|SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA-(3-11-2006) The Cruising Yacht Club of Australian is delighted to announce a fleet of 85 yachts has been nominated for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Australia’s premier bluewater event. The Club has also today announced a one week extension for the lodgement of applications for entry which means the fleet size could potentially increase.
An eclectic mix of yachts built between 1932 and this year, and ranging in size from 9 metres up to 30 metres will bring Sydney Harbour alive at 1.00pm on Tuesday 26 December when this icon of Australian sport starts for the 62nd time.
An overwhelming resurgence of classic boats is a standout feature of this year’s fleet with three veteran former Overall winners, Koomooloo (1968), Love & War (1974 & 1978) and Illusion (1988), and one former line honours winner of this race, Fidelis (1966), joining other well known boats from those decades – Polaris of Belmont, Impeccable, Bacardi, Phillip’s Foote Witchdoctor, Magic and BSG on Tap.
There are many more Overall winning skippers coming back to try their luck once more sailing different boats. Of these, two time winner Lou Abrahams is preparing for his 44th consecutive race and if successful in his quest, the seventy nine year old Victorian skipper will equal the previous record set by the late John Bennetto from Tasmania.
One of the vintage boats could be successful in the 628 nautical mile chase for the ultimate prize, the Tattersall’s Cup for the IRC handicap winner, or it could be one of the more modern designs, the DK 46 Quantum Racing, the Corby 49 Flirt, the Transpac 52 Wot Yot, the latest Reichel/Pugh designed Yendys or another Beneteau receiving the accolades when the final results are announced.
The looming battle for line honours pre-eminence will once again be a stunning display of modern technology with three canting keel 30 metre maxis preparing for the Bass Strait assault.
Defending line honours and handicap winner, and race record holder, Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI is looking to rewrite history with a back to back line honours win, a rare feat last achieved by Astor in the early 1960s, but will have to outsail the same sized New Zealand maxi Maximus in its debut race south, and the highly experienced Melbourne skipper Grant Wharington and his former line honours winner Skandia.
This year there’s a new kid in town, two Volvo 70s ABN Amro and Ichi Ban, which have raced in the world’s fiercest oceans and are tested in the type of conditions that have branded this event one of the toughest yacht races in the world.
The 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet will represent the Netherlands, Canada, the UK, New Zealand and Italy as well as every Australian state and the ACT.
The CYCA Sailing Office will continue to process applications until Friday 10 November, the extended date for lodgement, with the final fleet size to be formally announced by CYCA Commodore Geoff Lavis at the official launch of the bluewater classic at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia on the morning of Tuesday 14 November 2006.
Due to the fact entrants have been extremely helpful in getting vital documentation in early, the CYCA announced today that its race administration is in a position to handle a number of possible further applications from skippers who require more time to submit their paperwork.
The first lead up regatta to the Boxing Day start will be the Rolex Trophy One Design Series from 8-10 December followed by the spectacular CYCA Big Boat Challenge on Tuesday 12 December and finally, the Rolex Trophy Rating Series, an exciting preview to the handicap form guide for the Rolex Sydney Hobart, from 14-17 December.
For the 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart, a fleet of 85 yachts started and 80 finished the 628 nautical mile race.