Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race – Loki announced handicap winner

LOKI, Stephen Ainsworth - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2011
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki was announced the handicap winner at 8:40 this morning (local time).

At a presentation on board their white four year old Reichel Pugh 63 footer, Ainsworth and his crew were presented with a Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece by Patrick Boutellier of Rolex Australia and the much coveted Tattersall’s Cup, for winning IRC handicap honours, by Garry Linacre, Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, and Graham Taplin, Commodore of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.

Stephen Ainsworth accepting the Tattersall's Cup and Yacht-Master timepiece from Patrick Boutellier (Rolex Australia) and Commodores Graham Taplin (RYCT) and Garry Linacre (CYCA).

'We are elated, it is a fantastic feeling, a huge thrill to win this race,' said a jubilant Ainsworth. 'Having done 14 races, I know how hard it is to win this race. I have been trying for a long time. So many things have to go right for you and the wind gods were with us. Our race went extremely well. The aim for the navigators was to avoid stopping and we successfully did that, although we came close a couple of times. Look at what happened to Wild Oats XI - that could easily have happened to us.'

The present Loki was launched three years ago after Ainsworth’s previous boat was lost after she was abandoned in severe conditions when her rudder broke during the 2007 Rolex Middle Sea. The new boat was built for offshore racing and specifically to win the Rolex Sydney Hobart. This was Ainsworth and his crew’s fourth attempt in the latest Loki.

Ainsworth and Loki are one of the most successful teams racing in Australia at present. Last year they won the Australian IRC Championship, the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race and this year Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. Personally, this month Ainsworth was voted the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s joint Ocean Racer of the Year.

Loki crew are presented with Tattersall's Cup and Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece by Patrick Boutellier (Rolex Australia) and Commodores Graham Taplin (RYCT) and Garry Linacre (CYCA).

Typically they sail offshore with 18 crew and of these only one third are professional, led by Irish Volvo Ocean Race veteran, Gordon Maguire. On board typically Maguire helms while Ainsworth trims the main sheet. The other pros on board for the Rolex Sydney Hobart included other much capped round the world race sailors Anthony Merrington, Jeff Scott and sailmaker Alby Pratt, while a regular with Ainsworth is his long term navigator Michael Bellingham.

However, Maguire points out that many of their ‘amateur’ crew are among the most talented sailors in Australia. 'We have really good sailors from all walks of life. It is more rewarding when you line up against fully pro crews.'

For the Rolex Sydney Hobart this year, Loki was fitted with a new, bigger mainsail and for the first time they had an on board weather expert to assist Bellingham in the form of British navigator Will Best.

Overall Handicap Winner, LOKI, Stephen Ainsworth - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2011

According to Maguire, during the race they were always in contention, but down the east coast of Tasmania the 100ft maxis had stretched away. 'They were getting out to 120 miles in front of us and at that distance it was hard to stay in touch on handicap. But they parked up at Tasman Island and that brought us right back into them. We took 60 miles out of them that morning. So the handicap win came when the big boats parked up. We were always very confident that we had time on the boats behind us, particularly with how the weather patterns were going to shape up from halfway down the east coast to the finish.'

Ainsworth said Loki would return to the Rolex Sydney Hobart next year to defend her title.

Meanwhile for today’s finishers the pace had distinctly slowed. Over 11 and a half hours, last night and into this morning, just one boat arrived as the water turned to glass on Storm Bay and the Derwent River leading up to Hobart.

Darryl Hodgkinson, skipper of the Beneteau First 45 Victoire summed it up best: 'I thought it was going to be carbon copy of last year’s where we sat in the Derwent. This year we actually camped in Derwent! The last miles from the Tasman Light to the finish typically takes six to seven hours, on this occasion it took 15.

AFR MIDNIGHT RAMBLER, Ed Psaltis - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2011

Ed Psaltis, co-owner of AFR Midnight Rambler arrived in Hobart suffering from an infected arm and unhappy with their performance. 'It was very disappointing, our race. We made a few wrong choices. Entering Bass Strait we were in good shape against all the opposition and doing well overall, but we found a hole [in the wind] bigger that anyone else did and we sat there for six hours going nowhere. We also had northerly, adverse current in Bass Strait so we did very well going the wrong way.'

Between two scheds AFR Midnight Rambler lost 25 miles, but once the wind turned favourable and they could set the kite on their new Ker 40, they managed to make up the deficit. Then they too had a slow finish. 'It was probably the slowest passage I’ve had from Tasman Light to the finish – and this is a pretty quick boat. But that’s how it is,' said Psaltis. 'Next year it will be a lot better than it was this year.'

