Monthly Archives: December 2012

Cockburn Sound Regatta ends with a splash


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The Shaw 650 Shaw Thing finished second in the sportsboat division but was clearly the fastest boat in her fleet. –  photo c Bernie Kaaks


55th Cockburn Sounds Regatta 2012 – Overall


The 55th Cockburn Sound Regatta 2012 ended on a high after four days of light to fresh winds and high temperatures using a mixture of windward/leeward, passage race and round the cans races, capping off a successful sailing event in Rockingham, Western Australia.

The final day came to a pulsating finish as Greg Hill’s Firely 850 Whip overcame shifty wind patterns to take the final race and Division 2 title on a spectacular fashion.

Peter Hickson’s Beneteau First 35 Mulberry captured Division 1 IRC crown with a perfect score while Graeme Monkhouse’ J122 Lithium placed second with 10 points. On the other hand, Graeme Martin’s Gibsea 42 Sand Crabs Disco took the Jib and Main fleet division while Anita Wyntje’s UFO 34 Flying Sorceress rounded out the top-2 finishers.


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First 35 Mulberry won Div 1 IRC with a perfect score & overall regatta winner’s trophy. –  photo c Bernie Kaaks


With the Cruising Yacht Club’s balcony loaded with spectators and an unseasonal, gusty 18 – 20 knot north easterly breeze creating a downwind finish, Greg Hill’s Firefly 850 Whip It made the final dash to the line with a devastating burst, then dug the bows in, discharged a crew member over the stern and for several agonising seconds, sat with her hull perpendicular to the water. Just as it appeared that it would fully turn turtle, the bows popped back up and the little yacht took off again with the spinnaker flogging wildly, until finally, with a rescue boat standing by, it was brought under control.


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Whip It, a Firefly 850 Cat won Div 2, wowing spectators with a spectacular nosedive on the line –  photo c Bernie Kaaks


It was a spectacular finale to a glorious four day regatta, for many of the monohulls also had trouble on the tight reach to the finish line, bringing many a gasp from the spectators.

In the final analysis, most of the favourites finished the regatta off well. The 83-year-old International 9 metre Acrospire, sailed by Gary Martin, took out the trophy for the newly formed Classic Division, from Jay Lawry’s Herreschoff 28 Karoleeya.


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The International 9 metre Acrospire, now 83 year old, won the new classic division –  photo c Bernie Kaaks


The stand-out yacht though, and overall regatta champion, was Peter Hickson’s Beneteau First 35 Mulberry, which cleaned up some well credentialed IRC colleagues to win with a perfect score, dropping her second place from Saturday’s penultimate race. Graeme Monkhouse sailed a very consistent regatta in his J122 Lithium, to take out second place with 10 points.

Although there was an acknowledged problem in accommodating a multihull in a monohull fleet, there was no doubt at all that Greg Hill sailed an excellent regatta, and as his wipeout on the finish line confirmed, they sailed their little boat very hard throughout. That is not to take anything away from the second placegetter, the little Sonar yacht (which is designed for sailors with disabilities and carries no spinnaker) skippered by Paralympic bronze medallist Colin Harrison. Harrison’s control of the boat after finishing, requiring a downwind approach to a steel mooring pontoon (which they needed for wheelchair access) was breathtaking.

Division 3 was always a close affair and with just two points separating first and third places, the last race determined the outcome. Steve Morris took the honours in Freedom, followed by Ally Mounsey’s Austral 24 Lokman, with a further point back to Colin Jones’ little MB21 Anelaua.


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 Veteran skipper John Holder was very consistent in the Jib and Main fleet. – photo c Bernie Kaaks


The largest division in this year’s regatta was the Jib and Main fleet, with 19 entries. The popular winner, by half a point, was Graeme Martin’s Gibsea 42 Sand Crabs Disco. The fast finishing UFO 34 Flying Sorceress, sailed by Anita Wyntje, with wins in both the final two races, took out second place.

Sports boats sailed under a performance handicapping system, won by Bob von Felton’s Caffe Macchiato ahead of Mark Robins and Natalie Jackson’s Shaw 650 Shaw Thing. Shaw Thing was so dominant during the week that she finished with a higher TCF than the winner.


CSR Sportsboats Shawthing bk Mark Robins’ Shaw 650 Shaw Thing was first and fastest in the Sportsboat division –  photo c Bernie Kaaks


The wholesome support of the entire Rockingham community, led by the City of Rockingham and the Kwinana Industries Council, is one of the factors responsible for the rejuvenation of this regatta. It began in the 1950’s, flourished through the 1970’s and almost died until members Alan Campbell and Roger Smailes made a commitment to put it back on track just three years ago.

Their formula has been simple. Strong support from the local community enabled the club to make the event accessible, affordable and fun. Little give-aways, novelty prizes, and  tasty meals were great, but the spirit of enthusiasm that these two have been able to generate from their own membership has created an atmosphere where every visitor to the club is made to feel welcome.


