Happy New Year ! Próspero Año Nuevo ! See you there
Where I live, the game of name freaks was pursued avidly by our most famous newspaper columnist (RIP) in the heyday of newspapers (RIP) and I recall the time fondly, but that meant nothing to my intention to not cover the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race from my more or less antipodean outpost.
Until I discovered that the long awaited decision—it took a protracted protest hearing involving two of the smaller boats in what turned out to be a slowish race—gave the overall IRC time allowance win to a Beneteau First 40 named . . .
Think two-plus hours in the room talking about a leaving-Sydney-mark collision amidst a stack-up of boats.
And finally, the jury ruled in favor of Two True.
And ruled against the Inglis 39, She’s the Culprit.
The incident is described in the RSHYR media release as part of “a crush of boats” attempting to round the mark. She’s the Culprit was holed and retired. She took her damage directly from Two True, so yes, that was her protest, but Two True argued that she had been forced into the incident by yet another boat, the Beneteau 47 Kioni. The protest committee went with that, penalising Kioni, exonerating Two True, and also disallowing a protest against She’s the Culprit. So maybe it’s time to change that name?
If there’s anything more thankless than serving on race committee it’s serving on protest committee. But it’s not only love that makes the world go ’round.
Note: This version improves upon an earlier-published write-through based upon a thinner flow of information.
The official release reads this way:
Two True, one of the first new Farr-designed Beneteau First 40 stock production racer/cruiser to be imported into Australia, won IRC overall by 42 minutes from another new First 40, (Mike Welsh) after a close race-long duel in which they followed a similar strategy – stay well east of the rhumbline.
Ian Mason’s Sydney 38 Next, in third place, another 1hr 19min behind, was similarly pushed by close competition in the six-boat Sydney 38 fleet racing one-design, as well as on IRC handicap. Another Sydney 38, Swish (Steven Proud) from the strong Sydney fleet, was fourth and Tony Kirby’s Jeppersen X-41 Patrice Six, fifth.
In sixth place was the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race winner Ran (Niklas Zennstrom), from the UK.
Two True, from the Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia, is the first yacht from South Australia to win the Tattersall’s Cup since Kevan Pearce’s win with SAP Ausmaid in 2000. The South Australians continue to be strongly committed to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, sailing 1000 nautical miles just to get to the start.
Owner-skipper Andy Saies said he was absolutely elated at the win after being in the surreal situation of not knowing the outcome until after the protest hearing. “Obviously we are very happy with the jury’s decision. We believe we did everything in the circumstances to avoid significant damage to the other boat. We gave our intention to protest, we did a 720 (degree penalty turn), though the damage to the other boat was minor and superficial.”
“I respect the decision of the skipper of She’s the Culprit not to continue racing in those circumstances, but obviously we are very happy and delighted with the outcome.”
He thanked his crew, which raced the two prior Sydney Hobart Races on his previous boat True North, a Beneteau First 40. “The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race cannot be won without a great team, a great boat and an ounce of Sydney Hobart luck. Our team are fabulous guys. We have worked together for the past three years on my previous boat True North.” Saies particularly thanked Brett Young, his team and boat manager. “Energetic, tireless work ethic, great understanding of the rules.”
He said the race was a physical endurance event over 628 miles. “The wind was in, the wind was out, we drifted, we went backwards, we lost internet access, we didn’t know what was going on until the last few minutes. It was a classic Rolex Sydney Hobart event and we were in it up to our back teeth and it came our way in end.”
Much more, including accounts of the cant-keel maxi Alfa Romeo‘s line honors race, can be found at rolexsydneyhobart.com.
Underneath the stir about Alinghi’s sails (country of origin?) there’s another drama percolating as Alinghi makes a move to require the challenger to moor inside Valencia’s Dársena between races. Why?
I don’t have a statement from Alinghi, but I confidently infer it’s to assure public access to the excitement of America’s Cup 33—and because it would make life hard or perhaps impossible for the challenger.
The wing that the BMW Oracle team plans to use, all 190 feet of it, comes with performance advantages and practical liabilities. In particular, it needs a lot of parking space. And the Dársena , the smaller of two adjoining harbors in Valencia, the one familiar from the 2007 match as America’s Cup Village, is tight for parking.
In an email from his foxhole in cyberspace, BMOR’s Director of External Affairs, Tom Ehman, writes, “SNG has declared all out war on us—trying to force us to moor the 90 inside the Dársena where it will often be impossible to get in, depending on weather conditions and where even if we do get in (it would have to be with the wing up; that’s the only way to get through the canal) there is no room for a mooring buoy with a radius of 100+ meters. A hundred plus meters is the minimum room required to moor the thing when the wing is lowered. And if we did get in, and had a proper mooring, we might not be able to get out the next morning.”
The separate question of whether or not the defender’s sails must come from Switzerland will have to be decided by the international jury that both parties have agreed to. However, in Ehman’s version of events, Alinghi has “delayed the empanelment of the jury by not signing the indemnity nor finalizing negotiations with the jury over fees and expenses, etc. First Brad [Butterworth] said all their sails were going to be built in Switzerland. Now they are saying that there is no requirement that sails be built in-country. We are trying to get that matter before the jury as you know.”
But first there must be a jury.
The Deed of Gift says the match shall be between a “yacht or vessel propelled by sails only and constructed in the country to which the Challenging Club belongs, against any one yacht or vessel constructed in the country of the Club holding the Cup.”
So I guess now we need to define “constructed.”
Nationality restrictions on sails came into the game in 1962, after the New York Yacht Club straw hats watched Gretel surge past Weatherly while flying a Ted Hood spinnaker in race two. Lacking mutual consent, and there’s been an infinite lack of mutual consent, methinks precedent opens the door to plenty of bickering in the six weeks remaining to the 33rd America’s Cup match. And given the likelihood that February in Valencia will bring us wind from the north—an offshore breeze—the 20-mile beat stipulated by the Deed of Gift for race one will take us a far piece toward Africa before we can even begin. I’m learning to love the smell of vitriol in the morning.
Note: The trimaran and wing are presently aboard a ship that has cleared the Panama Canal and is making 18 knots toward Valencia and the harbor shown below. Click for an enlarged view of the disputed moorage areas, tat for tat for tat.