Helsal 3 now NSW entry for Sydney Hobart
Longtime Hobart-based ocean racing yacht Helsal 3 has now been listed as a New South Wales entry for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, reducing to just two the number of Tasmanian yachts entered for the ocean classic.
Owned and raced by the Fisher family for many years, the Adams/Barrett 20, is now listed on the Sydney Hobart website as being on the register of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, with Paul Mara as the owner.
The two Tasmanian entrants are Michael Pritchard’s state-of-the-art Cookson 50 Oskana and Magic Miles, a 62-foot cruising yacht owned by Michael Crew.
The CYCA today announced that Peter Harburg’s Black Jack marked the 50th entry received for the 2017 Rolex Sydney Hobart, adding to speculation that 73rd race will showcase the largest super maxi line-up in the history of the race.
Black Jack is the former 100ft Alfa Romeo, the first yacht to break Wild Oats XI’s line honours stranglehold when then owner Neville Crichton beat his quarry by little over 2 hours in 2009.
Crichton built an extraordinary collection of records and line honours victories with the 2005 built Alfa Romeo. She arrived for the 2009 Sydney Hobart having amassed 143 line honours abroad, before Crichton sold the yacht, which became known as Esimit Europa 2.
Enter Queensland’s Harburg, who says: “I choose proven boats over new designs.” It has worked with previous Black Jacks. But he thirsted for more, admitting, “My other yachts couldn’t keep pace with the super maxis.”
Re-launching just in time for 2017 Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast race in late July, Black Jack stopped hearts when she finished 3mins 31secs astern of Wild Oats XI – the closest finish in the history of the race.
Although yet to enter, skipper Mark Richards has affirmed the Oatley family’s record eight-time Sydney Hobart line honours champion will be on the start line, following disappointment of the last two years when the 100-footer became a casualty of the race.
Already entered is the most feared super maxi in the world – Comanche. American Jim Clark and his wife Kristy launched the boat in 2014 and tested her in the Rolex Sydney Hobart. She finished 49mins 18secs behind Wild Oats after struggling in unusually light airs in Bass Strait.
But her incredible downwind speed became apparent as the fleet were exiting Sydney Harbour. Then came record breaking line honours victories overseas before returning to Sydney in 2015 and took line honours from Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin after Wild Oats retired.
Ragamuffin was rebadged Scallywag last year when Hong Kong’s Seng Huang Lee purchased the yacht. Skipper for both owners, David ‘Witty’ Witt, took the boat to third on line, one of a trio to break Wild Oats’ 2012 race record.
Last year’s line honours victor and new record holder, Perpetual Loyal, may also be a starter. New owner, Christian Beck, is currently considering his options.
Words: Peter Campbell/Di Pearson
Photos: Andrea Francolini
26 September 2017