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Tony Mitchell’s Farr 47 Sled won the Division 1 PHC trophy. –  photo c Bernie Kaaks


On-water management was provided in the main by the WA Offshore race team, led by race officer Trevor Milton, who did a fine job in ensuring that the full program was delivered despite some difficult conditions early in the week.

It would be a safe bet that numbers will increase for the fourth consecutive year in 2013 as the word spreads about just how good this little regatta has become.


by Bernie Kaaks as amended by Grand Prix Sailing


C Class Cup to be held in Quiberon in May 2013



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The first French C Class Catamaran event


At the 2012 International Boat Show in Paris, Challenge France, the French challenger for the 2013 International C Class Catamaran Championship (ICCCC) in partnership with the French National Sailing Centre (Ecole Nationale de Voile et des Sports Nautiques – ENVSN), announced details about the C Class Cup: the first French C Class Catamaran sailing event.

The C Class Cup will take place at the ENVSN – Saint-Pierre-Quiberon, France, from 22nd to the 26th of May 2013.

4 sailing teams already registered for the C Class Cup including Swiss team Hydros with Jérémie Lagarrigue, the French Groupama team with Franck Cammas and the French Challenge France team with Karine Fauconnier and Gwénolé Gahinet.

The event lasting 4 days will include 3 types of racing format: Fleet Races, Match Racing and Speed Matches. It will be a unique opportunity for the teams to compete, train and see how their boats measure up in the same sort of environment that they will encounter during the ICCCC, the class’s world championship in Falmouth, UK in September 2013.

The C Class Cup promises to be an important event in the spring of 2013. To support the promotion and organization of the C Class Cup, the organization is seeking a title sponsor and technical partners.


Steve Clark, President of the C Class Association:
“France has been at the vanguard of multihull development for many years, yet has been absent from the C Class competition which has always been the most advanced multihull class… We hope this regatta is the start of a new union between the French passion for speed and development with the C Class which has been the principle proving ground for new multihull technology.”

The explosion of interest in the C-Class has happened almost too fast to keep up with, and with the announcement that both Franck Cammas and Michel Desjoyeaux are bringing their own teams to the 2013 Little AC, interest is building fast for this ultimate development class.


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Willy Clark on who’s who, what’s where, and who’s coming to the show.


The United States – The Cogito Project

Boats: Aethon, Cogito

The standard bearer of American C-Class sailing since 1996 Steve Clark’s team has USA 105 “Aethon” fully functional while USA 104 “Cogito” is moving toward the water. The 104 spar that was destroyed in 2010 has been stitched back together and is currently being detailed at Guck Inc. Meanwhile Clark is also considering altering the surfaces on the 105 wing during the winter. Barring setbacks both boats will compete in Falmouth in 2013.


Canada – Team Canada
Boats: Canaan, Fill Your Hands

Fred Eaton’s squad, having sold CAN 4 “Alpha” to France still has the defending champion CAN 6 “Canaan” fully functional and prepared for Falmouth. The platform for CAN 7 “Fill Your Hands” is finished as are designs for a new wing. The team is contemplating building a new wing over the winter.


Switzerland – Hydros
Boats: Hydros 1, 2

The Swiss team is currently in the midst of two builds, one of which will be a foiler built using L’Hydroptere technology. The first set of hulls are already out of the mold and least one of the Swiss boats will be sailed in Quiberon, France in May at the 2013 C-Class Cup. The team plans to race both boats in Falmouth and expects to be in England as early as July for training.


Italy – Challenge Italia
Boats: Challenge 1, 2

Roberto Grippi’s group based in Palermo, Sicily intend to build four platforms with the first hitting the water in January and the second in March. At least two of the Italian boats will be sailed in Falmouth, one by Luna Rossa’s Francesca Bruni, with a third possibly sailed by another Italian group that are high on enthusiasm but currently low on funding.


France – Challenge France
Boats: PL VI, Potential CF 1

Sponsored by ABM Manutention, Benjamin Muyl’s program Challenge France has been sailing “Patient Lady VI” for the past two summers and are pursuing sponsorship for their next generation C-Class build.


Franck Cammas Racing
Boats: Alpha, FC1

Partially backed by Groupama, Frank Cammas Racing has acquired CAN 6 “Alpha” from the Canadians and plans to race in both Quiberon and Falmouth. Construction of their own design is currently under way and Cammas expects to be ready for the water in plenty of time for Quiberon.

Mer Agitee
Boat: Mer Agitee

Michel Desjoyeaux’s squad has also announced it’s entry into the class. Having already developed their wing prototype and tested them aboard Nacra 18′s the build is already well in progress. Desjoyeaux has not committed to the Quiberon event but expects to be ready in more than enough time for Falmouth.


England – Team Invictus
Boat: Team Invictus

The longest standing C-Class team outside of the United States, the British are currently having their new wing constructed at a Portuguese shop in Cascais in exchange for their wing design. The team plans to use their existing Invictus platform in Falmouth with a new wing and foil set.


