Please select your home edition
Pinnell & Bax 201709 728x90

New Ichi Ban benchmark for Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

by Di Pearson, RSHYR Media on 18 Oct 26 December 2017
The new Ichi Ban on the water © David Brogan /

A double win in her opening race has Matt Allen's brand new Ichi Ban firming up as a favourite for the upcoming Rolex Sydney Hobart when the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's 628 nautical mile race starts on Boxing Day.

After blitzing the field in the 200 nautical mile Newcastle Bass Island Race on Saturday, beating her nearest rival Celestial (Sam Haynes' TP52) over the line and overall by over one hour, a cautious Allen said of his new Botin designed TP52, "I'm obviously pleased with the boat's performance in its first race."

Ichi Ban finished in 23 hours 16mins 24secs, not too far outside the race record Allen created with his Carkeek 60 of 20 hours 52mins 49secs the inaugural race in 2014.

"The Newcastle Bass Island was really good timing for us to get a tough race under our belts at this juncture," Allen said. "It gave us a really good test early on; we can see the issues that need to be addressed. We came away with a reasonable list of things to do, mainly secondary issues, so that was really pleasing."

Allen, who recently sold his former TP52, Ichi Ban, and has his Carkeek 60 of the same name available for charter for the race, explained: "We're using our existing mast, so we've cut one variable out of the equation. We're used to sailing with that rig, so 50 percent of the work of a new boat is done."

However, as the president of Australian Sailing pointed out, "it's just one race – we've still got a few more to do before Boxing Day."

And he is well aware that as well as taking on the fleet as a whole, there will also be a number of other TP52's in the equation for the 73rd Sydney Hobart. One has won the race twice – as Quest (Bob Steel) in 2008 and as Balance (Paul Clitheroe) in 2015. This year she will race as Quest again.

"We rate a bit higher than the other TP52s, so we've configured the boat to go fast, but we still have to beat the others," Allen conceded.

"We haven't seen Balance out of late, but that will be the TP52 to beat. They always do exceptionally well and have won the race before. When the going gets tough, their hull is configured to suit that.

"Celestial, Koa and others are sailing at a much higher level these days after spending more time on the water and making changes," he admitted of the two's recent performances. Koa (Andy Kearnan/Peter Wrigley) recently took the treble of record, line and overall honours in the Flinders Islet Race, while Celestial currently leads the CYCA's Blue Water Pointscore.

Outside of the TP52's, opposition will come from larger contemporaries such as Rupert Henry's JV62, Chinese Whisper and older models like the 2015 and 2017 Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race winner, Komatsu Azzurro. The 36 year-old S&S 34 owned by Shane Kearns also came close to toppling Balance in the 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart.

Entries for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race close at 1700 hours on Friday 27 October, 2017, leaving little over one week for prospective entrants to sign on.

The Boxing Day start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be broadcast live on the Seven Network throughout Australia.

Online entry and Notice of Race in English and Mandarin are available online at

Related Articles

Exceptional fleet set
For 73rd Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race The 73rd Rolex Sydney Hobart promises much, with 107 yachts currently scheduled to cross the start line in Sydney Harbour at 13.00 (AEDT) on 26 December. Posted on 23 Nov
CB2000 transforms your Icom radio
Into a Class B AIS Transponder Icom UK is pleased to introduce the CB2000 AIS transponder unit which transforms the ICOM IC-M506EURO and IC-M605EURO to VHF/DSC radios complete with Class B AIS transponders. Posted on 23 Nov
Diverse fleet, one goal
In the RORC Transatlantic Race Departing from Marina Lanzarote at noon on the 25th November, a record 23 yachts will compete in the 2017 RORC Transatlantic Race - the first leg of the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta. Posted on 22 Nov
Record RORC fleet ready in Marina Lanzarote
For the 4th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race The start of 4th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race - the first leg of the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta - is just a few days away and crews from the record fleet are making their last preparations prior to the 3,000 mile race. Posted on 21 Nov
Medway YC Autumn Series Race 4
Dodging the flood tide on a cold, bright morning A West-North-West wind failed to provide a "Hitchcock style" thriller for crews competing in race 4 of the Pirates Cave sponsored Medway YC Cruiser Autumn Series. Posted on 20 Nov
Fleet building for 10th RORC Caribbean 600
Over 40 yachts now officially entered Over 40 yachts have officially entered the 10th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600. The entry list already boasts a huge variety of yachts from mighty maxis and multihulls, to a vast array of racing and cruising yachts. Posted on 18 Nov
Medway YC Autumn Series Race 3
Should the helmsman take responsibility for hitting a mark? Race 3 of the "Pirates Cave" sponsored MYC Cruiser Autumn Series was held on Remembrance Sunday, which delivered bright skies and a NW / NNW building breeze, ranging from a low base of 17 knots and gusting to 27+ knots. Posted on 14 Nov
Hamble Winter Series day 6
Testing conditions in the Solent with gusts nearly 30 knots Competitors for Day 6 of the Hamble Winter Series, supported by Force 4 Chandlery, experienced testing conditions in the Solent, with a mean wind speed of 24 knots from the northwest, and gusts close to 30 knots. Posted on 13 Nov
Henri Lloyd Winter Product Guide
Warmth and protection combined with agility Today's technical sailing apparel has been designed to offer the essential warmth you require when winter boating. Modern day technical clothing solutions can offer high levels of warmth and protection and still allow you the move ability you require. Posted on 13 Nov
CYCA Cabbage Tree Island Race
Black Jack powers across the line first Just months after purchasing the boat, Zoe Taylor's Cookson 12, G.O., took the win in Race 4 of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's prestigious Blue Water Pointscore – the Cabbage Tree Island Race - topping IRC, ORCI and PHS divisions. Posted on 13 Nov