Le supermaxi Wild Oats XI a remporté samedi pour la 7e fois la Rolex Sydney-Hobart 2013 en temps réel mais n’a pu égaler finalement le record de victoires de Kurrewa IV qui s’était également imposé sous le nom de Morna.
Wild Oats XI, barré par l’Australien Mark Richards, a passé la ligne d’arrivée de la Rolex Sydney Hobart 2013 dans le port de Tasmanie en ayant parcouru les 628 miles en 2 jours 6 heures 7 minutes et 27 secondes, selon les organisateurs, loin de son record de 1 jour 18 heures 23 minutes 12 secondes établi l’an dernier. Le supermaxi Perpetual Loyal, plus lourd et handicapé par le vent inhabituellement faible rencontré durant la course, était 2e à 33 miles du vainqueur et Ragamuffin 100, également un supermaxi, pointait troisième 10 miles plus loin.
Wild Oats XI, du milliardaire australien Bob Oatley, a déjà remporté la Sydney-Hobart de 2005 à 2008, en 2010 et 2012. Et Oatley est persuadé que son bateau «magnifiquement construit» a devant lui «un très bel avenir, de nouvelles victoires».
Mais sur le quai à l’arrivée, Bob Oatley a reconnu ses craintes: «jusqu’à ce que nous passions la ligne d’arrivée aujourd’hui, nous étions inquiets car c’est une course si difficile que vous ne savez jamais ce qui peut se passer».Après avoi pris le meilleur départ à l’issu d’un bord à bord tendu avec Perpetual Loyal dans le port de Sydney jeudi, Wild Oats XI avait cédé la tête brièvement vendredi matin à son concurrent le plus dangereux.
«Nous avons perdu la tête la première nuit avec des conditions météo difficiles. Ensuite, nous avons été heureux de pouvoir la reprendre et ensuite augmenter notre avance tout au long de la journée», a raconté Bob Oatley.
La majorité des 91 bateaux constituant la flotte de cette Sydney Hobart 2013 après 3 abandons ont passer le détroit de Bass sous spinnaker, mais les plus lents ont été pris dans des vents de plus en plus forts. La Sydney Hobart 2013 a montré encore une fois qu’elle reste une épreuve mythique que tout marin rêve de gagner. C’est quelques heures plus tard que finalement, le supermaxi Wild Oats XI s’est vu retirer la victoire de la Sydney Hobart 2013 en faveur du Victoire (50 pieds), après la prise en compte des facteurs de poids, de longueur et de taille, ont annoncé lundi les organisateurs.
«C’est un accomplissement fabuleux», a déclaré le propriétaire de Victoire en ajoutant, «il faut avoir le bon équipement pour passer la ligne d’arrivée en un morceau».Victoire est arrivé à Hobart dimanche matin, en 9e position, avec un temps de deux jours, 19 heures et 32 secondes, qui lui a permis d’être déclaré vainqueur de la Sydney Hobart 2013 alors que le seul bateau encore en course capable de le battre, en considérant les facteurs de poids, de longueur et de taille, a fait un temps trop long.
The 69th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart 2013 Race shaped up early to be one of the most competitive editions on record. The 94-boat fleet featured five 100 foot maxis, two Volvo 70s, seven former race winners and a seriously competitive lineup across the fleet. Several newly launched boats came to the race as ‘dark horses’, having not yet competed or in relatively few races, and with veteran crew who had the experience to make them a threat; among these were Anthony Bell’s Perpetual Loyal (ex-Speedboat, Rambler 100), Karl Kwok’s Botin 80, Beau Geste; Matt Allen’s Carkeek 60, Ichi Ban, and Jim Delegat’s Volvo 70 Giacomo.
An International Fleet for Sydney Hobart 2013
The iconic 628-nautical mile offshore race is on the bucket list of offshore sailors worldwide, and this year’s race was no exception as it included 22 international entries from Germany, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Cyprus. The German yacht Varuna competed in the major Caribbean regattas last winter, followed by the 2,225 nautical mile Transpac Race from Los Angles to Honolulu, after which the Ker 51 was shipped to Australia. For owner/skipper Jens Kellinghusen, the trip to the Rolex Sydney Hobart 2013 was inevitable, he said, “It’s one of the top events in the world, and it was on our dream list.” Zefiro, a Farr 100, is on a round-the-world cruise westward from its’ homeport in the island country of Cyprus and came to Sydney to compete in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. Following the race, Zerifo will continue back to the Mediterranean via Indonesia.