For more details on the C-Class cats see:


Leaders dual slalom to Cape Horn




 Photo credit © Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / Vendee Globe



Vendée Globe 2012-2013 – Day 51


It is full attack mode for all 13 skippers on the Vendée Globe as each manages to maintain solid average speeds, all making good miles towards their next waypoint. For the two leaders, who spoke on Saturday night by VHF radio, the next ‘mark’ is Cape Horn which will be less than 1000 miles ahead today.

Just two miles apart last night with Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) leading François Gabart (MACIF), it is Gabart who has extended slightly, to be 6 miles ahead on the 0500hrs UTC ranking.

In third place Jean-Pierre Dick has passed his final gate, Pacific East, and gained some miles on the two leaders last night. After his return to the race course two days ago Bernard Stamm is the second quickest in the fleet.

An exchange by VHF radio last night between leaders Gabart and Le Cléac’h when they were less than a couple of miles apart is another small insight into the enduring relationship between the top two Vendée Globe skippers. Now racing slanted hard to the SE, at 55 degrees south, they may have been virtually side-by-side for 20 days now, fighting toe to toe for every small metre gain here and there, constantly monitoring each other’s progress, but the brothers-in-arms also have huge respect for each other.

There was a humorous warning yesterday evening when he was behind from Gabart to his rival in front to make sure one did not run into the other. But so too there will be a very definite sense of solidarity and shared safety as they approach Cape Horn together where ice is being reported within 50 miles of the cape.


Dick’s last gate

Having had to retire from the last race with rudder damage, into New Zealand, Jean-Pierre Dick will be quietly satisfied to have checked off the final ice gate of the course, Pacific East, now and is also making excellent speed towards his sixth rounding of Cape Horn. JP is the quickest in the fleet this morning at 19 kts and with a 431 miles 24-hour run has also covered the greatest distance.

His margin to the leaders is 352 miles this morning but he continues on a more direct course while the top two plunge more south. In fourth Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) is 581 miles behind Dick, 1.5 days at current speeds. Around 1000 miles astern Jean Le Cam (SynerCiel) is preparing to make the Pacific West gate which is 160 miles in front of him.

The other duel which is playing out in the fleet is that between the ‘senior’ skippers Mike Golding (Gamesa) and Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud). Swiss skipper Wavre had closed to within seven miles of the Briton yesterday morning (in terms of distance to finish) but since their split on to opposite gybes for the early part of yesterday, it is Golding who is managing to re-establish the miles he lost, now restored to 30 miles ahead of Wavre this morning. Both are on port gybe in the same modest 15kts breeze. And behind them Javier ‘Bubi’ Sanso has a better wind angle than them and is fighting back hard after his mainsail headboard car repair cost him miles.

On the prowl

Since rejoining the race course two days ago Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) has been progressively building speed on his powerful Juan Kouyoumdjian design and is making progress in his quest to catch Arnaud Boissières (Akena Verandas). The Swiss skipper made a spectacular comeback in the last race, albeit ill fated. After hitting a cargo ship on the first night in November 2008, Stamm restarted five days after the fleet had left Les Sables d’Olonne and was up to 12th place of the 30 starters when his race ended in the Kerguelen Islands when his boat ran aground whilst trying to anchor in a 45 knot gale. With a back catalogue of ill luck on this Vendée Globe, Stamm has fire in his belly and is 85 miles behind Boissières but nearly two knots faster.


Top 5 boats at 4am:

1  François Gabart [MACIF] at 8066 miles from the finish
2  Armel Le Cléac’h [Banque Populaire] +6.3 nm
3  Jean-Pierre Dick [Virbac Paprec 3] +351 nm
4  Alex Thomson [Hugo Boss] +932 nm
5  Jean Le Cam [SynerCiel] +1942 nm


To see race tracker see: Current postions

By Vendee Globe media


Wild Oats XI breaks Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race record


RSHYR WO line honours cb

Wild Oats XI crossing the finish line to break the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race record

Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Rolex


Bob Oatley’s five-time Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race line honours winner, Wild Oats XI, beat her 2005 record time in a gentle glide to the finish that kept everyone on the edge of their seats. She finished in one day, 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds, taking 16 minutes and 58 seconds of her old record.

The time difference was a long one in terms of how the crew would have been feeling in those last 16 minutes of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 628 nautical mile race. Could they or couldn’t they?

At 5 am, Wild Oats XI’s 2005 record of one day, 18 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds seemed out of reach, but at about 7 am, her dashed hopes were revived, and as the minutes ticked by, her chances improved.

Initially, skipper Mark Richards and his crew were a tantalisingly 40 minutes outside the record time and were expected to finish at about 8.30 am. However, as the clock ticked, the super maxi picked up speed to around 15 knots and her finish time was upgraded to 8.00 am, then 7.50 am, 7.36 am, 7.23am and 7.13 am with five nautical miles to go.


Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2012


The breeze eased. Richards ordered a bigger headsail to keep it moving, which ended with their record victory. Wild Oats XI are still looking good to go all the way and take the treble (victory on corrected time as well as line honours and the race record).

Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin-Loyal finished around 5 hours behind the line honours winner followed by Lahana in third and Black Jack in 4th and Loki in 5th.

Wild Oats XI will go into the history books as only the second boat in the history of the race to break its own race record. Only Morna, later renamed Kurrewa IV, exceeds that record, have cracked its race record twice.

For the tracker positions and more see:



Wild Oats XI flies out of the blocks



Photo © Carlo Borlenghi/ Rolex


Start of the 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race


The start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race did not disappoint in perfect gusty southerly 20-25 knot winds, under a sunny sky, the 76 yachts in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s annual race, popped kites and code zeros at the start, making for a spectacular sight.

Wild Oats XI made for riveting viewing. It was almost impossible to drag one’s eyes away as Mark Richards assumed his usual position at the pin end of the line, the crew work again impeccable. It was like watching a Skud missile launch as Bob Oatley’s 100 foot super maxi shot off the line on cue and bolted, taking around six minutes to make the turning mark, leaving all in her wake.

Even those behind were quick; it was one of the fastest exits from Sydney Heads in some time, with all except Bob Steel’s Quest outside of the Harbour inside 20 minutes. Quest struggled and took a penalty turn just inside the Heads, although the reason is unknown at this stage.

A little further up the line from Wild Oats XI, Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin-Loyal tried to keep pace with her nemesis, but could not keep up. Halfway down the Harbour, Peter Harburg’s Black Jack, with Mark Bradford at the helm, and Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki, steered by Gordon Maguire, nearly overtook Ragamuffin-Loyal, with Black Jack having another go as they neared the sea mark.

However, Ragamuffin-Loyal held her own, around 2 minutes behind Wild Oats XI at the sea mark, Black Jack, the RP66, Loki a RP63, Peter Millard/John Honan’s 98ft Lahana and Matt Allen’s Jones 70, Ichi Ban around one minute plus astern of their bigger rival.

Ragamuffin-Loyal has been scored OCS, but the Race Committee will seek redress on Ragamuffin-Loyal’s behalf, due to the proper procedure for individual recall not being followed.


Wild Oats first out of the blocks in a downwind start – c Daniel Forster



The rest followed in hot pursuit, the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart overall winner, Two True (Andrew Saies) from South Australia, struggling to pull down a kite as they headed into the brunt of the southerly in 4 metre seas, making the going tough.

One could almost feel for Simon Kurts and his crew on Love & War and Sean Langman and his crew aboard Maluka of Kermandie, the oldest and smallest yacht in in the fleet, smiling as turned the corner into the brunt of the southerly, their heavier boats revelling comfortably in the conditions, while others struggled in the tough seaway and gusty winds.

Nor was Maluka of Kermandie last out to sea, that honour going to the 2008 winner, Quest, while Peter Rodger’s Olsen 40 She, with 43 Hobart race veteran, Bill Ratcliff aboard, only overtook Maluka of Kermandie once they were outside Sydney Heads, only Quest behind them.

At 3.00pm on 26th December, Wild Oats XI had just passed Cronulla, with Ragamuffin Loyal, Lahana, Ichi Ban, Black Jack and Loki in a line off Cronulla Beach.


For the race tracker and more see:



Round-up from the 34th Americas Cup teams



Phase 1 of Emirates Team NZ’s AC72 training complete


Emirates Team New Zealand completed the permitted 30 days of testing and training in its first AC72 catamaran by mid December 2012. Rules for the 34th America’s Cup allow 30 sailing days for the first boat between July 2012 and the end of January 2013.

The shore crew have started to decommission the yacht while the team concentrates on finishing Boat 2. Winch drums and some hardware will be removed from the yacht and fitted to Boat 2. Boat 1 will be refitted in the near future and held in reserve, to be commissioned quickly in the event it’s needed.

Components for the new boat are being built at Auckland companies Cookson Boats and Southern Spars. The second wing is being assembled now at the team’s Viaduct Harbour base. Hulls, beams and other parts of the platform will be delivered to the base early in January for a launch in early February.

Managing director Grant Dalton said the team was fortunate to be able to complete the sailing programme in good time, giving plenty of time to commission Boat 2: “We never considered sailing both boats together because of the logistics and cost involved. It takes 35 people to launch the AC72. Three hours out of the morning to launch two 72’s and three hours at the other end of the day to retrieve them is out of the question.

“The only solution would to have two separate operations to launch, retrieve, maintain and improve two AC72s and that is not a realistic prospect for Emirates Team New Zealand.”

He said the team would gain many of the benefits by race training with another boat through the arrangement with Luna Rossa.


