Investec Loyal, but it was not enough. Investec Loyal crossed the finish line at 19:14:18 local time, after 2 days 6 hours 14 minutes and 8 seconds at sea, just 3 minutes and 8 seconds ahead of Wild Oats XI. This was the fourth closest finish in the 67 year history of the Rolex Sydney Hobart.

Unfortunately celebrations were dampened when the line honours winner was protested by the race committee. This was over a conversation between Investec Loyal tactician Michael Coxon and a helicopter pilot on the first morning of the race in which Coxon enquired about whether the mainsail or the trysail was being used on board Wild Oats XI. Investec Loyal’s line honour victory was finally confirmed when, after a three hour long protest hearing, the International Jury concluded that Coxon, in his capacity as Managing Director of North Sails Australia, had made the enquiry about Wild Oats XI’s new 3Di mainsail for professional reasons and this in no way had benefitted Investec Loyal’s performance during the race.

Tattersalls Cup and Yacht-Master timepiece for Overall Handicap winner and Line Honours winner Photo: ROLEX/D. Forster

Tattersalls Cup and Yacht-Master timepiece for Overall Handicap winner and Line Honours winner Photo: ROLEX/D. Forster

“It was one of the great experiences in my life,” said Anthony Bell, yacht Investec Loyal’s owner and skipper of his win. “The whole thing from the very start, right through to the finish line, was exhilarating. It was a really tough fought out race, but the crew believed in the boat and the cause right from the start and we are so happy to have got past the finish line first.”

Bell’s campaign doubled as a vehicle to raise money for charity (it raised Aus$ 1 million in 2011) on this occasion for the Humpty Dumpty Foundation, which purchases vital medical equipment for 178 children’s hospitals around Australia and East Timor. For this reason among their crew were a number of celebrities including sports stars, such as Australian rugby union internationals Phil Kearns and Phil Waugh.

As the slower yachts were becalmed in Storm Bay and up the Derwent River, so it became evident that this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart would be one for the smaller large boats, including the competitive 50ft fleet. However the stand-out boat in this size range was Stephen Ainsworth’s Reichel Pugh 63, Loki. Over the last 18 months this has proved to be one of the most successful campaigns in on the Australian circuit. Under IRC, Loki’s corrected time was 50 minutes faster than that of Michael Hyatt’s Farr 55 Living Doll, with 84 year old Syd Fischer’s modified TP52 Ragamuffin third and the Cookson 50 Jazz of Britain’s Chris Bull, fourth.

“We are elated. It is a fantastic feeling, a huge thrill to win this race,” said a jubilant Ainsworth, after being presented with a Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece by Patrick Boutellier of Rolex Australia and the coveted Tattersall’s Cup, for winning IRC handicap honours. “Having done 14 races, I know how hard it is to win this race. So many things have to go right for you and the wind gods were with us. Our race went extremely well. The aim for the navigators was to avoid stopping and we successfully did that, although we came close a couple of times. Look at what happened to Wild Oats XI – that could easily have happened to us.”

Ainsworth’s crew, led by Irish round the world sailor Gordon Maguire, was 18 strong, but of these only one third were professionals. “The handicap win came when the big boats parked up,” said Maguire. At one point the maxis had extended to almost 120 miles in front of them, but as they had slowed, so Loki had managed to reel back 60 miles.

Earlier in the race the competitive 40 and 45ft Beneteaus had been among the most promising on handicap along with Roger Hickman’s Wild Rose. However the progress of the smaller boats was hampered as the wind shut down for them as they manoeuvred around the east coast of Tasmania into Storm Bay and up the Derwent River leading up to Hobart.

Darryl Hodgkinson, skipper of the First 45 Victoire summed it up best: “I thought it was going to be a carbon copy of last year’s race where we sat in the Derwent. This year we actually camped in Derwent! The last miles from the Tasman Light to the finish typically take six to seven hours. On this occasion it took 15.”

A pre-race favourite among the smaller boats was the new Ker 40 AFR Midnight Rambler, but co-owner Ed Psaltis, winner of the race in 1998, said they had made some wrong tactical choices and, entering Bass Strait, ended up in a giant wind hole, entrapping them for six hours.

