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Yachts to watch: Peter Campbell suggests these are the yachts to watch in the 64th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.


The maxis, boats of 70 to 100 feet LOA (length overall), are the top contenders for line honours. The others are the principal prospects for overall IRC handicap honours, or else fine old veterans still in with a chance of top handicap place. Full details can be found in the list of entries.


10000--ASM Brindabella. One of two maxis entered by Andrew Short, Brindabella is Australia's most famous maxi yacht. Now 15 years old, she still holds the record for a conventional keel yacht in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, as well as many other long race records.

USA 50062--ASM Shockwave 5. Andrew Short's 80-footer which raced briefly in Australia as Alfa Romeo in 2000 before being sold overseas. Won line honours in the recent Gosford Lord Howe Island race and could be the main threat to Wild Oats XI for line honours.

AUS 03--Ichi Ban. CYCA Commodore Matt Allen's powerful Jones 70 has achieved a second and a third across the line and a first and a second in IRC Division A in her two previous starts in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Earlier this year she also took line honours in the Brisbane Gladstone Race. Always a chance, particularly in heavy weather reaching and running conditions.

RUS 8848--Trading Network Alye Parusa. The first Russian entry since the 50th Sydney Hobart in 1994, this Open 85 is also the biggest international entry this year. Owner Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov wont be on board-Instead the boat will be campaigned by a yong but experient crew led by Australian skipper Mark McRae. Has the potential to be up with the leaders, particularly off the wind.

M 10--Skandia. Line honours winner in 2003, this 98-footer has been dogged by ill fortune since then, including losing her canting keel and capsizing in 2004. Has not raced since the 2007 Rolex Sydney Hobart, but she has the potential to be among the leaders if all goes well.

AUS 10001--Wild Oats XI. In line for a record fourth successive line honours victory and, judging by early performances following 'go faster' modifications, has a good chance of breaking her own record for the 628 nautical mile course of 1 day 18 hours 40 minutes and 10 seconds. In fact, skipper Mark Richards says she could reach Hobart in under 24 hours if the weather is right.


52566--Black Jack. This Queensland-owned 66-footer showed her muscle in winning a line honours duel with her new sistership, the highly successful Wild Oats XI at this year's Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. With a star-studded crew she is certain to be a strong contender for fastest time among the 60-footers.

43218--Limit. Not launched when Offshore Yachting went to press, the new Limit is an exciting Reichel/Pugh 62 built for West Australian owner Alan Briety. He has had considerable success with his Corby 49, also called Limit. Potentially a strong chance for a top IRC result.

AUS 60000--Loki. This new Reichel/Pugh 66 replaces Stephen Ainsworth's 63-footer that was wrecked during the Rolex Middle Sea Race in the Mediterannean in 2006. Built by McConaghys in Sydney, she won't be launched until early December. The new boat features a broad beam and a long bow pole for asymmetric spinnakers. With a crack crew, she is a definite IRC prospect.


SM 2008--Audi Centre Melbourne. Just under the 50-foot LOA mark, this Corby 49, previously known as Flirt, has started to show her potential and challenge the TP52s and Cookson 50s for overall IRC results. A new keel has obviously improved her performance.

SM 5200--Cougar II. One of several TP52s in the fleet, this boat turned in a great performance to beat rival TP52 Quest in the IRC Premier Racing division at the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. A full season of experience and a selection of new sails should allow this Melbourne yacht to make a good tilt at the Tattersall's Trophy.

R 55--Living Doll. A new boat, built in New Zealand, this Farr 55 had to battle a Tasman Sea storm coining across the Tasman to her home port of Melbourne in early November. She features twin rudders and other interesting design features and owner Michael Hiatt should be able to continue the success he had with his previous Living Doll, a Cookson 50.

8899--Quantum Racing. A canting keel Cookson 50 skippered by 2006-2007 CYCA Australian Ocean Racer of the Year. Ray Roberts, this is one of Australia's most successful ocean racers with wins at Skandia Geelong Week, the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Race (twice), the Brisbane Gladstone and this year at Airlie Beach Race Week. Placed third IRC overall and first in Division A in last year's Rolex Sydney Hobart. Always a strong chance.

52002--Quest. Owner Bob Steel won the 2002 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race with his previous Quest. The latest boat is a well-sailed TP52 that finished second overall to Cougar Hat Hamilton Island this year but this is the first Hobart race for Steel with this boat.

AUS 70--Ragamuffin. Syd Fischer, the doyen of Australian ocean yacht racing is skippering his latest Ragamuffin, a TP52, which finished second to the US yacht Rosebud in last year's Rolex Sydney Hobart. Syd won the Tattersall's Trophy in 1992 and has twice taken line honours with his other maxis, also named Ragamuffin. Always a chance.

