Sydney Hobart: Conditions Favoring VO70s

GIACOMO, NZL70000, 72, Owner: Jim Delegat, State / Nation: N.Z, Design: Juan K Volvo 70The current race leader of the Rolex Sydney Hobart overall, the New Zealand V70 Giacomo, is confident of maintaining full speed as she closes on the Tasmanian north-east coast this afternoon with a possible ETA in Hobart of 5am.

That would place her the outright leader, but Jim Delegat’s boat would also be more than two hours inside Wild Oats XI’s 2012 race record, of one day 18hrs 23mins 12secs, though right now it looks like that record will have already been swept aside by the current line honours leader, the super maxi Perpetual LOYAL.

Anthony Bell’s Perpetual LOYAL is currently around 20 nautical miles ahead of second placed Giacomo.

“We’re feeling real good. We’re powering along,” said Giacomo’s sailing master Steve Cotton mid-afternoon.

“We’re approaching Tasmania in 20 to 24 knots of easterly wind, and the boat really likes this angle. We’re pushing really hard.”

This has been a race to order for the three V70s, Giacomo, Black Jack and Maserati, yachts designed for fast reaching and running in heavy conditions, especially the 25 knot north-easterlies on the first day.

It has been no surprise that from the get-go the V70s, as well as the 80 foot Beau Geste, have been among the super maxis. Right now Giacomo and Maserati are in between Perpetual LOYAL and fourth paced Scallywag.

“Scallywag, Black Jack, Beau Geste and Maserati are all behind our bearing line, and we’re very pleased they’re there,” Cotton says.

New Zealand owner Jim Delegat has been chasing victory in the race following his 2013 and 2014 campaigns, in which he finished sixth on line and 22nd overall to Black Jack’s fourth, and 36th overall – and dismasting off the Tasmanian coast in 2014.

Delegat’s sons, Nikolas (20) and James (18), are aboard for a second and first time respectively, James being the youngest competitor this year, having turned 18 on 11 December.

If they pull it off, they will hear the celebrations all the way back in Akarana, their spending the summer racing in Sydney seemingly paying off.

But even if everything goes to plan it will be a long wait before Giacomo will know if she has won the Tattersall’s Cup, awarded to the overall winner. First she must wait for the 50 and 60-footers to get in, but the longest wait will be for the smaller boats still on the other side of Bass Strait. They still have a lot of racing ahead of them.

“It’s up to the weather gods,” Cotton says, but from about 5am this morning, those smaller boats will know the time they have to beat.”

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The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, organized by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia with the co-operation of Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, is the ultimate test for skippers, tacticians and crews. The 2016 race is the 72nd edition of this 628 nautical mile, time-honoured and classic offshore race.

With 88 yachts competing for the Tattersall’s Cup and coveted Rolex timepiece awarded to the overall winner, this year’s contest looks set to uphold the reputation of this renowned event. The race starts at 13:00 AEDT on December 26, 2016.


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