North Sails NEWS

January 17, 2017

Neptune Grants Prime Conditions for 2016 Sydney – Hobart

North Sails clients reap the benefits of fastest Rolex Sydney – Hobart Yacht Race on record

The 2016 Sydney To Hobart was raced in an amazing weather pattern that allowed 3 boats to break the course record set by Wild Oats in 2012 (18 hours and 23 minutes and 12 seconds).

The year proved a successful installment for North clients as well, who claimed 1st and 2nd line honours; 1st, 2nd and 3rd in IRC and 1st and 3rd in ORCi. Early finishers were led by Anthony Bell’s Perpetual Loyal, which took line honors and slashed 4.5 hrs off the record, while Jim Delegate‘s Giacomo was granted the coveted Tattersalls Trophy for placing first in IRC, and Bin Wang’s team UBox claimed ORCi (we look forward to seeing more of this crew in the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race!).

Perpetual Loyal finally got to show her true potential after abandoning mid-race in 2013 and 2014. North Sails Expert Alby Pratt manages the sail program for the team out of the loft in Sydney and joined the crew for the race south.

”The 2016 race was fantastic. This was my 21st race and the most enjoyable conditions by far. The heavy downwind stretch we had on the first afternoon allowed us to use our massive running spinnaker to good effect. This sail was built for the boat last year to improve her achilles heel which was VMG running, and we developed a custom Cuben Fibre cloth for the project. The sail kept us within striking distance of the Oats until transitioning on the first night,” said Alby, who sailed on Wild Oats in 2015 and has overseen the sail inventories for both programs over the years.

Due to a more powerful hull shape and higher displacement, Perpetual Loyal is always at a disadvantage to her maxi competitor Wild Oats in the fresh running conditions the fleet experienced at the outset. The crew were happy to report a noted improvement while using the newly developed North Sails NPL DOWNWIND runner.

On the morning of the 27th, Perpetual Loyal showed what she could do in the moderate reaching conditions, gaining distance on Wild Oats until the yachts were a beam.  Unfortunately, around this time, Wild Oats suffered a keel ram failure and the crew were no longer able to cant the keel – a maneuver granting added righting moment, and a key component to Wild Oats’ safe and effective performance. The team was forced to abandon their charge for line honors and the new course record.

Perpetual Loyal charged on as the breeze became lighter on the afternoon of the 27th. The crew hoisted the boats new NPL DOWNWIND A3 reacher which was purpose built for this year’s race. Designed to capitalize on the boats powerful reaching ability it allowed Loyal to sail away from Scallywag and the next group of boats behind which included the fast finishing Volvo 70’s Blackjack and Maserati who were also reveling in the reaching conditions.

Loyal’s sails were designed by JB Braun, who is based in Massachusetts, USA and designs many high-profile projects for North Sails including super maxi Comanche, the latest J-Cass performance inventory, and sits on the Aero design group for ORACLE Team USA. JB worked closely with Alby and Loyal’s Sailing Master on Perpetual Loyal, Tony Mutter, to design a sail that would push the boat’s reaching ability to maximum advantage.

By dusk on the 27th the breeze had swung aft, enough to hoist the A2 running sail for the last stretch into Tasman light. “Perfect conditions up the Derwent was icing on the cake, we had an amazing race,” said Alby

Jim Delegat and his New Zealand team on Giacomo were second over the line holding off the much bigger Scallywag and taking out IRC honors. Giacomo also flew North Sails 3Di sails with Richard Bicknell from North Sails in New Zealand among the crew.

Bin Wang’s U box was a late campaign for the race and her victory in ORCi is a fantastic result for the team. U Box was led by Charles Caudrelier of Dongfeng Racing, who took the opportunity to trial and train with crew for the Volvo Ocean Race, starting this October in Alicante, Spain. U Box had a new North Sails 3Di RAW mainsail and 3Di ENDURANCE headsails, fitted days earlier on Christmas Eve. North Sails Expert Billy Sykes managed the sail order for U Box and, after sending them off, hopped on board Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban which took 3rd in IRC.

Ichi Ban also reveled in the fresh running conditions and at the entrance to Storm Bay was leading the IRC standings. Unfortunately for Matt and his team including round-the-world veteran Gordon Maguire, the notoriously fickle Storm Bay did not want to play and they could only watch as the distance they had gained evaporated with the breeze.

No doubt, the 2016 Rolex Sydney-Hobart course record will be broken in the future as faster and faster boats are designed and built every year. The conditions in 2016 were ideal for high-speed ocean sailing – and the competitors jumped off the line to reap the benefits. The big question is, how long will we wait for King Neptune to grant these prime conditions again? Time will tell, and we’ll be ready!


Images © Andrea Francolini / North Sails

Bin Wang’s U box secured victory in ORCi while training for October’s Volvo Ocean Race.

Anthony Bell’s record-setting Perpetual Loyal races downwind off the start past Sydney Heads.

The crew executes a sail change on the bow of Giacomo before claiming 1st in IRC and receiving the 2016 Tattersalls Trophy.

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