While there had been a strong turn-out in Hobart’s Constitution Dock to witness the end of the match race marathon between Investec Loyal and Wild Oats XI, this was rivalled when Australian youth solo round the world sailing phenomenon Jessica Watson arrived aboard Ella Baché another Challenge. Watson’s crew have now entered the history books as the youngest to take part in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, but having spent two and a half months training as a team prior to the start Watson was delighted with taking second place in the Sydney 38 class.

“It was really, really good, everything you would expect,” said Watson on her arrival. “We had three quite bouncy nights on the nose. We didn’t see any severe conditions, but there was some pretty uncomfortable stuff for quite a while there.”

Having previously sailed solo, Watson was full of praise for her crew. “The crew were awesome. It was the best sailing we’ve ever seen them do. It’s what we have been training for and they did exactly that. Everyone did an amazing job. All credit to them – I just held on for the ride.”

The last boat to arrive, crossing the line late in the afternoon on New Year’s Eve, was that of Sydney boatyard owner Sean Langman. Langman is best known for his attempts to win line honours in previous races, but on this occasion was sailing the wooden 1932 coastal cruiser/fishing boat, Maluka of Kermandie yacht as crew for his 18 year old son Peter.

This year’s race once again proved that to earn victory in the Rolex Sydney Hobart is something that takes persistence. As Gordon Maguire concluded: “I won this race in 1991 on an IOR 2 tonner Atara with Harold Cudmore. It was my second Hobart race and I thought ‘easy’. It has been 20 years since I won it again. I have won an awful lot of regattas in between and I do this race almost every year, so it is not an easy race to win. You can’t just come down here with the best boat in the world and win it. You have to come down here with the best boat in the world and have all the luck in the world – all that has to happen in the same race. It is a very unusual beast.”

2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race: Done And Dusted As Maluka Yacht Brings Up The Rear

January 02, 2012

At a ceremony on Hobart’s Constitution Dock on December 31, the divisional winners of the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart were awarded. Having finished ninth, Chris Bull’s British Cookson 50 Jazz yacht picked up honours in IRC Division 0, was second in ORCi Division 1 and finished fourth overall under IRC.

Sean Langman´s Maluka of Kermandie yacht Photo: ROLEX/D. Forster

Sean Langman´s Maluka of Kermandie yacht Photo: ROLEX/D. Forster

“I’d say this was an average one for conditions,” said Bull of this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart. “It had quite a lot of tough upwind, which is what you’d expect of this race and we like that. It enabled us in the first two thirds of the race to pull away from the main rivals of our size and that was better than expected. We had 25-35 knots and we didn’t think that would continue as long.”

The difficult patch for Jazz was subsequently off the east coast of Tasmania where it was all too possible to get caught in a wind hole and crews had to rely on the progress of the boats ahead of them to negotiate a way through. One third of the way down the Tasman coast, Bull admitted they did stop for just over an hour.

Chris Bull´s sailing yacht JAZZ Photo: ROLEX/K. Arrigo

Chris Bull´s sailing yacht JAZZ Photo: ROLEX/K. Arrigo

In the light conditions, the TP52s got away from Jazz and it was only rounding Tasman Light and entering Storm Bay that the British boat was able to not only reel them in, but to put distance on them. Unfortunately, just when it seemed that they had it in the bag, it went very light coming up the Derwent River.

This allowed Syd Fischer’s TP52 Ragamuffin yacht to close in from astern and ultimately to beat them. “So it happened again,” said Bull with a sigh, having on two previous occasions finished second in the southern hemisphere’s most prestigious yacht race.

Syd Fischer´s sailing yacht Ragamuffin Photo: ROLEX/K. Arrigo

Syd Fischer´s sailing yacht Ragamuffin Photo: ROLEX/K. Arrigo

Hickman’s hopes scuppered
Up until Thursday (day three), when conditions turned light for the smaller/slower boats, Roger Hickman and his crew on the Farr 43 yacht Wild Rose had been looking favourite to claim the overall IRC handicap prize. However, as progress slowed towards the end of their race, so Stephen Ainsworth’s 63ft Loki yacht moved into the lead, claiming the prize ultimately. “You have to be philosophical,” said Hickman. “I have been privileged to have won two of these races previously.” Wild Rose won in 1993, while Hickman was sailing master on SAP Ausmaid for her handicap victory in 2000.