Luna Rossa break for the holidays


At the end of October Luna Rossa launched their AC72. “We already sailed the yacht 13 times – in all wind ranges and sea conditions: from 5 knots and a flat sea to 27 knots with big waves – and we are planning to sail the 72 three more times before the Christmas holidays”

“Every day we sailed we learnt something new, and we discovered the yacht’s potential little by little. In this stage, we split our training days in three parts: performance, onboard system mechanics and match racing with Team New Zealand. The latter is the best way to understand whether everything works and to make both technical and sports progress.”

“Today we can officially say that Luna Rossa does not just fly on the foils developed by our design team, but also that she flies very fast: many times we reached 37 knots of speed! It is an achievement we obtained thanks to hard work of all the team, and of the shore team and design team in particular, that allowed us to plunge on so fast; I want to thank them on behalf of all of us!”

“Now the team deserves some rest. On December 19, we will suspend our activities until the new year, and on January 7 we will resume both the training programme and the technical and sports development: next year is the year of the America’s Cup!”



 Photo credit: c Erik Simonson


Artemis still training in the cool waters of San Francisco


The Challenger of Record for the 34th America’s Cup, Artemis Racing (SWE), returned to training on San Francisco Bay during December. With weather and holidays in the mix it is mathematically difficult to get their full 30 days in before January 31, 2013.

Conditions out of the bay have been cool and crisp and the sea temperatures dropping . There have been few images of the AC72 foiling in contrast to the other three teams, all of which were foiling by Day 4 of their programs


Oracle Team USA stepping up the programme



Oracle Team USA continue their repair work on their broken AC72, following their dramatic capsize on San Francisco Bay back in October.

“The capsize has definitely been a setback,” says Oracle Team USA General Manager, Grant Simmer. “We have lost a lot of sailing time and a lot of time for the team to figure out the new boat, which will be difficult to recover. We’re a sailing team, and it’s not great to be watching your competitors sailing when we’re unable to – that’s been tough. But, all of the team has really focused on fixing the issues, fixing the boat and getting back on the water as soon as possible.”

When the team’s AC72 pitch-poled, the schedule changed. The wing was in pieces, the pod beat up, the hulls damaged from both water and as a result of the wing breaking apart. Instead of waiting until the end of the year to reflect, the team found itself evaluating the program a couple months early.

“We’ve used the time to really reassess the entire program, to be more realistic about our planning, to be careful not to try to do too much, but to do everything that’s important and critical to development,” Simmer said. “We’ve become more mindful of the risks.”

The boat was dismantled – beams disconnected, systems removed – and the broken wing stripped down to salvageable pieces.

Work began immediately, and two major boat build projects were soon underway at the team base at Pier 80. Repairs of boat 1 began side-by-side with the build of boat 2.

“We’re very grateful for all of the guys here who have had to dig deep to make this all happen,” said Mark Turner, Oracle Team USA Shore Team Manager. “The repairs of boat 1 certainly haven’t been the easiest of tasks to accomplish, and the list wasn’t small. That’s all been going on in parallel to building boat 2. So, there’s been a lot going on here, just as there’s been a lot going on in New Zealand with getting wing 2 built. Both places – here and in New Zealand at Core Builders Composites – have been going along at a good clip.

“The entire shore crew has pitched in and done things they’re not really accustomed to doing, whether it’s helping with the repairs on boat 1, composite work, putting together flaps for wing 2, or helping out with boat 2’s assembly process,” Turner said.

The second AC72 wing was already under construction, so timeline on completion was adjusted. That wing is scheduled to arrive to San Francisco early in the new year.

“After the capsize, the first step was assessing the extent of damage,” Simmer said. “Clearly we had almost totally lost the wing. Luckily we had another wing in production at that time, and so we accelerated that process. With the platform we found there was quite a lot of water ingress in the hulls and the areas where the boat had suffered damage. So, we’ve repaired all of that, and the platform is currently going back together.”

Composite repair work has been completed and beams reattached. As the team heads into a much-needed holiday break, the work list on boat 1 will be whittled down.

At the start of the year, “it’s all going to happen pretty quickly,” Turner said, with hydraulic systems, wench systems, nets and more going back in place. The new wing will arrive and testing will commence.

At the same time, boat 2 construction remains full steam ahead.

While the schedule may have changed, and plans adjusted, all have remained clearly focused on 2013. All are anxious to get the first AC72 back on the water. And, all have the same goal in the new year – to win.

“The team has really had to stand up to take on the extra work on getting the boat fixed, and they’ve responded fantastically,” Simmer said. “You end up with more resolve at the end of a process like this. That’s true for this team, and I think we will be stronger because of it.

“We’ll be out sailing again at the beginning of February in our repaired and modified boat. We’re looking forward to a long list of testing and development that will ultimately lead us to the Cup. It’s going to be a busy and exciting year for all of us.”





Fleet of 77 yachts set for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race



 Start of the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – Daniel Forster


A fleet of 77 yachts has been declared for the 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart. The eclectic mix ranges in size from 10.3 metres (33.8 feet) to 30.48 metres (100-feet), and includes a rather paltry three international entries, 9 former race winners, the defending overall champion, yachts representing each and every Australian state and the ACT, and four yachts to have tasted line honours success.


