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SW Asia newsletter - the dash to Hobart

by Guy Nowell, Asia Editor 28 Dec 2018 10:51 GMT 26-30 Decenber 2019
Bruce Taylor, Chutzpah. RSHR 2005. Are we there yet? © Guy Nowell

At 16.35 Hong Kong time today 28 December 2018, Bruce Taylor’s Chutzpah is leading IRC Overall for the Tatersalls Cup in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. Again. They were in front, then they were behind, then... It’s been a roller coaster of a ride and I would guess has provoked more armchair interest in the race than ever before. The General Public (bless ‘em) think that Wild Oats XI has ‘won’ the race because they finished first, but the rest of us know that the handicap win of worth a ton more than the Line Honours.

Mind you, with no fewer than five 100ft supermaxis on the start line (and four remaining at the end), even the scrap for Line Honours was a nail-biter. Comanche, Wild Oats XI, Black Jack and Infotrack were all just a couple of miles apart on the outside of Tasman Island, and then the wily foxes on WOXI, with Juan Vila calling the shots from the navigator’s seat, eased into a lead and just never looked back.

The next fight was between sister ships Alive (Phil Turner) and Wild Oats X, the all-ladies crew skippered by Stacey Jackson and packed to the gunnels with top names from all over the world. In the end it was Alive by 13 mins, but skipper Duncan Hine now has his neck in a brace having been looking over his shoulder for the last 638 nm.

The more you know, and the more people you know, the more interesting the game. Bruce Taylor has turned right out of The Heads 38 times now, and his son Drew, a Hong Kong resident (think Ambush) 26 times. They’ve been second overall, and they have won their division, but never laid hands on the big one. The previous Chutzpah won the Tattersalls Cup the year after Taylor sold it, and if that isn’t miserable luck I don’t know what is. As per usual they have ‘Fletch’ on board, fresh from a squeaky victory at the Raja Muda on Mandrake III.

Matt Allen was a perennial Asia regatta competitior for several years – Ichiban. Ray Roberts (Hollywood Boulevard) won the Phuket King’s Cup earlier this month. Larry Jamieson has collected more Asia Miles this last year delivering various Scallywags around the region, and is racing on Koa. Larry has the distinction of having won the Sydney Hobart Race under IOR, CHS, IMS and IRC – but he’s had 33 goes at it, and this is number 34. Jonno Rankine (HKG) is sailing on Envy Scooters, and Jason Rowed is on Patrice. There are two mainland China entries out there – Apsaras (Li Jian, registered HKG but representing Seven Star Yacht Club, Shenzhen) and Noahs II (Ting Lee) skippered by another familiar face, Steve McConaghy. It’s good to see so many ‘Asian’ names popping up in connection with one of the world’s top races.

And now (18.20) Alive has finished and is IRC Leader, and Chutzpah is relegated to 12th overall. The roller coaster continues.

In other news… oh, sorry, the dash to Hobart seems to have taken over just about all the news space in the sailing world!

Wishing the RSHR competitors, and sailors everywhere, fair winds and sunny skies for 2019. And, as usual, standing by on 72.

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