During the race Hickman said he contemplated super yacht Wild Oats XI taking line honours and Wild Rose (originally Bob Oatley’s first Wild Oats) winning on handicap. Unfortunately it was not to be, in either case.

Sailing yacht JAZZ Photo: ROLEX/D. Forster

Sailing yacht JAZZ Photo: ROLEX/D. Forster

“It was exciting, a great event,” said Hickman, who this year participated in his 35th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. “This one was special as we got to celebrate the loss of our dear friend Sally Gordon, who sailed with us for 15 Rolex Sydney Hobarts.” Gordon, Hickman’s partner, was lost along with Andrew Short, skipper of the boat she was sailing, during the Sydney to Flinders Islet Race in 2009.

This year Hickman mounted a campaign aboard Wild Rose and had success winning the Lord Howe Island and the Audi Sydney Offshore Newcastle Yacht races. For the Rolex Sydney Hobart Wild Rose was sailed with a crew comprising six men and six women, the youngest 25, the oldest 75. Despite having three first timers on board, there were still 98 Hobart races between the crew.

Rives Potts´ sailing yacht CARINA Photo: ROLEX/D. Forster

Rives Potts´ sailing yacht CARINA Photo: ROLEX/D. Forster

British newbie
Sailing his first Rolex Sydney Hobart was British youth singlehanded round the world sailor, Mike Perham, who arrived yesterday aboard Jessica Watson’s Sydney 38 Ella Bacheyacht another Challenge.

“It was fantastic,” said Perham. “It was more than I could have hoped for. And our second place is just amazing for a team that has never done a Hobart race together on a new boat.  When you look at the other 38s, that have done five Hobarts before, there was stiff competition. Plus the yachts are all the same, so it comes down to the crew at the end of the day.”

Perham was navigator on board and sent them the right way through the breezy first night and down the New South Wales coast and took the favourable easterly track across the mouth of Bass Strait. Into the final miles, they, like most, parked up, but Perham says that they just kept pushing. Eventually this paid off and they reached the finish in second.

Perham says he is enjoying the transition into a racing sailor. In the build up to the Rolex Sydney Hobart he and the rest of Jessica Watson’s Ella Bache Another Challenge crew spent two and a half months training, including a dry run, sailing their Sydney 38 to Hobart and back. In years to come Perham hopes to compete in the French Figaro circuit.

Long way to come
Following last year’s victory in the Bermuda Race, and a class win this August in the Rolex Fastnet Race, American Rives Potts and the crew of the 1969 classic McCurdy & Rhodes design, Carina yacht didn’t find the cards falling in their favour on this occasion.

“It was probably one of the most challenging races I’ve ever done,” admitted Potts, a veteran America’s Cup and maxi boat sailor. “It was very exciting – we had light airs, heavy airs, windward work, leeward work, challenging currents, beautiful scenery when we got down to Tasmania and a very fine start also. It was a very exciting race.”

Jessica Watson´s Ella Bache yacht Photo: ROLEX/K. Arrigo

Jessica Watson´s Ella Bache yacht Photo: ROLEX/K. Arrigo

However their delivery from the UK didn’t leave them with enough race preparation time prior to the start. In addition, this was the first time Potts had competed in the Rolex Sydney Hobart. “It is most challenging from a weather point of view, navigation, changing gears and I think the weather changed more rapidly than any race I’ve ever seen. From zero wind to 30 knots and back and we had fronts converging on each other, currents coming from different directions – I am still giddy from it. It is a lot of fun.”

Carina is now to be delivered back to the east coast of the USA via Darwin, Bali, Christmas Island and Cape Town, hopefully in time to defend her title in the Newport-Bermuda Race.

Last home
With Hobart preparing itself for tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, so Maluka of Kermandie was the last yacht to arrive, finishing at 16:48 local time, after five days, three hours and 48 minutes at sea.