All of the months of planning and preparation culminated in Sydney, as the fleet filled the docks at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Rushcutter’s Bay. At the pre-race weather briefing, tacticians and navigators tweaked their race strategies, as the forecast called for a 10-15 knot southeasterly that would increase as the fleet made their way south. Though by late on December 28, a low pressure system moving east through Bass Strait and across Tasmania was forecast to bring a strong to gale force westerly – and while the frontrunners would likely miss that, the mid-sized to smaller boats would likely encounter the system head on. Roger Hickman, skipper of Wild Rose, dockside before the start of his 37th race predicted, “Tonight and tomorrow should be quiet, and then I believe we’re going to get a real pasting in Bass Strait: fresh to frightening, gale-force winds. But that’s the way it is.”
First day game plans Sydney Hobart 2013
With a bit of luck, by the Boxing Day race start on 26 December, a low pressure system had moved out to sea leaving behind picture perfect conditions: a 15-18 knot southeasterly, sunshine and blue skies. The Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge provided a stunning backdrop to an extraordinary start venue, with hundreds of thousands of spectators watching from shore, as well as live television and streaming web coverage that watched by an impressive TV and on-line audience worldwide.
With their remarkable power and speed, the 100 foot maxis never fail to impress. This year’s race featured five of them: six-time Rolex Sydney Hobart Race line honours and two time overall winner Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI; Perpetual Loyal, the newly modified Speedboat/ Rambler 100, Ragamuffin 100 with skipper, Australian yachting icon, Syd Fischer – who celebrated his 86thbirthday while competing in his 46th race – Wild Thing, and Zefiro. The size and pace of the top end of this year’s fleet – which all go off under the same starter’s canon – required a change to three staggered start lines inside Sydney Harbor. The bigger boats set their giant code zero headsails and were off quickly: Wild Oats XI and Perpetual Loyal leading the fleet out past Sydney Heads, closely followed by Beau Geste, Ragamuffin, and Wild Thing, along with the Volvo 70s,Black Jack and Giacomo.
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Second day strategies Sydney Hobart 2013
The forecast held true over the first night into December 27, during which time Anthony Bell’sPerpetual Loyal made the strategic move to head further offshore. Loyal’s tactic worked, as they eked out a gain of close to 14 nautical miles in front of Wild Oats XI, surprising even Loyal’s navigator Stan Honey, who said, “We’re pleased to still be in the hunt, as light air is not our strong point.” By midday though, Wild Oats XI got into her performance groove and started to reel Loyalin and finally overhauled and passed her to take the lead. Ten miles back, Ragamuffin 100 was a close third and briefly led the fleet on handicap. Syd Fischer’s latest boat had a respectable pedigree, originally built as Maximus, it took the line honours win in the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race as Investec Loyal. The rest of the fleet eked its way down the coast slowly given the light breeze.
Third day running Sydney Hobart 2013
The frontrunners reached across Bass Strait, and despite the light breeze, they began to separate from the rest of the fleet. By sunrise, Wild Oats XI had stretched her lead to 26-nautical miles overPerpetual Loyal. Further back, the two Volvo70s, Giacomo and Black Jack, were pacing each other down the course along with the 80 foot, Beau Geste, all of which were geared for stronger conditions, struggled to stay in touch with the leaders in the lighter winds and continued to fall behind.
Later in the day, the northeast breeze increased, in advance of the westerly change that would come later that evening. Wild Oats XI reveled in the building downwind conditions, making the most of her most recent modifications for this Sydney Hobart 2013, including the much talked about hydrofoil wing, nicknamed the “ironing board”, that kept the bow from nose-diving. The crew was kept busy with constant sail changes – Richards later reckoned they made at least fifty. Wild Oats XI lead grew to 50 nautical miles, and while Perpetual Loyal was able to claw back some of those, it wasn’t enough. Finally,Wild Oats XI sailed up the Derwent River, and close reached to the finish line and crossed with an elapsed time of 2 days, 6 hours, 7 minutes, 27 seconds for this Sydney Hobart 2013. Skipper Mark Richards and crew took their seventh line honours win, which tied the amazing record held by the yacht Morna, later renamed Kurrewa IV, one that has held for over 50 years.
