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Maxi Duel In Lead Role At Rolex Sydney Hobart Race

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    Emotions run high and low amidst TP52 finishers

    The sight of the first three TP52s to finish the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race this afternoon reflected three contrasting emotions: disappointment, excitement and resignation.

    The sight of the first three TP52s to finish the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race this afternoon reflected three contrasting emotions: disappointment, excitement and resignation.

    For the New Zealand entry Caro, ninth boat to finish the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s race, the mood was disappointment. Even though they were the first of the TP52s and first international boat to finish, their lament was for not having achieved what they came for; overall victory and the Tattersall Cup.

    Close behind Caro, this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race winner after a race-long challenge with the Kiwi boat was Seb Bohm’s Smuggler. There was not quite three minutes between the two which were ninth and 10th over the finish line. Behind them was the 2022 overall winner, Sam Hayne’s Celestial.

    Asked if being the first TP52 provided solace to falling short of claiming the overall win, Caro sailing master, Justin Ferris, said: “That’s trying salvage something out of the race. There’s always a competitive fleet of 52s and it's nice to win that battle, but we wanted it to be a better end to our year. We had a good year and it would have been nice to have this win as well. But it’s bloody hard to win it. A lot have tried for a long time,” the Kiwi sailor said. Ferris said Caro paid the price of taking the wrong option with their strategy: “We worked out the only way we're going to win this race is to try and get through with the mini maxi's wind. We knew that if we failed at that attempt, then we were going to be well behind the 50-footers that took the inside route, that we would fall off the back. That is exactly what happened. Then it was all about catch up and at least be the first TP52 home. We rolled the dice, had a good shot, and it didn't work.” However, Ferris lauded the performance of Smuggler, whose crew threw everything at Caro.
    Credit: Rolex/Andrea Francolini

    “They went bloody well. They took the option that was presented to us as well, which obviously we didn’t take,” Ferris said. “We were super impressed at how well they went. Last night we tried everything to catch them and it took us one day to get in front of them.”

    On Smuggler, a boat that Bohm bought from Sam Haynes in 2019, the mood was one of excitement and celebration, rather than disappointment for having been passed by Caro close to the finish. Bohm, who has finished all nine Hobarts he has sailed, also enjoyed beating his CYCA clubmate Haynes with the latter’s former boat. “But we are good friends,” Bohm acknowledged. Bohm was thrilled with how Smuggler performed against the international campaigner Caro. “It's fantastic,” Bohm said. “We were surprised and in awe that we were so close to them. We’ve got a great product and a great package.”

    For Haynes, it was a sense of resignation as he sat on Celestial next to Smuggler and Caro. “I knew before the start of the race that is very unlikely I’d win two years in a row,” said Haynes, citing the pre-race forecast of variable win and general conditions. “We blasted away to the east on the first night and really got ahead of schedule. We were covering Caro which was doing the same.” Haynes lauded Bohm and his crew, saying: “They played a really good game.” However, it was not lost on Haynes that Bohm had beaten him on his old boat. “Getting beaten by your former boat is the classic, but he's a good mate and I’m really happy for him,” he said. “We both crossed Bass Strait in different areas completely. They played the current so much better.”

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  • Maxi Duel In Lead Role At Rolex Sydney Hobart Race

    SHK Scallywag First Of Three Early Casualties From 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart

    Seng Huang Lee’s 100ft SHK Scallywag from Hong Kong, has become the first casualty of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, breaking her bow sprit early this evening Sydney time.

    2023 RSHYR UPDATE - Wednesday 0500hrs
    After 16 hours of racing, Andoo Comanche is going toe-to-toe with LawConnect around 90nm SE of Green Cape. She is doing 17.2kts, having averaged 12kts for the journey & has only a half mile lead over her rival.
    URM Group & Alive have overtaken the other maxi Wild Thing 100 & are alongside each other 7 miles back in another tight battle.
    Caro currently sits in 7th place on standings, with the two TP52s Smuggler & Highly Sprung on her tail. No Limit , Whisper, Celestial, Teasing Machine & Denali lead the rest.
    The fleet is strung back to Wollongong where Currawong, Sylph VI & Silver Fern are presently doing 7.5 kts.
    There have been two more retirements overnight. All are well.
    Richard Harris' Cookson 50 Sticky (RPAYC) suffered a lightning strike & electrical damage.
    Bill Barry Cotter's TP52 Maritimo 52 (Southport Yacht Club) has had rigging damage to a forestay fitting.
    Current standings:
    Alive, Highly Sprung, URM Group, Smuggler, Chutzpah
    Helsal 3, Insomnia, Mako, MWF Kayle, Gunshot,
    Mistral, Kraken III, Cinnamon Girl - Eden Capital
    Mayfair, Denali, Pretty Woman
    Pretty Woman, Calibre 12, Supernova


    SHK Scallywag, skippered by David Witt, had recently undergone modifications and with some well-known crew added, seemed to be in great shape, but it was not to be. Without the bow sprit, flying spinnakers is impossible.

