Monday 29 December 2008

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2008 Results

With the massive build up, promotion and publicity given to this years Rolex Sydney to Hobart ocean classic, it feels like is over almost before it starts.

The two maxis battling it out for line Honours are already tied up at Hobarts' Constitution Docks and the crews celebrating in true sailors fashion in the Customhouse Hotel and other nautical watering holes around Hobart.

These two, 'Wild Oats' and 'Skandia' match raced all the way down the Tasmanian coast until turning into Storm Bay and with easing winds, 'Wild Oats' hauled in 'Skandia' and drew away as expected, in the lightening conditions, finally being first over the line just a little over an hour in front of her pursuer.

Meanwhile, the remaining 99 boats are battling it out across Bass Strait and down the east coast of Tasmania. As this post goes to air there are still fifty yachts to finish, so it is not over yet and the tail enders will arrive over the next 48 hrs.

The smallest boat in the fleet is Maluka of Kermandie and she is a 9 metre solid huon pine gaff rigged cutter skippered by Sean Langman - and she won't finish last!

The following is an extract from the official Rolex website covering the handicap winners' ceremony:

Announcement of IRC Overall winner and presentation of the Tattersall's Cup L-R: CYCA Commodore Matt Allen, Bob Steel, owner of Quest, RYCT Commodore Clive Simpson and Richard De Leyser, General Manager Rolex Australia with the trophies ROLEX/Daniel Forster
One of Sydney’s most successful yachtsmen, Bob Steel, today completed a rare double in the history of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race when his latest Quest was declared the overall winner of the 2008 race, the winner on corrected time.

For that he receives the ‘sailors prize’, the Tattersall’s Cup, the trophy he first won in 2002 with a previous Quest, a Nelson/Marek 46.

“I am humble about the double. To win it twice is sensational, the fight was pretty daunting,” said Steel.

His third and latest Quest is a TP52, with which he had already won the 2008 Skandia Geelong Week and finished second in the 2008 Audi Sydney Gold Coast Race.

Steel’s crew is one of the most experienced in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in terms of the number of Hobart races completed – 170 between 14 crew.

When told the news this morning by the Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Matt Allen, Steel replied: “We did our very best.”

“Your best was good enough,” Allen replied.

Quest crossed the finish line at 2pm on Sunday, four and half hours behind the line honours winner Wild Oats XI and at the head of the highly-competitive TP52 fleet that competed in the race.Steel is a former tourism entrepreneur in Sydney and is semi-retired. He was named the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Ocean Racer of the Year in 2003 following that 2002 Rolex Sydney Hobart win and in the same year was named Australian IRC Offshore Champion.

His record with his latest Quest is equally impressive.

"This is the greatest sport in the world,” Steel said as Allen presented him with the Tattersall’s Cup. "Anyone can take part in it – from the young to the very old, like me".

"This has been one of the best and strongest fleets in a Hobart ever. To be in front of this fleet and to take home this amazing trophy and my second Rolex makes me proud of the crew and the boat.”

Rolex Sydney Hobart first timer, Sydney based Quest crewman Stuart McCuaig, 26, was proud as punch this morning. McCuaig only joined the Quest crew this year and when the offer came up to do the Rolex Sydney Hobart he jumped at the chance.

Given there was still some uncertainty late yesterday about the provisional winner, Quest’s crew celebrations were fairly tempered last night, “we went out and celebrated being the first TP52 home” added McCuaig.

Previous Rolex Sydney Hobart multiple overall winners include GD Gibson in 1947, 1948; Trygve and Magnus Halvorsen in 1954, 1957, 1963, 1964, 1965; Vic Meyer 1956, 1962; Graham Newland 1958, 1960; Peter Kurts 1974, 1978 (his boat Love and War won a third time in 2006); Lou Abrahams 1983, 1989; Gary Appleby 1985, 1990.

Extract courtesy Rolex Sydney Hobart official website, 'Wild Oats' and 'Skandia' images courtesy Daniel Forster and Rolex, 'Maluka of Kermandie' image courtesy Christophe Launay.

You can read more about ocean racing in my ebook 'Voyage of the Little Ship 'Tere Moana' downloadable from my website

Thursday 11 December 2008

MOB Rescue Grenade for Sailors

Wearing lifejackets at sea has always been an ambivalent issue for recreational sailors - we know we should be wearing one, but when the sun is out, the sea glittering, and the ship running under a fair breeze, the last thing we want is to be encased in a hot and sweaty jacket. This is not helped in that most lifejackets are also quite tight and restrictive to our body movements. This is an argument that can and does take up many an hour of dialogue between sailors.

Stormy Australia have tackled this question by producing a range of wet weather/lifejackets that can be worn with the comfort of normal jackets which can then inflate when entering water. You can see this range on their site

In addition, they now present a novel mob self inflating lifering device called the Stormy Rescue Grenade. This nifty device is packed in the form of a weighted grenade and can be thrown accurately in an instant to a mob in the water. Five seconds after hitting the water it self inflates by way of a small CO2 gas cylinder, the casing falls away, leaving a handy lifering which will stay inflated for 24 hrs.

They can be stowed anywhere in the cockpit and they come in a weatherproof bag so even if there is lots of water flying around, they will not self inflate until deployed.

At $55 each, a couple of these stowed within easy reach in your cockpit are cost effective and worthwhile peace of mind for any skipper.

Stormy Australia Sales Manager Dave Bellette says: 'The Stormy Rescue Grenade really fills a gap in the mob safety device range at an affordable price'.

Also, the NSW 'Westpac Rescue Helicopter' service have trialled them and pilot Tom Booth recommends it as an excellent device, well weighted for accurate throwing and having great ease of deployment.

Other uses spring to mind such as for rock fishermen, wharves that are used for fishing, lakesides, camping sites near open water, flood victims and in fact anywhere there is open water in which folks are liable to fall into from time to time.

Quotes and references courtesy Stormy Australia and Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service and images courtesy Stormy Australia.

You can read more about mob techniques and adventures in my ebook 'Voyage of the Little Ship 'Tere Moana', downloadable from my website