2013 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race: Live updates, blog

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    CYCA Trophy Series 2013 - Wild Oats XI chases Giacomo (Image: Mark Richmond)

    At 1.00pm today, as lunch is taken at the MCG, the gun will fire to signal the start of the 69th Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race for 2013. Join us for live race updates as the fleet make their way beyond the heads and head south.

    This year 94 yachts are registered for the 628 nautical mile blue water classic, including the 12 yachts competing in the Clipper Round the World Race.

    First run in 1945 as a race for friends down the east coast to Hobart, this annual event is now regarded as one of ocean racing’s premier events, alongside races like the Fastnet.

    Every year the race attracts sailors and crews from all over the world, and this year is no exception with the first ever entrant from Cyprus – Zefiro, the Farr 100 Supermaxi.

    To most casual viewers the event is just for rich boys with their expensive toys and rock star crew.

    While that may be true for the Supermaxis at the front of the fleet, the fact is the majority of competitors are everyday men and women who indulge their passion for sailing by crewing on yachts going south for the “Quiet Little Drink”.

    This year is even more remarkable, as with the inclusion of the Clippers we have amateur sailors who have paid to be part of a round-the-world sailing experience.

    Once again the race commences with a staggered start just off Nielson Park in Sydney Harbour, utilising two separate start lines, 0.2 nautical miles apart.

    The staggered start allows the larger, fastest yachts (60 to 100 feet in length) a clear run to the heads, unimpeded by the smaller, slower yachts.

    Each start line has its own distinct rounding buoy near the heads to even out the total distance travelled, just like the stagger on the running track.

    Two major trophies will be up for grabs – The John Illingworth Trophy for the line honours winner and the Tattersall’s Cup for the overall winner on handicap or, in sailing parlance, corrected time.

    For obvious reasons the majority of media and public interest will be on the race for line honours between the big boats, but what most sailors want to win, and the more prestigious of the two, is the Tattersall’s Cup.

    The winner of this is likely to come from the smaller boats in the fleet. The handicapping system, the sailing equivalent of cricket’s Duckworth/Lewis Rule, is a complex equation taking into account the length, sail area, the age of a yacht’s design and other technical factors to (theoretically) give all contestants a chance of winning overall.

    Boats to watch
    Last year Wild Oats XI had it all sewn up soon after leaving the heads. This year she is in for a real challenge all the way to Hobart, with the Supermaxis Perpetual Loyal, Ragamuffin 100 and Wild Thing all capable of giving her a close race.

    I think the real threat will be coming from two or three of the slightly smaller Maxi yachts in Beau Geste and former Volvo Ocean Race contenders Giacomo and Black Jack.

    In ocean racing, all does not always go to plan as nature may often have a say in the result. Adverse conditions can lead to equipment failure, sail, and rigging or even hull damage, whilst an errant sunfish, whale or submerged shipping container can rip the keel of a yacht.

    If any misfortune strikes the favourites, it may open the door for some of the Clipper fleet.

    The pre-race favourite would have to be Wild Oats XI. She has taken line honours every year since 2005, with the exception of 2009 and 2011.

    In 2009, her sister yacht – the New Zealand Supermaxi Alfa Romeo II  beat her by a couple of hours after taking advantage of a breeze that missed the rest of the fleet on the first morning.

    Then in 2011 she was overtaken by Loyal early on the last morning, taking advantage of favourable wind conditions.

    Wild Oats XI has had substantial modifications to her undersides with horizontal foils added to aid in downwind conditions. However I am going to stick my neck out again this year and pick the ‘dark horse’ Beau Geste to take line honours.

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    The Crowd Says (79)

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    • 7:20am
      Bob catley said | 7:20am | ! Report

      Ch 7 commentary on the race in the harbour was so wrong I’m not surprised they then hid it.

    • Roar Guru

      Mark Richmond said | 8:18am | ! Report

      T plus 3 days 19 hrs 15 mins. Whilst the official announcement is still to be made, Victoire is the winner of the 2013 handicap race. Only one yacht is still theoretically capable of beating her, Illusion, which have to cover the final 79nm in 17 minutes……
      So that’s it for this year, a full wrap up will follow with the official results in due course.

    • Roar Guru

      Mark Richmond said | 5:30pm | ! Report

      T plus 3 days 4 hrs 25 mins. The Tattersall’s Cup is all over bar the shouting. Wild Rose needs to finish by 4.03am tomorrow morning, her current eta is 7.10am as she makes 6.7 knots down the Tasmanian coast. I am prepared to call the appropriately named Victoire as the victor for the 2013 Tattersall’s Cup, but I have been wrong before!
      Unless there are any major developments, there will not be any further updates until tomorrow morning.

    • Roar Guru

      Mark Richmond said | 2:47pm | ! Report

      T plus 3 days 1 hour 40 mins. It looks like it is down to 2 now. Victoire is in the clubhouse with a decent time, Wild Rose, is maintaining speed over the ground of about 8 knots, but she remains an hour and twenty minutes behind her target time. Not helping her cause is the Bureau of Meteorology forecast of moderating winds, that will make it more comfortable for the crew, but if the winds moderate too much, her speed will be badly affected. Wild Rose is a Farr 43, designed for heavy, not light wind conditions.
      Although the official call will not be made until it is clear that Wild Rose cannot make the time, I think it is fairly safe to say that Victoire is going to win the Tattersall’s Cup.
      Outside of the major handicap race, there are still divisional honours up for grabs. Victoire has Division 0 wrapped up, Varuna has own Division 1, Division 2 is still up for grabs with Veloce needing to finish by 4.27pm today to take the win from Celestial, Divisions 3 and 4 are still all up for grabs, but Wild Rose has a stranglehold at this stage on Division 4, whilst Brannew and Shining Sea are in the box seat for Division 3.