Built in 1932 as a coastal cruiser/fishing boat, the  yacht was being sailed by the Langman family, father Sean being a well known Rolex Sydney Hobart competitor. But in stark contrast to Maluka, Langman’s previous yachts have always gunned to be first across the line. Langman was a previous co-owner of this year’s line honours winner, Investec Loyal.

This year Langman senior handed over skippering of the yacht to his 18 year-old son Peter. “I thought I’d show him a race with proper turned down bed and proper meals, although having said that, the upwind stuff was pretty bumpy and rough. In fact I won the seasickness award. I was pretty crook that first night.”

This was Maluka’s third participation in the race and, according to Langman, this year’s event provided several firsts for him – aside from finishing last, on New Year’s Eve, at the start Maluka was called over early and had to return to restart.

Ironically having sailed the slowest yacht in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Langman is shortly to step on to the fastest yacht in Australia, his 60ft trimaran yacht newly acquired from France, to make an attempt on the course record from Sydney to Hobart.

2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race: Honours For Ainsworth´s Sailing Yacht LOKI On 14th Attempt

December 30, 2011

This morning (local time) Stephen Ainsworth’s sailing yacht Loki became the handicap winner of the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Overall Handicap Winner, LOKI, Stephen Ainsworth Photo K. Arrigo

Overall Handicap Winner, Stephen Ainsworth´s sailing yacht LOKI Photo: ROLEX/ K. Arrigo

At a presentation on board their white four year old Reichel Pugh 63 footer, Ainsworth and his crew were presented with a Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece by Patrick Boutellier of Rolex Australia and the much coveted Tattersall’s Cup, for winning IRC handicap honours, by Garry Linacre, Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, and Graham Taplin, Commodore of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.

“We are elated, it is a fantastic feeling, a huge thrill to win this race,” said a jubilant Ainsworth. “Having done 14 races, I know how hard it is to win this race. I have been trying for a long time. So many things have to go right for you and the wind gods were with us. Our race went extremely well. The aim for the navigators was to avoid stopping and we successfully did that, although we came close a couple of times. Look at what happened to super yacht Wild Oats XI – that could easily have happened to us.”

LOKI, Stephen Ainsworth Photo D. Forster

Stephen Ainsworth´s Yacht LOKI Photo: ROLEX/ D. Forster

The present Loki yacht was launched three years ago after Ainsworth’s previous boat was lost after she was abandoned in severe conditions when her rudder broke during the 2007 Rolex Middle Sea. The new yacht was built for offshore racing and specifically to win the Rolex Sydney Hobart. This was Ainsworth and his crew’s fourth attempt in the latest Loki.

Ainsworth and Loki are one of the most successful teams racing in Australia at present. Last year they won the Australian IRC Championship, the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race and this year Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. Personally, this month Ainsworth was voted the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s joint Ocean Racer of the Year.

Stephen Ainsworth, owner of LOKI, Overall Handicap winner, with Patrick Boutellier, Rolex Australia Photo D. Forster

Stephen Ainsworth, owner of LOKI yacht, Overall Handicap winner, with Patrick Boutellier, Rolex Australia Photo: ROLEX/ D. Forster

Typically they sail offshore with 18 crew and of these only one third are professional, led by Irish Volvo Ocean Race veteran, Gordon Maguire. On board typically Maguire helms while Ainsworth trims the main sheet. The other pros on board for the Rolex Sydney Hobart included other much capped round the world race sailors Anthony Merrington, Jeff Scott and sailmaker Alby Pratt, while a regular with Ainsworth is his long term navigator Michael Bellingham.

However, Maguire points out that many of their ‘amateur’ crew are among the most talented sailors in Australia. “We have really good sailors from all walks of life. It is more rewarding when you line up against fully pro crews.”

Overall Handicap Winner, LOKI crew with Patrick Boutellier, Rolex Australia Photo D. Forster

Overall Handicap Winner, LOKI yacht´s crew with Patrick Boutellier, Rolex Australia Photo: ROLEX/ D. Forster

For the Rolex Sydney Hobart this year, sailing yacht Loki was fitted with a new, bigger mainsail and for the first time they had an on board weather expert to assist Bellingham in the form of British navigator Will Best.