R 59--Shogun. Formerly Living Doll, this Cookson 50 is now owned by Geelong yachtsman Rob Hanna. She has had an excellent racing season, including a second (on countback) to Quantum Racing in the Airlie Beach Regatta and an unlucky third to the TP52s Cougar II and Quest at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.

6952--Wot Now. The newest TP52 in Australia, Wot Now missed the northern regattas in August because of a rudder failure just before the Gold Coast Race. She resumed offshore racing in the Flinders Island Race in October with an eighth on IRC. On the improve for Hobart.

1836--Yendys. This will be the third Sydney Hobart in this purpose-built Reichel/Pugh 55 for 1999 Sydney Hobart winner Geoff Ross. The boat has sailed impressively, winning the IRC Racing Division at Hamilton Island in 2007 and placing third in Division B of the 2007 Rolex Sydney Hobart. Competition will be tough among the 50- to 55-footers this year but some modifications to the foils should help.


8338--AIR Midnight Rambler. 2008 marks the 18th year of a highly successful partnership between co-owners Ed Psaltis (skipper) and Bob Thomas (navigator), including winning the storm-battered 1998 Sydney Hobart. This modified Farr 40 is the sixth boat they have owned and with a combination of an older experienced crew and younger talent they have the boat and the expertise to score another overall victory.

R 33--Chutzpah. This is Bruce Taylor's sixth Chutzpah and one that could give him an overall win at last--after eight divisional wins, and a second and third overall. In her maiden Hobart race last year she placed fourth overall and first in division, and recently scored an impressive IRC/ AMS win in the Melbourne to Stanley race.

8447--Mr Beak's Ribs. An excellent example of an optimised production boat that always sails well offshore. Has a long string of successes including a division win in last year's Rolex Sydney Hobart and a win this season in the Flinders Island Blue Water Pointscore race.

M 6--Tow Truck. With the reputation Anthony Paterson and his crew built up with their famous little Mumm 30 Tow Truck, this boat, designed by Spanish-based naval architect Jason Ker, seems sure to be among the contenders in the 40-foot range. The new Tow Truck's first race in Australian waters was the Cabbage Tree Island race.


MH 106--Impeccable. Not so much the yacht but the skipper. John Walker is skippering this 34-footer on their 25th Sydney Hobart Race together--at the age of 86. He has already made history as the oldest skipper in the history of the race. A remarkable man from Middle Harbour.

7027--The Goat. The Sydney 38s are at the top range of the 30-footers and, over the years, have done well in long ocean races. Won the Sydney 38 OD division of last year's Sydney Hobart and has since taken the Sydney 38 division, IRC Division 3 and placed third overall in the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race. Well sailed by former Sydney Hobart winning skipper Bruce Foye.

G 50338--Morris Finance Cinquante. Another Sydney 38 to watch, this Geelong-based boat has achieved some good class results and also impressed with an IRC third overall in the recent Melbourne to Stanley race.

Sm 360--Wild Side. This Sydney 36CR looks to be very competitive in the 30-foot range following an IRC second overall to Chutzpah in the Melbourne to Stanley qualifying race. The crew had some good offshore results with their previous boat so experience is not lacking.


2557--Phillips Foote Witchdoctor. The Rum Consortium's famous old Hobart campaigner is making her 28th voyage to Hobart and in doing so will beat her own record for the number of races by any yacht.

5527--Polaris of Belmont. This 38-year-old Cole 43 entered the Rolex Sydney Hobart on the eve of the Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race in which she won the PHS division, her second win the 414 nautical mile race. This will be her 23rd Hobart in which she has always had divisional wins.

A 19--Maluka of Kermandie. Orginally built in 1932, this classic gaffrigger was restored by Sydney shipwright and boat racing skippper Sean Langman to contest the 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart. The oldest, and smallest, boat in the fleet, she placed eighth overall on IRC. This year she is representing Tasmania's Port Huon Yacht Club.

780--Sanyo Maris. To celebrate her 50th birthday, skipper Ian Kiernan and co-owners Tiara Tomaszewski, Ben Hawke and John Green have brought this yawl-rigged, timber-hulled Tasman Seabird out of retirement to contest Australia's two toughest ocean races--the Hempel 35th Gosford Lord Howe and the Rolex Sydney Hobart--and she has already won the Lord Howe Island Race on IRC corrected time.

2170--Ray White Spirit of Koomooloo. Re-named in memory of another famous yacht, Koomooloo, which sank in the 2006 race, this boat is equally famous as the original Ragamuffin which won the Fasmet Race in 1971 and represented Australia at three Admiral's Cups in England. Later raced as Margaret Rintoul II with ongoing divisional success in the Hobart Race.
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Author:Campbell, Peter
Publication:Offshore Yachting
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Dec 1, 2008
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