Jessica Watson and the Ella Bache crew arrive in Hobart - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2011

This afternoon the marina of Constitution Dock was packed five deep with spectators waiting patiently for the arrival of 18 year-old Australian solo sailor Jessica Watson. Since 2010 when she became the youngest person ever to have completed a singlehanded voyage non-stop around the world, Watson has become a media sensation in Australia.
In this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Watson achieved her ambition to lead the youngest crew ever to compete in the race. She and her seven crew - among them fellow youth solo round the world sailor, Britain’s Mike Perham – raced in the Sydney 38 class aboard the pink hulled Ella Baché Another Challenge.

'It was really, really good, everything you would expect,' said Watson upon her arrival. 'We had three quite bouncy nights on the nose. We didn’t see any severe conditions, but there was some pretty uncomfortable stuff for quite a while there.'

Having previously sailed on her own, Watson was full of praise for her crew. 'The crew were awesome. It was the best sailing we’ve ever seen them do. It’s what we have been training for and they did exactly that. Everyone did an amazing job. All credit to them – I just held on for the ride.'

Her round the world voyage also didn’t involve competition, something which she seems to have relished in this Rolex Sydney Hobart. 'The last leg in was amazing, some really close racing with the Sydney 38 fleet, changing positions all the time. Then to come in second was just awesome. It was as good as anyone could hope for. We had a really close battle with The Goat.' She added: 'The race wouldn’t have been the same if we didn’t have that close boat-on-boat racing.' Watson was especially pleased to have beaten their coaches, sailing on Deloitte As One.

Kiss Goodbye to MS - Rolex Sydney Hobart 2011
Michael Kai Photography

Since lunch time, boats have been flooding into Hobart, with 26 arriving between 13:23 (local time) and the latest arrival at 17:24 of Tony Warren’s Kiss Goodbye to MS, the 49th finisher. 28 boats remain still racing with John Bankart’s Eressea, bringing up the rear, some 137 miles from the finish.

