2015 the toughest race since 2004

2015 the toughest race since 2004
77, BLACK JACK (QLD), Sail No: 52570, Design: Volvo 70 Modified, Owner: Mark Bradford, Skipper: Mark Bradford - ROLEX - Stefano Gattini

After a decade of, by Rolex Sydney-Hobart standards, comparatively benign weather the race has returned with a vengeance to its classic persona.

The mean southerly that made life hell for sailors off the NSW south coast last night is at last abating, but it has taken a huge toll on the fleet.

Before the southerly buster kicked in there were five boats out of the race, now there are 29, an attrition rate of 27 per cent and the race still has at least another two days to run.

That’s starting to get close to the really tough 2004 race when 58 of a fleet of 117 retired; 50 per cent.

The latest casualties include Peter Harburg’s Queensland Volvo 70 Black Jack, which returned to Jervis Bay to transfer an injured crew member with a suspected fractured leg. The crew member s being transferred by ambulance to the nearby naval base for medical assistance.

The retirees at 2130 last night were:

  1. Ark323
  2. Cougar II
  3. Lupa of London
  4. M3 - broken forestay
  5. Dare Devil - rudder damage - returning to Sydney
  6. CEX Dolce - broken mast
  7. Wild Oats XI - mainsail damage
  8. St Jude - rudder
  9. Perpetual Loyal - rudder
  10. KOA - steering
  11. Pazzaz - mainsail
  12. Pretty Fly III - broken forestay
  13. Brindabella - sail
  14. Takani - rudder
  15. Patrice - mainsail
  17. Dekadence - electronics Issues
  18. Samurai Jack - sail damage
  19. HASPA Hamburg - rig
  20. Black Jack - returning to Jervis Bay
  21. Victoire
  22. KLC Bengal 7 - mainsail
  23. Frantic - mainsail
  24. Triton - mainsail
  25. Hollywood Boulevard - hull
  26. Great Xpectations
  27. Landfall - hull
  28. China Easyway - sail damage
  29. Jaffa - starter motor


It’s been a tough race on the digital front as well. The race’s Yacht Tracker system was affected by a global outage of a major data centre, the victim of a “sustained distributed denial of service attack” on their systems. It was large enough that their entire London data centre was affected, The yacht race became a wounded innocent bystander.

Meanwhile, the race goes on and even the frontrunners have taken a pretty solid beating from this classic, wild Hobart. Comanche and Rambler are licking their wounds, each having suffered damage to their starboard daggerboards and, in Comanche’s case a rudder. The damage has slowed both boats but Comanche is currently 8 miles in front and looking at a Hobart finish late tomorrow.