    • Roar Guru

      Mark Richmond said | 12:03pm | ! Report

      T plus 2 days 23 hours. As the old saying goes “it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings”. Having thought that the race was Veloce’s to lose, the vagaries of the wind in Storm Bay are ruining her chances. She has slowed to a crawl, whilst further out to see Wild Rose is doing well and improving, having picked up nearly half an hour on corrected time, however she has yet to hit Storm Bay and the lighter conditions, especially as the sun sets and the winds become notoriously light. Sitting in constitution Dock, the crew of Victoire would be starting to feel confident.

    • Roar Guru

      Mark Richmond said | 9:50am | ! Report

      T plus 2 days 20 hrs 45 mins. Looks like I spoke too soon, Veloce has fallen behind Victoire in the race for handicap, she is beating into the so’westerly making 6.5 knots, when she needs to maintain 7 knots or above. However when she rounds Tasman Island, as she is about to do, her point of sail will improve to reaching conditions, which hopefully for her, will improve her boat speed to what she requires. At the moment, non of the other contenders are making any impression on the two leaders, so it looks like it’s down to these two.

    • Roar Guru

      Mark Richmond said | 8:49am | ! Report

      T plus 2 days 19 hours 40 mins. Victoire has set the benchmark for handicap honours. She sits second in the overall standings but her quick finish has reduced Veloce’s advantage. She now has a slender 13 mins up her sleeve to take the win, but is traveling well at this stage….the Fickle winds in the Derwent may determine her fate. Also in contention are Chutzpah and Celestial, both with 30 to 40 minutes to make up over the finishing hours, an unlikely scenario in the conditions, but not impossible. Still in contention, but rank outsiders now are Wild Rose and Kerumba, both have more than an hour and a half to make up.
      The Tattersall’s Cup could well be decided by early this afternoon .

    • Roar Guru

      Mark Richmond said | 8:06am | ! Report

      T plus 2 days 19 hrs. Patrice is out of the race for handicap honours, she has retired and heading for Orford after suffering minor hull damage. Also out the Clipper Race leader Henri Lloyd with rudder damage, she is continuing on to Hobart, but in non racing conditions.
      Veloce continues to make good progress and leads the standings, whilst Victoire is about to finish her run within the next half hour to become the leader “in the clubhouse” in overall second position. This will reset the finishing time targets, once that is complete there will be another update.

    • Roar Guru

      Mark Richmond said | 7:16am | ! Report

      T plus 2 days 18 hrs. The race for line honours is run and won, with the final positions being Wild Oats XI, Perpetual Loyal and Ragamuffin 100.
      As predicted the southerly that came through early this morning has changed things completely. Firstly there have been 2 retirements at sea. Wedgetail was dismasted off Tasman Island and Luna Sea sustained rudder damage near Flinders Island. All crew reported safe and well.
      In the race for handicap honours as predicted the two smaller boats leading last night Wild Rose and Brannew have been knocked off the top of the standings by Veloce, Chutzpah and Celestial, although Wild Rose still remains in contention in 5th.
      Veloce is making good speed in these conditions and with 55nm to go she is certainly in the box seat, at the moment she needs to finish by 8.29 pm and e.t.a. is 1.18pm. Those yachts behind her in the standings are either going to have to perform exceptionally well to catch her, or get some improved weather, which unfortunately for them is not forecast.

    • Roar Guru

      Mark Richmond said | 9:47pm | ! Report

      T plus 2 days 8 hrs 40 mins. Two game plans in the offing here. Patrice is sitting well east of the rhumb line, rest of the contenders for handicap sitting close to it. Why is this important? The more southerly in the change there is, if you are closer to the rhumb line, the wind is more on the nose, and therefore the boat is slower. The wider you are, like Patrice, you have greater chance of a reaching run, the best point of sail, into the finish. Patrice’s navigator and sailing master have set her up for the best possible chance to bring it home.
      I should add that Patrice’s position si estimatif, due to a malfunction in the tracking equipment.

    • Roar Guru

      Mark Richmond said | 8:51pm | ! Report

      Update from Bureau of Meteorology. Front now forecast not to hit the fleet until early Sunday morning…..this is playing into Wild Rose and Brannew’s hands. Could Wild Oats and ‘ex’ Wild Oats do the double?

    • Roar Guru

      Mark Richmond said | 8:44pm | ! Report

      T plus 2 days 7 hrs 40 mins. The race for handicap is on! Currently if the change allows the smaller yachts to reach their way into Hobart, then Wild Rose and Brannew are in the box seat, they both have an hour up their sleeve over the other contenders. But, and it’s a big but, if the change hits the fleet on the nose, then Chutzpah, Veloce, Victoire and Patrice are in with a shout.

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