Countdown to Sydney Hobart 2009

108 boats are expected to start the second largest Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet in a decade. It is 10 years since the 1998 race saw 6 lives lost when horrific weather hit the fleet during the 628 nautical mile race.

CYCA Commodore Matt Allen said at the press conference:
‘It is pleasing to have the second largest fleet in a decade this year, which is a testament to the ever-growing worldwide popularity of the race. The fleet represents yacht communities from every state in Australia and the ACT, with twelve yachts representing nine countries making up one of the largest international contingents in recent years,’

International entries are particularly strong with 12 yachts representing nine countries, including Switzerland, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany, USA, New Caledonia, France, Russia and New Zealand.

Bob Oatley’s 30 metre maxi Wild Oats XI is aiming for a record fourth consecutive line honours win. In the Cabbage Tree Island race, the Mark Richards skippered Wild Oats XI broke the course record.

Grant Wharington’s Skandia, the 2003 line honours winner and the second 30m maxi in this year’s race, has also had a quiet year. The Victorian maxi is being groomed for its sixth attempt, with Wharington hoping to turn his luck around following a string of mishaps during three of the last four Rolex Sydney Hobarts.

A number of brand new boats have graced this year’s start list including Stephen Ainsworth’s Reichel/Pugh designed 63 footer Loki, the replacement for Ainsworth’s previous Loki which had to be abandoned during last year’s Rolex Middle Sea Race.

The 50 foot range is sporting some of the best IRC grand prix racers in the country led by a sizeable fleet of Transpac 52s (TP52). Challenging them will be the brand new Farr 55 Living Doll out of Victoria, Geoff Ross’s always well-sailed Yendys and the slightly smaller but equally competitive Cookson 50s Quantum Racing and Shogun.

Official Site of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race :