Dockside Richards was amazed at how well Wild Oats went when it got windier and windier, and commented, “We just got faster and faster compared to the other boats – it was a really cool experience in this Sydney Hobart 2013.” Quick to praise the crew, he added, “It’s hard to explain how good the chemistry is on that boat…there is a lot of passion.”
Fourth day dramas Sydney Hobart 2013
The sharp change in weather conditions over the night took its toll, with five yachts retiring overnight of the Sydney Hobart 2013, including the leading British Clipper 70 Henri Lloyd, which was east of Cape Barren Island when it lost its rudder bearing, and Wedgetail dismasted off of Tasman Island.
Despite a forecast that was spot on as to timing, many were surprised by the speed of the southwesterly front. Conditions off the Tasmanian east coast proved treacherous for many in the fleet – though not terribly unusual for the Rolex Sydney Hobart – most notably at Tasman Island, where the rhumbline course required the fleet to harden up and face the brunt of the building southwesterly wind and massive seas.
The yacht Kerumba found a steady 40 – 45 knots off Tasman, with a peak of 57 knots. Navigator Rob Buchanan described a sea state that was manageable: big south Atlantic swells, four to five meters high. He recalled, “We had waves break over us a couple of times, but it wasn’t inordinately rough. We were probably slightly over pressed, a number four jib and a main with two reefs; we took the view that we needed the power in the troughs to get through it.”
Darryl Hopkington’s Victoire had the pedal down on their wild ride south, and when the Cookson 50 crossed the finish line at 8am AEDT, it took the overall handicap lead. The Sydney based skipper would credit tactician and strategist, Sean Kirkjian – veteran of 17 races – and said “He’s a wizard who’s just playing ‘ocean chess’ all the time.” But Victoire would had to wait overnight to see if any competitors could reach Hobart in time to unseat them.
Fifth day respite Sydney Hobart 2013
Overnight the weather conditions moderated slightly to 20 – 25 knots. For Roger Hickman’s Wild Rose, any chance of upsetting Victoire as overall handicap leader was not to be. The 37-time race veteran later recalled, “If we could have gone in a straight line at six knots we could have gotten there. But the wind was howling…it was a really a tough, and rough, race.”
By mid-morning the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia confirmed Victoire as the official Overall Winner of the 69th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart 2013 Yacht Race. At a dockside presentation, Hodgkinson was presented with the Tattersall’s Cup and a Rolex timepiece. Hodgkinson bought the boat as a birthday present to himself with a two-year plan to win the Rolex Sydney Hobart 2013 Race – which he fast tracked, succeeding on his first try with the new boat.
The ebullient skipper recalled Victoire’s tough race, “When we got that heavy northeasterly, there were moments when we had to believe in ourselves and our yacht. We knew this boat had won before, so we let it run. We were only going to win if we pressed really hard…we couldn’t let our foot off the pedal. There were some moments when the foot was right down and it was like ‘oh, this is a ride’. We were thrilled!”
Sixth day all in Sydney Hobart 2013
On December 31, the final yachts trickled in with last yacht Namadgi, arriving just before 11pm AEDT. As they motored to their berth, they were cheered by tens of thousands of New Year’s Eve revelers lining the shore – just in time for Hobart’s brilliant fireworks display. From a total of 94 race starters, 84 yachts finished the race, and despite some of the most challenging conditions in recent years, only ten yachts retired, a testament to the depth of experience and skill of the Rolex Sydney Hobart 2013 Yacht Race fleet.
Interest is building in advance of the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, which will be the 70thedition. Already maxis Wild Oats XI and Perpetual Loyal are among the competitors that have confirmed they intend to be on the start line, which will be sure to attract the most competitive sailors and yachts from all corners of the world.