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69th Sydney to Hobart 2013: Contenders for overall Handicap winner

In this hand out photo supplied by Rolex, Wild Oats Xl sails out of Sydney Harbour after the start of the 2008 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht race in Sydney, Australia, Friday, Dec. 26, 2008. 100 yachts will battle the seas and each other for line honors and devision places in the 64th running of one of the worlds premier open water races.(AP Photo/ROLEX / Daniel Forster)
Roar Guru
20th December, 2013
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The third instalment in the series, today we continue to discuss the contenders to take out the 69th Sydney to Hobart 2013.

3.The Tattersall’s Cup, Overall Handicap Winner
While the majority of the public and media attention will be on the Supermaxis and Maxis as they streak towards Hobart, the real race is actually further back in the fleet among the 40-60 foot yachts, the race for handicap honours.

The cup is officially known as the George Adams Tattersall Cup named after the founder of Tattersall’s Lotteries, George Adams, being first awarded in 1946.

For sailors this is the real race, because technically any yacht in the fleet can win it providing they sail well. In reality the winner will most likely come from a newish yacht in the 40-60 foot range. The overall handicap winner will be determined under the IRC handicapping system.

In the Sydney to Hobart Race there will be five IRC divisions, with yachts being allocated to a division depending on a variety of factors such as size, age and design.

The Contenders
1. Brannew Skipper Chris Bran
2. Celestial Skipper Sam Haynes
3. Ichi Ban Skipper Matt Allen
4. Midnight Rambler Skipper Ed Psaltis
5. Patrice Skipper Tony Kirby

This far out from the start it is extremely difficult to pick a stand out chance from these five yachts. All have been sailing well, all have good and experienced crews, it just remains to see whom the weather favours.

At today’s long range weather briefing, it was suggested that the first few days will be north or nor’easterlies of moderate strength, this gives a big advantage to the larger yachts who may be into and across Bass Strait before the first southerly hits. While this would favour Ichi Ban among this group, it may also open the door for some of the maxis.

Ichi Ban is a brand new Carkeek 60, built with the Hobart race in mind. Owned and skippered by past CYCA Commodore Matt Allen, she was built in Dubai only arriving in Australia in November, which could leave her a little short of sea miles with her crew.

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Having said that, she does have a formidable crew. Allen has 26 Hobarts to his name and has recruited as sailing master Gordon Maguire, who took Loki to victory in 2011, as well as gun navigator Will Oxley.

All of the other yachts in this group performed well in the CYCA Trophy Series, with Midnight Rambler taking out the overall event winning both races in IRC Division 1 on handicap, with Patrice and Celestial close behind on both days.

Brannew took out IRC Division 2 on the Saturday, but didn’t complete in the second race on Sunday, however she has already shown her form this year by taking out overall handicap honours in the Sydney to Gold Coast Race.

As the race start gets nearer and the weather forecast firms, I will be making a call on who I think will be pushing for the podium. At this stage I would have Ichi Ban ahead of Patrice followed by Celestial and Midnight Rambler as the finishing order.

If the weather forecast does end up favouring the bigger yachts, there is very little chance that Wild Oats XI will repeat her performance of last year by taking out Line and Overall Honours, the addition of her horizontal foils have blown out her handicap rating, but I would not be surprised to see Giacomo and Beau Geste at the top of the podium.

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