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The 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will commence on 26 December 2012 with 80 entries including representatives from all Australian States and the act.

The Club is particularly delighted to have entries from Lithuania (Ambersail, a Volvo 60 skippered by Simonas Steponavieius), Japan (KLE Bengal 7, a Humphreys 54 skippered by Yoshihiko Murase), and two boats from New Zealand (Akatea, a Cookson 50 skippered by Gary Lewis and Rikki, a Reichel Pugh 42 skippered by Ray Haslar).

Also adding to the international mix are the French crew from Peugeot Surfrider. The team, led by Sebastien Guyot with French professional sailor Nicolas Lunven as their skipper, have entered into a boat share arrangement with Paul Clitheroe to take his Beneteau 45 south.

The high quality fleet will include four super maxis and also nine previous winners of the race overall whose names are engraved on the prestigious Tattersall's Cup.

We expect a spirited battle for line honours particularly between Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race record holder Wild Oats XI and the renamed Ragamuffin-Loyal, which took line honours last year and will be skippered by yachting legend Syd Fisher.

There will also be strong competition for the overall prize--the Tattersall's Cup.

Defending winner. Loki, has continued her winning form throughout the year, and will have strong competition from the 50 footers in particular Secret Mens Business 3.5, Quest, calm, Shogun and Living Doll, which should lead to some enthralling racing.

The start of the race will be broadcast live across Australia by the Seven Network and throughout the Asia Pacific region on the Australia Network. In addition, the start will be webcast live on the internet to a global audience on Yahoo! 7 sport and on the home page of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race website www.rolexsydneyhobart.com. The broadcast and webcast commence at 12.3opm Boxing Day.

I am also pleased to advise members that this year will see the introduction of a redeveloped race website. We have benefited greatly from the race website which was developed back in 2002, and the club led the way in bringing our remote sport to a worldwide audience with features including the yacht tracker and the standings engine.

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The redeveloped website will introduce further initiatives that will be unique in the coverage of ocean racing. The ability to follow the race on any mobile or tablet device will further increase the audience of this great race. I trust you will enjoy visiting the redeveloped website when it is launched in late November.

Rolex will once again present a Rolex Timepiece to the overall and line honours' winners. On behalf of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rolex SA for their ongoing support and commitment to our great race.

I extend our appreciation to the Flag Officers, members and volunteers of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, our finishing partners since 1945, who provide a warm welcome to all yachts arriving into Hobart.

I would also like to acknowledge and note our thanks to the governments of New South Wales and Tasmania for the support they provided to the CYCA and RYCT in the co-ordination of many government agencies that assist in the conduct of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

We continue to honour those former overall winners of the blue water classic by inviting the crew members of those yachts to start the race--50 years on. This year, our starters are from the first, second and fifth placed yachts overall. From the 1962 race Colin McLachlan, a crew member from Solo, will fire the starting cannon, with James 'Jimmy 'The Reb' Sandison, a crew member from Ondine, to fire the five minute warning signal and Phil Hill, a crew member of fifth placed Malohi, to fire the to minute signal.

The 2012 Australian Yachting Awards were presented on 26 October 2012, recognising the Olympic success of the Australian Sailing Team.

Male Sailor of the Year was jointly awarded to the Olympic gold medallists Tom Slingsby, Matthew Belcher, Malcolm Page, Nathan Outteridge and Ian Jensen. Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty were named Female Sailors of the Year in recognition of their silver medal win in the Women's Match Racing class. The Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Mike Fletcher for his services to yachting.

Also presented at the Yachling Australia Awards was the inaugural CYCA Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Trusts Bravery Medal awarded to Grant Dunoon and his crew, who rescued fellow competitors from the water after their yacht sunk, in extreme conditions during the Port FairyYacht Race.

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be preceded by the CYCA Trophy series to be conducted off Sydney Heads. This regatta gives the competitors an opportunity to tune up prior to the Rolex Sydney Hobart. Racing for the Rating (IRC and OR.Ci) and One Design classes will be conducted from 7-9 December, with the passage series for (IRC and ORCi) boats to be held on 15 and 16 December.

On Tuesday 11 December, between the running of the CYCA Trophy Series, the CruisingYacht Club of Australia's SOLAS Big Boat Challenge will be held on Sydney Harbour. This is a showcase for the larger boats in the fleet and raises money for the CYCA. SOLAS Trusts which contributes to the sport and the community.

On behalf of the fellow directors and flag officers of the CYCA, I welcome all crews of competing yachts and thank them for their participation in this exciting race.

I look forward to welcoming all competitors at the docks in Hobart.

I wish all members and their families a very Happy Christmas, a prosperous New Year and a safe and successful summer sailing season.

INTO THE WIND Howard Piggott takes the wheel as Commodore for this year's ocean racing classic.

HOWARD PIGGOTT

Commodore CYCA
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Title Annotation:AT THE HELM
Author:Piggott, Howard
Publication:Offshore Yachting
Date:Dec 1, 2012
Words:961
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