Fastest in the fleet

Four 100-foot maxi yachts – Ragamuffin-Loyal, Wild Oats XI, Wild Thing and Lahana – look likely to form a breakaway group at the head of the competition, with old adversaries preparing to lock horns. Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI has won line honours five times and is the current race record-holder, having set the standard of 1 day, 18 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds in 2005. Conditions in the intervening years have proved frustrating, denying a serious tilt at this benchmark time.

Last year, Investec Loyal beat Wild Oats XI to the finish line by a mere three minutes, eight seconds; racing this year as Ragamuffin-Loyal, under the leadership of the legendary Syd Fischer, she once again poses the biggest threat to Wild Oats. Fischer is set to compete in the race for a staggering 44th time and his crew will benefit from the shrewdness and expertise of one of Australia’s great yachtsmen, twice a line honours winner (in 1988 and 1990), and an overall race winner in 1992.

Anyone’s race

The Tattersall’s Cup, awarded to the overall race winner, remains the coveted prize, and all 80 boats start with a theoretical chance of victory. The conditions, teamwork, skill and an element of luck will all help determine the eventual result. Since Rolex began its sponsorship of the event in 2002, all but one overall race winner have come from the 40-65ft range, where the majority of the fleet lies. Defending champion Loki, on the back of another successful season, is seeking to become the first boat to defend the overall title since 1965.

The race start, as is tradition, will take place on 26 December at 13:00 local time. As Australia relaxes during the summer festive season, thousands of spectators will witness the race start from the shore and on the waters of Sydney Harbour or on television and the internet. Anticipation of the first finishers in Hobart will build around the world as the latest edition of this iconic race unfolds.


Spinnaker start predicted


Super maxi navigators are reveling in a dream forecast that’s promising record-breaking conditions, but an unpredictable westerly looming over Tasmania is leaving the race for the coveted IRC trophy – the Tattersall’s Cup – wide open.

The prediction is that the fleet of 77 yachts in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s annual race will start under spinnaker in a southerly wind on Boxing Day; a spectacle that hasn’t been seen on Sydney Harbor since a brave few popped their kites in a south-easterly during the 2006 start.

Further information on the Rolex Sydney Hobart may be found at


By Rolex Media Centre




Geoff Carveth wins SB20 Worlds on countback



 Geoff Carveth’s winning team of Lesley Dhonau, Roger Hudson and Asenathi Jim 


UON SB20 World Championships at Hamilton Island – Overall

 It was a gripping finish on the deciding day at the UON SB20 World Championships at Hamilton Island with Geoff Carveth sailing into the class history books, crowned SB20 world champion for the third time.

It was the closest finish at any SB20 worlds with Carveth’s British WKD team, Glenn Bourke’s Australian entry, Club Marine, and Rodion Luka’s Team Russia all wrapping up their series tied on 41 points after six days and 12 races. A countback was needed to separate the ultimate victor from second and third.

“Going into race two today we decided to take a risk. We gambled for a better ranking and took the right hand side of the course,” said Carveth this afternoon. “It’s the only time, during the whole event that the right hand side paid off. Glenn and Rodion went left and suddenly the chance came. When we finished we were in disbelief that we’d put the number of boats between us.

“The crew have worked really hard. We trained hard here just days before the event started. Lesley and Squirrel really got up to speed and Roger has been fantastic. He’s broken his run of seconds at SB20 world championships!”

WKD’s South African bowman, Asenathi Jim, leapt off the boat once the result was known while the crew of Roger Hudson, Lesley Dhonau and Carveth embraced, then fell in, joining Jim for a victory swim.

“We’ve got to say a huge thank you to WKD and Joe Woods for making it possible for us to be here,” Carveth added.

Hamilton Island CEO Glenn Bourke almost added another world title to his belt. “I have the utmost respect for the two guys we tied with,” said Bourke. “It’s testament to Geoff’s talent and their crew work that they kept working their way out of deep positions, particularly in the last six races”.

Team Russia’s helmsman Rodion Luka was gracious in defeat, “Geoff is a great mate and I am happy that he won. We’ll be back for another event and we look forward to that. Hamilton Island is beautiful and a great place to sail. The competition has been so tight, it’s not often you have three boats tied on points at a world championship”.

Winds were easterly and shifty for the final day of competition at 7-9 knots for the first race and up to 14 knots for the decider. Denis Thompson pulled his black flag out again in race 11 after three general recalls due to wind shifts and antsy crews. On the fourth attempt the fleet got away cleanly. Three SB20s were pinged and individually recalled in the final race 12.

A countback separated first and second, Team Russia and Club Marine, with WKD, a mere three points off the frontrunners heading into the day’s final two sprints. The tension on the dock in the morning was palpable with a world title riding on the final act for the three contenders, and points still to be claimed for those with their sights on the minor placings.

Competition at the UON SB20 World Championships began last Friday in light to moderate ESE breezes and after Monday’s layday, midway through the competition, fresher ENE winds made for a very different set of conditions and a change in gears for the one design fleet of 42 entries representing nine countries.

