All was quiet this morning at Hobart’s famous Constitution Dock, seven big boats home, five inside last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart race record, last year’s overall winner, Wizard (then sailing as Giacomo) and Wild Oats X, the little sister of Wild Oats XI the latest two arrivals in the early hours of this morning.
Wizard, recently purchased by American brothers, Peter and David Askew, finished at 01:13:43:47, just outside last year’s record and this year’s. However, this quick V70, finished the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s (CYCA) at 2:43:47 this morning, nearly two hours better than last year’s time, vindicating the Askews decision to buy her. They plan taking her back to the States where they will race her in all the majors.
Now attention turns to the main trophy for the 628 nautical mile race, the Tattersall Cup, which will likely be decided in the Derwent – what other way would we have it?
Currently Matt Allen’s new TP52 Ichi Ban is in the hot seat. She is due to cross the finish line at Castray Esplanade in Hobart any time after 7.30am this morning. Allen’s nemesis, Quest is also in the running and due to finish a couple of hours after Ichi Ban.
Owned by Bob Steel, Quest, also a TP52, won this race in 2008 when Steel owned her, and again in 2015 when owned by Paul Clitheroe and renamed Quest. Clitheroe still owns the boat, but he and Steel have been sharing her for the major races in the past year.
With the handicaps in place, Quest is currently in third place, so will need to put some pace on and hope the Derwent again stops Ichi Ban in her tracks, as it did to both last year. In between the two is the man we all would love to see win the race, Bruce Taylor and his Caprice 40, Chutzpah.
This is the Victorian dentist’s 36th Sydney Hobart and he has come so close on numerous occasions, including 2014 when he finished second overall, missing the win by less than an hour to Wild Rose.
This morning at 7am, Chutzpah, whose crew includes Taylor’s son Drew sailing his 26th Hobart with his Dad, is sitting in second place overall, currently three minutes behind Ichi Ban on corrected time.
Before they left the dock on Boxing Day, the genial Taylor said, “Pray for me, pray for us – the forecast looks almost as good as it can get.”
On Ichi Ban, Allen, president of Australian Sailing, reiterated: “Quest will be our biggest threat. We haven’t seen Balance out of late, but that will be the TP52 to beat. They always do exceptionally well.”
In other news, Eric Marsh’s Blunderbuss reported she had retired from the race this morning after the boom broke on the Beneteau First 40. She brings retirements to four, with 91 yachts still racing
Full list of entries and all information: http://rolexsydneyhobart.com/
By Di Pearson, RSHYR media