    A short time later, Peter Davison’s Archambault 40 RC, Arcadia from Victoria, along with the two-handed entry of Shane Connolly/Tony Sutton on the J/99, Rum Rebellion, also reported they had retired from the 78th running of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 628 nautical mile race.

    Arcadia has retired with a torn mainsail, but no reason has been given at this stage for Rum Rebellion from Sydney.

    This leaves 100 boats racing, including 17 two-handed entries.

    Just before 5pm this evening, both Christian Beck’s LawConnect and the John Winning Jnr skippered Andoo Comanche, reported they were sailing on a comfortable sea in nice 16-18 knot winds.

    Ty Oxley reported from LawConnect: “We are neck-and-neck with Andoo and reaching at 20 knots in 18-20 knots of breeze. Wind is up and down on a comfortable sea.”

    Sam Fay said from Andoo Comanche: “We are doing 26 knots and have just overtaken LawConnect.”

    The three boats had been having a tight tussle until SHK Scallywag’s retirement.

    Grant Wharington’s 100ft Wild Thing 100, with her shorter rig, is 13 nautical miles behind Law Connect at 7.30pm.

    Written by Di Pearson/RSHYR Media

    LawConnect Fires First Shot In Bid For Line Honours Win In Rolex Sydney Hobart

    LawConnect made best of its bid to break a hoodoo of three runner-up finishes in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race by leading the fleet towards the Heads after this afternoon’s start.

    The Christian Beck owned maxi led off the start line on Sydney Harbour at 1pm, then lost the lead to SHK Scallywag and Andoo Comanche due to a furling issue on a sail change.

    SHK Scallywag led out of the Heads from Andoo Comanche, with the fleet of 103 strung out on four start lines. Grant Wharington’s Wild Thing 100 was the last of the maxis to clear the Heads, her smaller rig made it hard to keep up.

    Last boat out was the Currawong 30, Currawong, one of 18 two handed entries that is co-skippered by Kathy Veel and Bridget Canham and was last to reach Hobart last year. Just in front of them was Sylph VI, Bob Williams’ boat with cat Oli aboard enjoying the ride.

    Soon outside the Heads, LawConnect recovered from its furling issue and was back leading the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 628 nautical mile race.

    Beck lauded his crew today, but he was at pain to modestly set himself apart from the praise, saying: “That’s not me … The rest of the crew is awesome. I think that's what will make or break us really.”

    Beck also admitted that the label of being seen as perennial Sydney Hobart bridesmaid has added fuel to the motivation of his crew. “Of course, it does. Yes,” he said.

    Today’s start before a larger than usual spectator fleet in light 5 to 10 knot east to north-easterly winds was not without drama though.

    Andoo Comanche, the defending Line Honours champion skippered by John Winning Jnr, raised a protest flag after a port and starboard incident with the David Witt skippered SHK Scallywag.

    However, SHK Scallywag, owned by Seng Huang Lee, completed a 720 degree turn near Bondi which exonerated the Hong Kong boat from the incident.

    The forecast before the start was for east to north-east winds of 5 to 10 knots, with winds increasing to 20 knots offshore, with warnings of gusts. Winds were then expected to shift south-westerly by Wednesday as a series of troughs and cold front push through.

    By the time the fleet was pushing south down the NSW Coast in lumpy offshore swells this afternoon, the signals of what is expected to come had already been seen.

    Half an hour before the start, the humidity and heat made way for a fall in temperature as darkening skies, thunder and lightning in the horizon moved in from the north.

    A shower of rain then swept over Sydney Harbour as crews underwent their final preparations before it headed south to leave the harbour again under a blaze of sunshine.

    In the front line, the maxis, TP52s and other medium boats had a clean start. The four maxis were separated into two pods. SHK Scallywag and Wild Thing 100 set off from close to the pin on the western side of the Harbour, while LawConnect and Andoo Comanche favoured the east.

    Written by Rupert Guinness | RSHYR Media