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Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

Skandia takes line honours by 14 minutes from Zana

lundi 29 décembre 2003Redaction SSS [Source RP]

Grant Wharington’s Skandia collected line honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart this morning when the Australian yacht crossed the finish line just 14 minutes and 24 seconds ahead of Stewart Thwaites’ New Zealand-registered Maxi Zana. Skandia finished at 04:14:06 on Monday morning with an elapsed time of 2 days, 15 hours, 14 minutes and 6 seconds.

The 98-foot Super Maxi from Melbourne has lead the 59th edition of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s flagship race for most of the 628-mile course. Tough upwind conditions for much of the course have meant that the race record Record #sailingrecord was never in any danger, the two giant boats finishing almost 20 hours behind the reference time.

The Super Maxi pair has been locked in a match race from the start, Wharington making the first move to engage the opposition shortly before the start gun fired on Boxing Day in Sydney. The two boats have only had eyes for each other over the past two and a half days. As a result Wharington and Thwaites have often concentrated on their own personal match race leaving the way for Sean Langman’s much smaller Grundig to surprise them frequently with bold initiatives elsewhere on the course. With the leaders approaching Tasman Island, just 40 miles from the finish the wind dropped leaving no serious options left for Grundig to pass Skandia or Zana, but the line honours race was far from over.

Skandia and Zana still had plenty of fighting to do in the light winds of the early morning. At one stage the pair came to within four boat lengths of each other before a break away move by the Australian crew with a masthead Code Zero sail allowed them to slip away across Strom Bay with a slim lead.

The last ten miles of the course up the Derwent River saw the pair tacking frequently in the light and patchy breeze. The pre-dawn approach to the finish attracting a significant number of spectator boats onto the water. Just before 0415 Wharrington took the crew of Skandia into the history books by crossing the finish line ahead of everyone to the delight of a welcoming committee of family, friends, Hobart fans and media.

At the dock the crowd was entertained by the Australian humour of the victorious Skandia crew for nearly an hour. Thanking his crew for a magnificent effort Wharrington said : "628-miles is a long way to sail only to see the hardest part for the finish. We tacked I don’t know how many times in the Derwent River in the light winds. All the time we had our eyes over our shoulders watching Zana. I didn’t believe we had the race until I heard the gun fire at the line. It really could have gone either way. The crew did a magnificent job and I can’t thank them enough for this great victory."

The Rolex Sydney Hobart uses a tracking system to monitor the entire fleet, whose individual positions are collected and updated every 10 minutes and then graphically presented on the official website :

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