“I’m very pleased for Hamilton Island that we’ve had a range of conditions and such depth of talent for this truly international competition,” said Bourke.

The SB20 class will hold their 2013 World Championship in Hyeres in the south of France next September.


Top 10 overall results: (12 races, 1 discard)


1 GBR 3053 WKD – Geoff Carveth  – 41 pts
2 AUS 3030 Club Marine – Glenn Bourke – 41 pts
3 RUS 3703 Team Russia – Rodion Luka  – 41 pts
4 GBR 3060 The Beard  – Robert Greenhalgh  – 58 pts
5 GBR 3065 Bango powered by SLAM – Ben Saxton – 70 pts
6 FRA 3580 Hyeres 2013  – Rouxel Thomas – 77 pts
7 AUS 3382 One Design Sailing – Ian Brown  – 84 pts
8 RUS 3140 Aquaholics  – Anna Basalkina  – 92 pts
9 ITA 3058 Altea  – Andrea Racchelli  – 93 pts
10 ITA 3637 Stenghele – Pietro Negri  – 129 pts


For full results see: 

By Katie Ashworth, SB20 Class Association




Bourke and Luka tied at the top


 Penultimate days racing at the SB20 Worlds –  c Hamilton Island Photography


Day 5 – UON SB20 World Championships at Hamilton Island  


Places at the UON SB20 World Championships at Hamilton Island have shuffled with each race, but there has been one constant – Oleg Zherebtsov and Rodion Luka’s Team Russia, which has occupied the top spot since day two.

This afternoon Glenn Bourke and his classy Club Marine crew of Andrew York and Greg Macallansmith caught up to the pointscore leaders. Bourke’s second, fourth and bullet in the last race on day five has put them on equal 33 points with Team Russia and second on a countback.

The formidable Russian crew dropped their worst result, a 15th in race 10. They and the Australian Club Marine team led by Hamilton Island’s CEO are heading into the final day pressure cooker barely separated.

“I will try to focus as much as I can,” said Luka this afternoon. “There is a lot of pressure but I have experience. Tomorrow will be like the first day of racing. We will have dinner tonight and save some energy for tomorrow.”

Bourke says his latest results reflect the fact he’s getting comfortable with the level of competition. “I’m getting into the rhythm of the event, it’s coming at the right time and we are improving a little bit each day. Tomorrow will be won and lost on who gets off the start line well.”

Bourke, a multiple Laser world champion, says the buzz of international competition is a thrilling experience. “It’s the most exciting thing you can do in your year”.


Team Russia, Club Marine & The Beard challenging for the lead – c Hamilton Island Photography

Geoff Carveth’s WDK (GBR) is third on 36 points and still in the hunt while Robert Greenhalgh’s The Beard is fourth overall with 49 points.

The penultimate day of competition produced more superb sailing in the tropical Queensland Whitsunday Islands in the 10 knot average NE breezes.

Race 8 was a clean start. Race 9 was another general recall for the jumpy fleet at the sharp end of their world title followed by individual recalls for two SB20s, including the aptly named Still Out of Control (Mark Wolfenden), which tangled with the Italian SB20 Nuri while trying to re-start.

The top mark roundings were loud and lively as the fleet bunched up, and the downhill runs were spectacular with a straight line of spinnakers against the afternoon glare of another perfect summer’s day. The area is crying out for water but the afternoon thunderstorms typical of this time of year have stayed away.

Two of the crews black flagged in race 7 yesterday, after being called OCS, were reinstated last night and this morning. The Beard and Ben Saxton’s Bango Powered by SLAM sought redress and the international jury decided in favour of the two British crews. Both have been granted average points up to the end of race 10.

The forecast for Thursday’s final two races is SE to NE winds 10-15 knots. Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson has scheduled an 11am start so the SB20s being shipped back to Europe can be packed into containers before most crews head off Friday to be home in time for Christmas.



Top 10 after 10 races with 1 discard (42 entries)

1 RUS 3703 Team Russia – Rodion Luka  –  6 4 1 3 2 8 4 3 2 [15]  – 33 pts
2 AUS 3030 Club Marine – Glenn Bourke  –  3 [10] 4 5 6 2 6 2 4 1 –  33 pts
3 GBR 3053 WKD  – Geoff Carveth –   [17] 5 2 1 10 1 1 4 8 4  – 36 pts
4 GBR 3060 The Beard  – Robert Greenhalgh  –  4 8 [15] 9 9 4 7/RG 1 1 7  – 50 pts
5 GBR 3065 Bango powered by SLAM – Ben Saxton  –  1 1 9 11 1 6 7/RG [15] 5 11 – 52 pts
6 AUS 3382 One Design Sailing – Ian Brown –   8 15 3 4 5 5 [43BF] 6 7 2  – 55 pts
7 FRA 3580 Hyeres2013 –  Rouxel Thomas –   [13] 6 10 8 11 13 2 11 3 3  – 67 pts
8 RUS 3140 Aquaholics – Anna Basalkina  –  12 7 [14] 6 3 9 8 7 12 5  – 69 pts
9 ITA 3058 Altea – Andrea Racchelli  –  10 3 [24] 7 13 7 5 10 13 9  – 77 pts
10 ITA 3637 Stenghele – Pietro Negri  –  5 2 8 15 [22A] 3 3 13 22 22  – 93 pts


