‘The lightest Rolex Sydney/Hobart on record’
After a difficult summer (readers may recall reports of a rudder failure mid-atlantic, a ship abandonment and subsequently storm damage on the returning freighter) project managers Ocean Marine (skipper Chris Sherlock and
A large note of thanks to all at Green Marine, Hamble Yacht Services, and others who made this turnaround possible. Our target, a podium position in the 2002
Arriving in Sydney on the 12th of November, Leopard was off loaded from the gigantic Conro ‘Texas’, Chris Sherlock and crew set about putting her back together ready for the ‘British Cup’ – a pre Rolex Sydney to Hobart Regatta around the spectacular Sydney Harbour.
The race favourite ‘Shockwave’ proves all conquering throughout the warm up series. A Reichl Pugh (same design as Leopard) 90ft, water-ballasted, ultra light flyer, she proves as quick in light air as ‘Stealth’ had shown in last year’s Jubilee Regatta. Kiwi based owner, Neville Crichton, expressed confidence to justify the short odds (A$1.40) whereas Leopard is placed second favourite @ A$ 4 with Nicorette A$ 7 and Wild Thing at A$ 8 - no one had yet quite reckoned on Grundig/Xena’s (open 60 downwind machine) chances.
Leopard, quite on the other hand, sets herself up for an upwind race by forsaking our over-lapping headsails, shortening our spinnaker pole but retaining our water-ballast. Thereby we reduce our IRC rating from 1.635 to 1.600.
As Boxing Day approaches and we spar in the British Cup Series in the awesome arena of
The wind at the start was 15-20 knots from the East making a tight reach start with sleeting rain coming from heavy clouds over
Over the two and a bit days of the race for us, the weather was dominated by high pressures in the Australian Bight and the Tasman sea joining over Tasmania and migrating slowly eastwards giving us winds between 10 and 20 knots from SE to NE over the track, building to 30 knots NE for the last few hours into Tasman Island.