Standings at race time 04:08:40 - 30 December 2011, 9:40pm
1Investec LoyalFinished  02:06:14:18  11.6        
Anthony Bell (2) NSW  28 Dec, 7:14pm   
2Wild Oats XIFinished  02:06:17:26  11.6        
Mark Richards (9) NSW  28 Dec, 7:17pm   
3LahanaFinished  02:12:34:26  10.4        
Peter Millard (2) NSW  29 Dec, 1:34am   
4LokiFinished  02:14:20:38  10.1        
Stephen Ainsworth (13) NSW  29 Dec, 3:20am   
5Hugo BossFinished  02:16:38:38  9.7        
Alex Thomson (2) UK  29 Dec, 5:38am   
6Living DollFinished  02:19:46:05  9.3        
Michael Hiatt (6) VIC  29 Dec, 8:46am   
7Ichi BanFinished  02:19:58:00  9.2        
Matt Allen (22) NSW  29 Dec, 8:58am   
8CalmFinished  02:23:42:55  8.8        
Jason Van der Slot (6) VIC  29 Dec, 12:42pm   
9JazzFinished  02:23:53:56  8.7        
Chris Bull (4) NSW  29 Dec, 12:53pm   
10RagamuffinFinished  03:00:04:42  8.7        
Syd Fischer (42) NSW  29 Dec, 1:04pm   
11Scarlet RunnerFinished  03:03:10:44  8.4        
Robert Date (3) VIC  29 Dec, 4:10pm   
12BrindabellaFinished  03:03:27:00  8.3        
Jim Cooney (1) NSW  29 Dec, 4:27pm   
13Cougar IIFinished  03:05:37:32  8.1        
Anthony Lyall (10) TAS  29 Dec, 6:37pm   
14ShogunFinished  03:06:27:56  8.0        
Rob Hanna (5) VIC  29 Dec, 7:27pm   
15Southern ExcellenceFinished  03:08:15:18  7.8        
Andrew Wenham (5) NSW  29 Dec, 9:15pm   
16StrewthFinished  03:09:25:50  7.7        
Geoff Hill (14) Hong Kong  29 Dec, 10:25pm   
17VampFinished  03:13:48:55  7.3        
Peter Wrigley NSW  30 Dec, 2:48am   
18Optimus PrimeFinished  03:22:50:52  6.6        
Trevor Taylor (3) WA  30 Dec, 11:50am   
19Knee DeepFinished  03:22:51:23  6.6        
Philip Childs (4) WA  30 Dec, 11:51am   
20VictoireFinished  03:22:52:47  6.6        
Darryl Hodgkinson (1) NSW  30 Dec, 11:52am   
21MeritFinished  03:22:55:28  6.6        
Leo Rodriguez (3) QLD  30 Dec, 11:55am   
22AFR Midnight RamblerFinished  03:22:58:15  6.6        
Ed Psaltis (30) NSW  30 Dec, 11:58am   
23BalanceFinished  03:23:06:31  6.6        
Paul Clitheroe (4) NSW  30 Dec, 12:06pm   
24ChutzpahFinished  04:00:23:37  6.5        
Bruce Taylor (30) VIC  30 Dec, 1:23pm   
25Ocean AffinityFinished  04:00:35:52  6.5        
Stewart Lewis (6) QLD  30 Dec, 1:35pm   
26NSC MahligaiFinished  04:00:56:06  6.5        
Murray Owen (5) NSW  30 Dec, 1:56pm   
27MinervaFinished  04:00:59:33  6.5        
Edward Cox (1) NSW  30 Dec, 1:59pm   
28Cadibarra 8Finished  04:01:00:14  6.5        
Paul Roberts (8) VIC  30 Dec, 2:00pm   
29WasabiFinished  04:01:09:20  6.5        
Bruce McKay (2) NSW  30 Dec, 2:09pm   
30St JudeFinished  04:01:12:42  6.5        
Noel Cornish (4) NSW  30 Dec, 2:12pm   
31Patrice SixFinished  04:01:17:23  6.5        
Tony Kirby (27) NSW  30 Dec, 2:17pm   
32Last TangoFinished  04:01:25:09  6.4        
Phillip King (14) NSW  30 Dec, 2:25pm   
33Two TrueFinished  04:01:26:02  6.4        
Andrew Saies (6) SA  30 Dec, 2:26pm   
34TSA ManagementFinished  04:01:31:55  6.4        
Tony Levett (6) NSW  30 Dec, 2:31pm   
35Dump TruckFinished  04:01:32:03  6.4        
Justin Wells (4) TAS  30 Dec, 2:32pm   
36Lunchtime LegendFinished  04:01:36:51  6.4        
Robbo Robertson (10) QLD  30 Dec, 2:36pm   
37Ella BacheFinished  04:02:12:58  6.4        
Jessica Watson NSW  30 Dec, 3:12pm   
38The GoatFinished  04:02:16:41  6.4        
Bruce Foye (11) NSW  30 Dec, 3:16pm   
39Jazz PlayerFinished  04:02:24:57  6.4        
Andrew Lawrence (2) VIC  30 Dec, 3:24pm   
40Wild RoseFinished  04:02:26:28  6.4        
R Hickman (34) NSW  30 Dec, 3:26pm   
41DodoFinished  04:02:39:57  6.4        
Adrian Dunphy (9) NSW  30 Dec, 3:39pm   
42PapillonFinished  04:02:42:35  6.4        
Phil Molony (21) NSW  30 Dec, 3:42pm   
43Deloitte As OneFinished  04:02:43:47  6.4        
Chris Lewin (4) NSW  30 Dec, 3:43pm   
44L'ange De MilonFinished  04:02:45:15  6.4        
Jacques Pelletier (1) France  30 Dec, 3:45pm   
45WhistlerFinished  04:02:52:44  6.4        
David Rees (14) TAS  30 Dec, 3:52pm   
46IcefireFinished  04:03:19:43  6.3        
Peter Tucker NSW  30 Dec, 4:19pm   
47One For The RoadFinished  04:03:24:41  6.3        
Kym Butler (3) NSW  30 Dec, 4:24pm   
48The BansheeFinished  04:04:06:53  6.3        
Corinne Feldmann (1) & Rob Francis (4) NSW  30 Dec, 5:06pm   
49Kiss Goodbye to MSFinished  04:04:24:04  6.3        
Tony Warren (3) VIC  30 Dec, 5:24pm   