For full results see:



Two bullets for Carveth moves him back in contention


 Geoff Carveth scores 2 bullets to get back in the mix – c Hamilton Island Photography


Day 4 – UON SB20 World Championship in Hamilton Island


Nine sequences, six competitors black flagged and disqualified, two general recalls, two postponements, two course changes, an abandonment and a partridge in a pear tree. A mini-series could be made on the highs and lows of day four of the UON SB20 World Championship at Hamilton Island.

The 42 crews contesting their world title set off from the marina at 9.30 in the morning, most towed to the course area in the light winds. Nearly five frustrating hours later after the race committee twice moved the racetrack further east chasing steady wind, the first race of the day got underway in a building NNE breeze.

Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson finally settled on Chance Bay off Whitsunday Island and that’s where the magic began. After three days of light air the adrenaline was pumping and the spray was flying as the Whitsundays turned put on its best face for the visitors, up to 18 knots of breeze, white caps and sunshine galore.

Race 6 was a thriller, on the risk of a black flag disqualification following two general recalls the fleet judged the current right and got away cleanly in 15 knots of NNE breeze. Glenn Bourke’s Club Marine was first to the top mark chased by two British boats, Robert Greenhalgh’s The Beard and Geoff Carveth’s WKD.

The crews turned the corner and powered up for the downhill slide, bodies crammed at the stern quarter to balance out the pressure over the right shoulder and keep the boat on its feet. By the second top mark rounding places had swapped, WDK led Club Marine and Pietro Negri’s Stenghele (ITA), and this was how they screamed through the finish gate under kite.


 Pietro Negri stays in contention with 3 & 3 – c Hamilton Island Photography


Race 7 was another black flag start only this time Thompson’s gavel came down with a bang. Six SB20s were disqualified, including top contenders The Beard, Ian Brown’s One Design Sailing and Ben Saxton’s Bango powered by SLAM, an expensive penalty which will become their discard race. A number of those disqualified are seeking to be reinstated with ‘night sailing’ about to commence in the jury room.

Carveth and his crew of mainsheet Roger Hudson and bow 1 and 2, Lesley Dhonau and Asenathi Jim, picked up back-to-back wins to move into third overall.

“Finally some good hard racing, that’s what we came here for,” said an exhausted Carveth this evening. “When the wind came in it was worth waiting for. There were some tense moments with the black flag and in the second race we nearly lost our lead to the French and Rodion [Team Russia], but we climbed back over them and put ourselves in charge again.”


 Drama filled day with lots of black flag waving affects overall results – c Katie Ashworth


Second in race 7 was Thomas Rouxel’ French entry Hyeres 2013, named ahead of next year’s SB20 worlds venue, and again, the Italians in third.

Team Russia’s grip on the pointscore top spot is tightening, their eighth and fourth enough to keep the wolves at bay for another day. After Wednesday’s scheduled race 8 a discard will come into play.

Glenn Bourke, Andrew York and Greg Macallansmith’s Club Marine has moved into second on the overall pointscore after seven races, eight points from the Russian masters and just one ahead of Carveth, a previous SB20 world champion.

It’s been a long day for competitors and officials and as the sun set over Hamilton Island, SB20s and official vessels were still making their way back to the marina.

With two days and five races of the SB20 world titles scheduled there is still plenty more to come.



Top 10 after 7 races 


1 RUS 3703 Team Russia – Rodion Luka 6 4 1 3 2 8 4 – 28 pts
2 AUS 3030 Club Marine – Glenn Bourke 3 10 4 5 6 2 6 – 36 pts
3 GBR 3053 WKD – Geoff Carveth 17 5 2 1 10 1 1 – 37 pts
4 ITA 3637 Stenghele – Pietro Negri 5 2 8 15 22/A 3 3 – 58 pts
5 RUS 3140 Aquaholics – Anna Basalkina 12 7 14 6 3 9 8 – 59 pts
6 GBR 3037 – Jerry Hill 2 16 17 2 8 11 7 – 63 pts
7 FRA 3580 Hyeres2013 – Rouxel Thomas 13 6 10 8 11 13 2 – 63 pts
8 ITA 3058 Altea – Andrea Racchelli 10 3 24 7 13 7 5 – 69 pts
9 GBR 3065 Bango powered by SLAM – Ben Saxton 1 1 9 11 1 6 43/BFG – 72 pts
10 AUS 3382 One Design Sailing – Ian Brown 8 15 3 4 5 5 43/BFG – 83 pts


For full results see: