Giacomo wins 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart


Jim Delegat’s New Zealand yacht Giacomo is the overall winner of the 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart. For Delegat and his crew, this is a triumph of persistence and teamwork with a distinct family touch.

“It’s unreal,” explained Delegat shortly after victory was confirmed. “The Rolex Sydney Hobart is such a challenging, high profile event. To win is beyond one’s wildest dreams. It’s incredible.”

Delegat’s Volvo 70 was the second yacht to arrive in Hobart in the early hours of Wednesday morning finishing the 628-nm race a little under two hours after line honours winner and race record breaker Perpetual LOYAL. Her elapsed time of 1 day, 15 hours, 27 minutes, 5 seconds was well within the previous race record set by Wild Oats XI in 2012. In itself an outstanding performance.

Then came the crowning achievement, overall victory on handicap.

“We determined very quickly that the first 18-20 hours was going to be the crucial part of winning our race,” added Delegat. “We went out wide in the strong breezes and had some terrific reaching conditions. We made Tasman Light (Island) in good time and then the whole thing was about getting through Storm Bay and up the (Derwent) River and we arrived in Hobart just in time as the breeze faded away.”

Conditions had played in Giacomo’s favour and, even after finishing the race, the weather pattern continued to be kind.

Kind for Giacomo yet cruel for the crews pursuing her corrected time who experienced a complete wind shutdown either in Storm Bay or along the Derwent River. The latter, the 11-mile stretch of water which takes the Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet from Storm Bay to the finish line in Hobart, has crushed the dreams of many sailors throughout the history of the race. With the fleet struggling for breeze and only trickling into Hobart, victory was Giacomo’s.

Delegat and his crew were rewarded for their exploits earlier today with the Tattersall’s Cup and a specially engraved Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 40. She becomes the first overseas entry to win the Rolex Sydney Hobart since American Roger Sturgeon’s Rosebud in 2007.

It is reward for Giacomo’s persistence, both given her recent history in the race and the relentless fashion in which she sailed from Sydney. This is her third Rolex Sydney Hobart. On her most recent attempt in 2014 she was forced to abandon the race.

“We had a wonderful 2013 and a heartbreaking 2014,” explains Delegat. “We lost our mast off the Tasmanian coast. It was soul-destroying and a personal loss for the crew. It was difficult in the next months to get over.”

After a year rebuilding Giacomo, the crew returned for the 72nd edition determined to recover from that disappointment.

Delegat’s crew comprises his two sons, Nikolas, 20, and James, 18, the youngest sailor in this year’s race. Another family nod is provided by the boat’s name – a tribute to Delegat’s great-grandfather. The crew also comprised experienced Rolex Sydney Hobart campaigner Steve Cotton, boat captain, together with Italian navigator Francesco Mongelli, part of that ill-fated 2014 attempt.

“Beating the old record and winning overall is the best possible race you can expect. Winning this race is like graduating in your profession,” explained Mongelli. “The crew worked relentlessly from beginning to the end to get the best out of the boat. In every meteorological situation we found ourselves in, the crew worked excellently to ensure the boat reacted in real time.”

Mongelli paid further tribute to the excellent teamwork onboard, always a fundamental ingredient of any Rolex Sydney Hobart success. “This crew have the perfect qualities for this type of race. I have never seen a group of people with such a strong experience of sailing together.”

Anthony Bell’s Perpetual LOYAL claimed line honours and broke the race record at the Rolex Sydney Hobart in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Her time was 1 day, 13 hours, 31 minutes and 20 seconds, almost five hours faster than the previous race record.

At 15:00 local time, 42 of the 88-strong fleet had arrived in Hobart. There had been five retirements.

Rolex has been Title Sponsor of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race since 2002.

Highlights of the 2016 race can be found on the Rolex Yachting YouTube channel.

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