According to Maguire, during the race they were always in contention, but down the east coast of Tasmania the 100ft supermaxi yachts had stretched away. “They were getting out to 120 miles in front of us and at that distance it was hard to stay in touch on handicap. But they parked up at Tasman Island and that brought us right back into them. We took 60 miles out of them that morning. So the handicap win came when the big boats parked up. We were always very confident that we had time on the boats behind us, particularly with how the weather patterns were going to shape up from halfway down the east coast to the finish.” Ainsworth said Loki would return to the Rolex Sydney Hobart next year to defend her title.

ELLA BACHE arriving in Hobart with Jessica Watson and the youngest ever crew to contest the race Photo K. Arrigo

ELLA BACHE arriving in Hobart with Jessica Watson and the youngest ever crew to contest the race Photo: ROLEX/ K. Arrigo

Slow boats up the Derwent
Meanwhile for today’s finishers the pace had distinctly slowed. Over 11 and a half hours, last night and into this morning, just one boat arrived as the water turned to glass on Storm Bay and the Derwent River leading up to Hobart.
Darryl Hodgkinson, skipper of the Beneteau First 45 Victoire summed it up best: “I thought it was going to be carbon copy of last year’s where we sat in the Derwent. This year we actually camped in Derwent! The last miles from the Tasman Light to the finish typically takes six to seven hours, on this occasion it took 15.

Ed Psaltis, co-owner of AFR Midnight Rambler arrived in Hobart suffering from an infected arm and unhappy with their performance. “It was very disappointing, our race. We made a few wrong choices. Entering Bass Strait we were in good shape against all the opposition and doing well overall, but we found a hole [in the wind] bigger that anyone else did and we sat there for six hours going nowhere. We also had northerly, adverse current in Bass Strait so we did very well going the wrong way.”

MERIT and OPTIMUS PRIME meet off Tasman Island Photo D. Forster

Sailing yachts MERIT and OPTIMUS PRIME meet off Tasman Island Photo: ROLEX/ D. Forster

Between two scheds AFR Midnight Rambler lost 25 miles, but once the wind turned favourable and they could set the kite on their new Ker 40, they managed to make up the deficit. Then they too had a slow finish. “It was probably the slowest passage I’ve had from Tasman Light to the finish – and this is a pretty quick boat. But that’s how it is,” said Psaltis. “Next year it will be a lot better than it was this year.”

Australia’s solo sailing star arrives
This afternoon the marina of Constitution Dock was packed five deep with spectators waiting patiently for the arrival of 18 year-old Australian solo sailor Jessica Watson. Since 2010 when she became the youngest person ever to have completed a singlehanded voyage non-stop around the world, Watson has become a media sensation in Australia.

In this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Watson achieved her ambition to lead the youngest crew ever to compete in the race. She and her seven crew – among them fellow youth solo round the world sailor, Britain’s Mike Perham – raced in the Sydney 38 class aboard the pink hulled Ella Baché Another Challenge.

KNEE DEEP and albatross catch the sunset off Tasman Island Photo D. Forster

KNEE DEEP yacht and albatross catch the sunset off Tasman Island Photo: ROLEX/ D. Forster

“It was really, really good, everything you would expect,” said Watson upon her arrival. “We had three quite bouncy nights on the nose. We didn’t see any severe conditions, but there was some pretty uncomfortable stuff for quite a while there.”

Having previously sailed on her own, Watson was full of praise for her crew. “The crew were awesome. It was the best sailing we’ve ever seen them do. It’s what we have been training for and they did exactly that. Everyone did an amazing job. All credit to them – I just held on for the ride.”

Her round the world voyage also didn’t involve competition, something which she seems to have relished in this Rolex Sydney Hobart. “The last leg in was amazing, some really close racing with the Sydney 38 fleet, changing positions all the time. Then to come in second was just awesome. It was as good as anyone could hope for. We had a really close battle with The Goat.” She added: “The race wouldn’t have been the same if we didn’t have that close boat-on-boat racing.” Watson was especially pleased to have beaten their coaches, sailing on Deloitte As One yacht.

Since lunch time, yachts have been flooding into Hobart, with 26 arriving between 13:23 (local time) and the latest arrival at 17:24 of Tony Warren’s Kiss Goodbye to MS, the 49th finisher. 28 yachts remain still racing with John Bankart’s Eressea, bringing up the rear, some 137 miles from the finish.

2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race: Final Jockeying To Determine The Handicap Winner

December 29, 2011

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

LOKI, Stephen Ainsworth Photo D. Forster

Stephen Ainsworth´s Reichel Pugh 63 sailing yacht LOKI Photo: ROLEX/ D. Forster

Stephen Ainsworth’s crew on the successful Reichel Pugh 63 sailing yacht 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 super yacht 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.

Super yacht LOKI, Stephen Ainsworth Photo D. Forster

Super yacht LOKI Photo: ROLEX/ D. Forster

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.”

WILD ROSE, Roger Hickman Photo D. Forster

Roger Hickman´s WILD ROSE superyacht Photo: ROLEX/D. Forster

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 yacht 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 yachts have arrived in Hobart, the latest being Jim Cooney’s former line honours winner, yacht 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 superyacht.

BRINDABELLA passing Tasmania's iconic Organ Pipes Photo K. Arrigo

Sailing yacht BRINDABELLA passing Tasmania's iconic Organ Pipes Photo: ROLEX/ K. Arrigo

“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 yacht 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 yacht.

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.”

2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race: Investec Loyal Superyacht Crowned Line Honours Winners

December 29, 2011

After a three hour hearing at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania before the International Jury, the Race Committee’s protest against sailing yacht Investec Loyal was dismissed and Anthony Bell and the crew of his 100ft supermaxi finally became the line honours winners in the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Line Honours Winner INVESTEC LOYAL crossing the finish line Photo K. Arrigo

Line Honours Winner sailing yacht INVESTEC LOYAL crossing the finish line Photo: ROLEX/ K. Arrigo

This afternoon at the Rolex Sydney Hobart 2011 prizegiving, held in front of a crowd lining Constitution Dock, CYCA Commodore Garry Linacre, Lord Mayor of Hobart, Damon Thomas, and Patrick Boutellier of Rolex Australia presented Anthony Bell with the JH Illingworth Trophy and a Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece for the line honours victory.

“It is the long way around in some ways,” said a delighted Anthony Bell. “It is very relieving to get to this point. There are rules in every sport and, while it wasn’t ideal to go through this, I think that ultimately it gets beyond any question and whatever those questions that were asked have been properly answered.”

Line Honours Winner INVESTEC LOYALs crew Photo D. Forster

Line Honours Winner Super Yacht INVESTEC LOYAL´s crew Photo: ROLEX/ D. Forster

As to their victory, when yesterday Investec Loyal beat Bob Oatley’s five time Rolex Sydney Hobart line honours winning supermaxi super yacht Wild Oats XI to the Hobart finish line by a margin of just 3 minutes 8 seconds, Bell said: “We have come second to Wild Oats quite a lot. We came second last year to them and we kept coming second to them at Hamilton Island. It is an against-the-odds victory for us….I am still waiting for one of my crew members to wake me up and say you’re on watch!

INVESTEC LOYAL, Anthony Bell Photo K. Arrigo

INVESTEC LOYAL Superyacht, Anthony Bell Photo: ROLEX/ K. Arrigo

“The buzz is made best by the fact that Wild Oats XI is such a fantastic, professionally-run campaign by the Oatley family and, to have them compete so fiercely, it accelerated and heightened the value to us to go down the wire against a raceboat team like that.  They are the benchmark of supermaxi racing, not just in Australia, but in the world.”

Bell explained that the query to the ABC helicopter pilot about Wild Oats XI’s sails had been made by their tactician Michael Coxon. Coxon is also Managing Director of North Sails Australia and, after the strong winds of the first night at sea, he had been concerned about Wild Oats XI’s mainsail, made of their new product 3Di and believed to be the most expensive sail of its type in the world.

