North Sails NEWS

Story Contributors: Alby Pratt, Mark Bradford, Billy Sykes


Clients share their experiences in the 628nm race to Hobart

Clients reflect on their 628 nm race to Hobart from Sydney Australia in one of the most grueling yacht races in the world. Here’s what they had to say about the race, their crew, and their sails.

Alby Pratt- Infotrack -Juan K-100-Christian Beck Supermaxi Infotrack, formerly Loyal, was the Sydney Hobart record holder in 2016. 2017 was the first Hobart for new owner Christian Beck. The heavy running conditions did not suit the boat as well as last year’s reaching did, but a great crew lead by Tom Slingsby pushed the boat hard and kept the big black bus right up there with downwind flyers such as Wild Oats, Comanche and Black Jack. Infotrack broke her record from last year, further proof of what incredible conditions we had for the race. Look out for this boat! © Andrea Francolini
Aaron Cole – Concubine –  Mills 45 – Jason & Shevaun Ward The Concubine team enjoyed what was probably the fastest ever trip to Hobart on a 45 foot yacht: 1 day 23 hrs 19 mins for 630 miles! We had amazing conditions, three sail reaching that turned into fresh VMG running from late the first afternoon all the way to Tasman island, and then a fast reach across Storm Bay. Good sail management and some well-timed big eases on the kite sheet meant we never damaged any sails during the race, which was absolutely key to a great result. Going by the talk at the Customs House Hotel,. not many teams could say this!  Thanks to Jason, Shevaun and the team for a great ride to Hobart. © Rolex / Studio Borlenghi
Billy Sykes -Ichi Ban  TP52 -Matt Allen (cut from web article) Matt Allen, a long-time North Sails customer, first won the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race 34 years ago. In 2017, he finally repeated the achievement on Ichi Ban when they were named overall winner of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. It was a fitting honor for a boat whose name translates to “number one” in Japanese. The win this year was even sweeter considering that Matt’s new TP52 is only three months old, which always brings the opportunity for things to go wrong because gear has not been tried and tested. But we managed to put all those things behind us and come away with the win for Matt, which was a great thing. © Carlo Borlenghi / Rolex
Matiu Te Hau -Triton- LC60 – David Gotze The Triton crew had very little time on the water together, but we came together really well during the race. The new main came through some heavy air gybes at night.  A couple highlights: doing the race in under two days, passing four boats on the run up the Derwent, and sending it in 25-30kts and flat water. @Rolex/ Borlenghi Studios
Ian Johnson- Extasea -Paul Buchholz It was a great ride south on the DK 46 Extasea. The downwind boats soon left us in their wakes, but we had plenty of company with a fleet of Clipper boats shadowing us all the way to the finish. On our last night we ended up with a 25 knot southerly, testing the new heavy 3Di jib designed for ocean conditions. When the cold front quickly faded, we were becalmed off Tasman Island for several hours. I love seeing Tasman Island and it is always a highlight, though I was wishing for it to go away! Thanks to all the team and owner Paul Buchholz for a great race south. © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi
Nick Beaudoin -Patrice – Ker 46 -Tony Kirby This year’s edition of the annual Sydney to Hobart yacht race was one for the record books. Many could not believe that for a second year in a row, hard running would dominate the majority of the race. As we rounded the sea mark, the crew set our new 3Di cable-less Code Zero and triple-slotted our way south. The breeze eventually backed and we peeled to an A2, then promptly changed to the A4 as the pressure filled in and pushed hard down the south coast all night. Crossing the Strait the following day was champagne sailing, as we peeled back and forth between masthead and fractional spinnakers. Along the East Coast of Tasmania, the clouds and the sea mist rolled in and made for a stressful night of hard running. When we rounded Tasman Island at first light, we were ahead of many larger boats. The excitement soon faded along with the breeze as we slowly made our way across Storm Bay, and then up the Derwent to finish strong. Tony Kirby was overjoyed with a Division 2 win, 3rd place overall, and first in the prestigious Blue Water point score. © Andrea Francolini
Mark Bradford- Blackjack- RP100- Peter Harburg The 2017 Sydney to Hobart lived up to its nickname as “The Great Race.” Thanks to some slick crew work, boat speed and tactics, we had a fantastic start and led out of the heads. Unfortunately the first part of the race was stability sailing, giving the upper hand to Comanche and Wild Oats. A boat speed race decided the turning positions at Tasman Light. In the tricky last stages, we felt we were still close enough to the action to pull things back but fell just a bit short. A fantastic result for our team, posting the third fastest time ever and breaking the previous record. I highly recommend this race to anyone who has a keen interest in the sport of sailing and a sense of adventure….We will be back next year! © Andrea Francolini

Story Contributors

Sydney Hobart : Reflections headshot
Alby Pratt

One Design Expert, Sail Expert, Sales Manager — Sydney, Australia

Since 1988, Alby has held almost every position within the loft: sailmaker, service manager, project manager, sales consultant and sales manager. Getting a job as a sailmaker was a great way to get into competitive sailing on a full-time basis. Dealing...

Sydney Hobart : Reflections headshot
Mark Bradford

Managing Director, One Design Expert, Sail Expert — Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia Mark's One Design background is in 125's, 420's, 470's, Etchells, Star Class and Farr 40. This interest has seen him compete in 19 World Championships. He also has experience in the America's Cup working with BMW Oracle from...

Sydney Hobart : Reflections headshot
Billy Sykes

Sail Expert — Sydney, Australia

Billy started with North Sails Australia in 2001 and completed his sail making apprenticeship then moving in to the design office to help coordinate design, before progressing to sales. Billy has extensive inshore one design and offshore racing experience both...

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