|SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA-(15-12-2006) Yesterday the three Tasmanian yachts contesting the 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart set sail for Sydney to prepare for the Boxing Day bluewater classic in 11 days time.
Mark Ballard's Fruit, David Rees and Craig Escott's Creative Intension and Dr Tony Fisher's Helsal IV will stay in constant contact across Bass Strait for safety reasons and are expected to take up to five days to complete the delivery. The crews are taking a relaxed approach to the delivery to ensure their yachts will be ship shape for the Boxing Day start.
A large number of the race crews traditionally deliver their boats to Sydney in order to prepare themselves for the challenges that can occur in offshore yachting.
Both Fruit and Creative Intension have recently enjoyed strong performances in the Rolex Sydney Hobart qualifying Maria Is Race with a second and third across the line respectively. This year’s Maria Island Race was sailed in very trying conditions with the fleet buffeted by a 50 knot southerly at Tasman Island, conditions that could once again prevail in late December.
Both boats also performed very well on IRC handicap, reversing their line honours results with Creative Intension claiming second overall and Fruit third.
Dr Fisher’s Helsal IV has endured a very different build up. After recently arriving from Europe, the 60 foot cruising yacht has undergone a major refurbishment.
“We have to make sure the air conditioners work,” Fisher joked at a recent function held at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. But the crew of Helsal IV are keen to produce a very strong showing on the trip south.
Co-skipper and project manager of Creative Intension, David Rees, is looking forward to finally getting back Sydney once again, soaking up the atmosphere at the CYCA after a four year absence from the Rolex Sydney Hobart.
“I love catching up with familiar faces and ‘old rivals’ over a beer while everyone tries tp work out what the weather is going to do, everyone with their own thoughts about it,” said David.
“A major goal for our crews is to have the honour of being the first Tasmanian boat home and we all believe we are in with a shot given the right conditions.”
Craig ‘Esky’ Escott of Creative Intension believes “local knowledge of the Tasmania’s east coast and Storm Bay will play a vital role in our overall result, even the final 12 miles up the River Derwent can make a massive difference in the 628 nautical mile course.”
When the three boats arrive in Sydney they will be stripped completely and only the bare essentials will be put back on board, including a large amount of mandatory safety gear.
The racing sails will replace the older sails used for the delivery trips and all unwanted gear will be loaded into a shipping container at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia which will meet the fleet at the race finish in Hobart.
Creative Intension will have regular updates of the crew’s progress up the East Coast of Australia on their campaign website www.saileski.com