90 yachts to compete as entry closes

An early look at the form for Boxing Day's Rolex Sydney Hobart

Monday December 6th 2010, Author: Jennifer Crooks, Location: Australia

Entries for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race have officially closed with 90 skippers completing the entry requirements for the blue water classic that will start in a blaze of colour on Sydney Harbour at 1pm AEDT on Boxing Day.

International entrants have started to arrive in the country with Niklas Zennstrom’s Judel Vrolijk 72 Rán, the highest profile arrival so far. Her owner and crew will touch down in late December, leaving only a few days to iron out any kinks before the start of the great race south.

Coming with a single minded determination to win the Tattersall’s Cup, the silver trophy awarded to the overall winner, last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart divisional winner and winner of the Rolex Fastnet Race, Rán will face tough competition from local favourite Stephen Ainsworth’s RP63 Loki.

Not to be discounted are the highly competitive 52 footers including Victorian Robert Date’s RP52 Scarlet Runner and Calm, a TP52 owned by Jason Van Der Slot, Graeme Ainley and John Williams, CYCA member Syd Fischer’s TP52 Ragamuffin and Wot Eva, (formerly raced as Wot Yot, also a TP52) which was officially gifted by Graeme Wood to David Pescud and the Sailors with disABILITIES crew last Friday, marking the International Day of Disabled Persons.

Who will be first to Hobart and claim line honours? With five maxis entered and two measuring in at 30.48metres (100ft), the maximum length overall, the race will be on to claim the victory champagne, the Illingworth Trophy and the Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece.

Under the guidance of skipper Mark Richards, Wild Oats XI, Bob Oatley’s 100 foot supermaxi, will return to the start line in an attempt to claim a fifth line honours win. The Oats crew will face strong competition from Sean Langman and Anthony Bell’s Investec Loyal and their celebrity crew including seven-time world surfing champion Layne Beachley. Also in the hunt will be two 98 footers: Peter Millard and John Honan’s Lahana and Grant Wharington’s Wild Thing with Ludde Ingvall’s 90ft YuuZoo rounding out the maxi fleet.

Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the organising authority for the race, Garry Linacre said: “We are again pleased with the size and competitiveness of the fleet for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart. I, like many others, will watch the line honours battle with great interest and look forward to the moment when the overall race winner is declared.”

All eyes will be on Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day, 26 December 2010, when at 1pm AEDT the historic 19th century replica cannon will be fired to commence the 66th edition of Australia’s best-known blue water classic and one of the nation’s most watched sporting events. Doug Paterson, a crew member of Siandra, the overall winner of the 1960 Hobart race, will have the honour of firing the starting cannon sending the fleet on their 628 nautical mile journey south to the finish line in the Derwent River, Hobart.

Seven Network will broadcast all the harbour action from 12.30pm, with the program being re-broadcast throughout 45 countries in Asia Pacific through Australia Network and webcast on Yahoo!7.

Last year 100 yachts were on the starting line and 95 reached the finish line off Hobart’s historic Battery Point.

All Australian states plus the ACT are represented with six international entries sailing for the UK, USA, France, Italy and two part Russian crewed boats.

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