50QuetzalcoatlFinished  04:05:27:38  6.2        
Antony Sweetapple (8) NSW  30 Dec, 6:27pm   
51Patrice IVFinished  04:05:31:34  6.2        
Shane Wiseman SA  30 Dec, 6:31pm   
52WillyamaFinished  04:06:11:38  6.1        
Richard Barron (10) NSW  30 Dec, 7:11pm   
53MondoFinished  04:06:17:53  6.1        
Ray Sweeney (2) QLD  30 Dec, 7:17pm   
54SweethartFinished  04:06:37:42  6.1        
Laurence Pidgeon (4) QLD  30 Dec, 7:37pm   
55CarinaFinished  04:06:42:27  6.1        
Rives Potts USA  30 Dec, 7:42pm   
56Mille SabordsFinished  04:06:48:14  6.1        
Stephane Howarth (1) VIC  30 Dec, 7:48pm   
57LMR SolarFinished  04:07:30:30  6.1        
Michael Martin (3) NSW  30 Dec, 8:30pm   
58Outrageous FortuneFinished  04:07:44:38  6.1        
Quintin Fowler New Zealand  30 Dec, 8:44pm   
59Menace42° 57' S 147° 23' E 4.8  5.3  0  04:09:27:15  6.0        
Niven James (1) NSW3nm S of John Garrow Shoal  30 Dec, 10:27pm   
60Shepherd Centre42° 57' S 147° 23' E 4.8  5.5  0  04:09:26:33  6.0        
Hugh Torode (3) NSW3nm S of John Garrow Shoal  30 Dec, 10:26pm   
61Flying Fish Arctos43° 00' S 147° 23' E 7.2  4.3  351  04:09:51:04  5.9        
John Naylor NSW4nm N of Iron Pot  30 Dec, 10:51pm   
62Samurai Jack43° 00' S 147° 23' E 7.5  5.2  348  04:09:50:37  5.9        
Michael Lazzarini (1) QLD4nm N of Iron Pot  30 Dec, 10:50pm   
63Martela43° 09' S 147° 35' E 20.4  2.3  338  04:13:07:34  5.8        
Anthony Williams (4) TAS9nm SE of Iron Pot  31 Dec, 2:07am   
64Copernicus43° 12' S 147° 40' E 25.2  5.2  307  04:13:20:16  5.7        
Greg Zyner (4) NSW6nm NW of Cape Raoul  31 Dec, 2:20am   
65Wave Sweeper43° 15' S 147° 46' E 30.8  6.1  290  04:14:08:29  5.7        
Andrey Arbuzov (1) NSW1nm SW of Cape Raoul  31 Dec, 3:08am   
66Nutcracker43° 15' S 147° 46' E 30.9  6.6  283  04:14:11:55  5.7        
Robert Davis / David Clancy VIC1nm SW of Cape Raoul  31 Dec, 3:11am   
67Chancellor43° 16' S 147° 52' E 34.8  5.1  270  04:15:29:25  5.6        
Ted Tooher (6) NSW4nm SE of Cape Raoul  31 Dec, 4:29am   
68Bacardi43° 19' S 147° 54' E 37.5  5.1  227  04:16:39:43  5.6        
Martin Power (9) VIC6nm SE of Cape Raoul  31 Dec, 5:39am   
69Kioni43° 11' S 148° 05' E 45.4  5.6  205  04:17:11:16  5.6        
Rowan McColl (5) NSW5nm NE of Tasman Island  31 Dec, 6:11am   
70Fullynpushing43° 04' S 148° 10' E 53.3  3.4  219  04:19:54:06  5.4        
Andrew Griffiths VIC13nm NE of Tasman Island  31 Dec, 8:54am   
71She43° 04' S 148° 11' E 54.0  3.3  223  04:19:31:30  5.4        
Peter Rodgers (16) NSW13nm NE of Tasman Island  31 Dec, 8:31am   
72Aurora43° 01' S 148° 09' E 55.3  4.6  185  04:19:27:23  5.4        
Jim Holley (23) NSW15nm NE of Tasman Island  31 Dec, 8:27am   
73Natelle Two42° 57' S 148° 06' E 58.5  6.5  185  04:17:01:27  5.6        
Laura Roper TAS18nm N of Tasman Island  31 Dec, 6:01am   
74Not Negotiable42° 39' S 148° 22' E 79.7  6.6  201  04:19:47:00  5.4        
John Rayner TAS9nm E of Maria Island  31 Dec, 8:47am   
75Nemesis42° 38' S 148° 54' E 94.3  9.1  212  04:20:38:36  5.4        
Jeffery Taylor (1) USA30nm SE of Cape Sonnerat  31 Dec, 9:38am   
76Maluka Of Kermandie42° 23' S 148° 42' E 100.9  8.3  206  04:21:54:00  5.3        
Peter Langman NSW16nm E of Cape Sonnerat  31 Dec, 10:54am   
77Eressea42° 15' S 148° 40' E 106.8  8.6  218  04:21:52:30  5.3        
John Bankart (4) QLD15nm E of Cape Sonnerat  31 Dec, 10:52am   
 Accenture Yeah BabyRetired - at Port          
Marc Ryckmans (5) NSW     
 AlacrityRetired - at Port          
Chris Percy QLD     
 Alchemy IIIRetired - at Port          
Jarrod Ritchie (1) TAS     
 CelestialRetired - at Port          
Sam Haynes (1) NSW     
 ColorTileRetired - at Port          
Warren Buchan (1) NSW     
 DuendeRetired - at Port          
Damien Parkes (24) NSW     
 ElektraRetired - at Port          
Peter Gregory NSW     
 Ffreefire 52Retired - at Port          
Anthony Day Hong Kong     
 IllusionRetired - at Port          
Christopher Bowling (17) NSW     
 Pretty Fly IIIRetired - at Port          
Colin Woods (5) NSW     
 Wild ThingRetired - at Port          
Grant Wharington (23) QLD             

KNEE DEEP and albatross catch the sunset off Tasman Island - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2011

MERIT and OPTIMUS PRIME meet off Tasman Island - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2011

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race website