INVESTEC LOYAL Photo K. Arrigo

Supermaxi sailing yacht INVESTEC LOYAL Photo: ROLEX/ K. Arrigo

“One of the things that they did take was that Michael Coxon’s question was not to gain any advantage for our boat at all, but more to test how his business client’s product, that they bought off him, was going,” said Bell of the international jury’s decision.

10 yachts home
To date ten yachts of the 77 still racing (out of 88 starters) have arrived in Hobart, the latest being Syd Fischer’s modified TP52 Ragamuffin. Of the yachts now docked, Stephen Ainsworth’s Reichel Pugh 63 yacht Loki is currently favourite for the overall IRC handicap prize in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart. However still ahead of her on handicap is Roger Hickman’s 26 year-old Farr 43 Wild Rose. Still racing, she must finish before 08:12 local time tomorrow (30 December) if she is to beat Loki’s time under handicap.

Line Honours Prizegiving Ceremony Anthony Bell, owner of INVESTEC LOYAL and Patrick Boutellier, Rolex Australia  Photo D. Foster

Line Honours Prizegiving Ceremony Anthony Bell, owner of INVESTEC LOYAL superyacht and Patrick Boutellier, Rolex Australia Photo: ROLEX/ D. Foster

Currently lying fourth under handicap is Michael Hiatt’s Farr 55 Living Doll, which was the sixth boat to reach Hobart, arriving at 08:46 local time this morning. Hiatt believes they lost a vital 15 minutes to Loki coming up the Derwent River on the approach to the finish. “It got back up to 30 knots and then we had a nice run up here, but it faded at the end of the Derwent,” he said.

The battle INVESTEC LOYAL and WILD OATS XI on the Derwent River Photo K. Arrigo

The battle: sailing yacht INVESTEC LOYAL and super yacht WILD OATS XI on the Derwent River Photo: ROLEX/ K. Arrigo

Unlike the maxi yacht leaders, which, from time to time, parked up over the latter half of their race, Hiatt said that on Living Doll they never stopped.

On the breezy first night at sea, they had seen 40 knots in the gusts. “It was really tricky. Some spooky breezes came in and they were pretty fierce. It would drop off to nothing and all of a sudden we’d get a lot more, so we had to handle that, but all of the transitions were really good. We just needed a tweak more speed.”

Hiatt sailed the race with a formidable crew including round the world race winners Steve Cotton and Noel Drennan and even had their own meteorologist on board in the form of Canadian Eric Holden.

The Maxis INVESTEC LOYAL and WILD OATS XI on the Derwent River Photo K. Arrigo

The Maxis INVESTEC LOYAL superyacht and sailing yacht bWILD OATS XI on the Derwent River Photo: ROLEX/ K. Arrigo

Seventh home this morning, 12 minutes after Living Doll was Matt Allen, former Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the Rolex Sydney Hobart organisers, aboard his first generation Volvo Open 70, Ichi Ban.

Ichi Ban had suffered a few issues during the race. On the first night the lock jammed, holding their main halyard, and in the strong conditions they were forced to spend the rest of the night sailing with three reefs. It was only on the following morning they were able to send a crewman aloft enabling them to hoist the sail fully once again.

LOKI, Stephen Ainsworth Photo D. Forster

Supermaxi sailing yacht LOKI, Stephen Ainsworth Photo: ROLEX/ D. Forster

“That meant we had a really poor first night and it was really hard to recover from there,” said Allen. “We also broke one of the D4s [rigging on the mast], but luckily we picked it up before, otherwise we would have lost the mast.”

RAGAMUFFIN, Syd Fischer Photo K. Arrigo

Super Yacht RAGAMUFFIN, Syd Fischer Photo: ROLEX/ K. Arrigo

Allen said that in 22 Rolex Sydney Hobarts, he had never previously seen such big wind shifts, especially coming down the coast of Tasmania. During the race they ended up using all the sails on board, with the exception of the heavy running spinnaker. “It was hard work for the navigators, but we had nice sailing for the last 24 hours, good reaching spinnaker work – it’s been really enjoyable. The run we had from Tasman Island to the finish was probably the best run I’ve ever had in my entire life.”