Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2010 started 10 hours ago, and now a hunt for video footage has begun. It is a Christmas tradition in Australia to watch the start of the race on telly, but here in UK (the other side of the globe) it is incredibly difficult to get access to any proper footage.
What I gather from news is that the start has been exciting: Wild Thing hit a stern of a media boat (which arguably should have kept clear), but fortunately she did not get damage and was able to start the race. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston is also interviewed in the same news clip.
It would be so great to see the full start sequence for education and excitement. Each race boat tries to hit the start line at full speed exactly when the gun goes off. This can be nerve-wracking or exhilarating, yet always electrifying onboard. The art of start is something one learns through experience only, however it would be magnificent to get a view on the pre-start manoeuvres of professional crew. When one is on a start line herself, there is no big picture but only the boat, countdown and the start line. Other boats are inconveniences between you and the ideal course over the start line. Afterwards one may not recognise any of the situations the other crew members tell about, for everyone focuses on sailing the boat in their own role. The big picture seems to escape everyone else but the navigator / tactician. As a bowman my eyes are always peeled on the start line transit, so I really cannot recall anything else but the nervousness when trying to see the transit through other boats sails!
The race itself is going to be taxing with the southerlies, with a current traveling the opposite direction of the wind. This will mean lumpy seas and high waves, rather reminiscent of a washing machine. A race news article explains that the first part of the race is the helmsman’s race, second part is the navigator’s race.
By Monday night, life on board will be a proverbial washing machine. The drivers’ job will be to get the boats down to Flinders Island in contact with their rivals, while keeping them in one piece. —
Once in the lee of Tasmania the second race begins: the navigators’ race. In difficult to predict conditions, they will have to make the tactical decisions that will win the Tattersalls Cup, or lose it.
“You will be able to lose the race in the first 300 miles,” says Will Oxley, the navigator of Rodd & Gunn Wedgetail, “but not win it. The second half, off Tasmania, is where the race will be won and lost. —
Ironically, while this will be the time for the navigators and tacticians to star, it is also precisely the half of the race when the boat drivers will need to lift their game an extra gear.
Cold, wet and tired after some 36 hours of drenching watches perched on the rail, crews will need to find the reserves to drive themselves and their boat just that bit harder than anyone else, putting in that extra sail change, executing maneuvers with the same precision as they do on a day’s sprint around the buoys.
“You’ve got to be 95% fighting fit on the Tasmanian coast, otherwise you’re out,” says YuuZoo skipper Ludde Ingvall.
“Managing tiredness will be a huge part of every skipper’s job in the first half of the race.”
Read the article for good insight on managing watch systems. It seems that discipline and fighting spirit are the key. Ah, how lucky! I just happen to know a minuscule Finn who fits that description, perhaps the race 2012 could be an option? (Subtlety has already escaped. Where’s my berth?)
Video Gallery / Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2010 (very slow connection – or a lot of traffic!)
Audio Gallery / Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2010
Photos from the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 2010 start:
Wild Oats XI at the turning mark during the Rolex Sydney Hobart 2010. ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi
Grant Wharington’s supermaxi Wild Thing exiting Sydney Heads. ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi
Wild Oats XI just before she encountered the southerly. ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi
Bill Wild’s Rodd & Gunn Wedgetail in open water. ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi.