Hobart draws big interest
Entries for the 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht race have exceeded expectations. The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia was forecasting an 80-strong fleet, but the final count numbers 97 yachts. The show of support includes five super maxis, 22 international entries, 15 new boats and 36 first-timers. Defending triple-crown holder Wild Oats XI (Bob Oatley) will be going head to head with Loyal (Anthony Bell) for line honours. But Ragamuffin 100 (Syd Fischer) and Wild Thing (Grant Wharington) will be in the chase. The 22 international entries hail from New Zealand, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Caledonia, Germany and, a first, Cyprus. The Clipper Round the World Race fleet of a dozen identical 70ft yachts joins the Rolex Sydney Hobart for the first time this year, too. A certain spectacular from 1pm, December 26, on Sydney Harbour. The fleet will set sail from two start-lines off Nielsen Park, Vaucluse.
Faceboat for Hobart
Sailors with disABILITES has launched an innovative fund-raiser for this year's Sydney to Hobart yacht race. The Faceboat campaign allows members of the public to upload a photo of themselves or a loved one (dog or cat permitted) to its site for $25. From here, the image will be printed on the side of their Sydney to Hobart racing yacht. More than 230 images have been uploaded thus far, but there's still more than 3600 spots left to fill. Sailors with disABILITES started competing in the Sydney to Hobart in 1995 and has missed just one race since, winning its division and on handicap in the fatal 1998 race. See faceboat.org.au
Bluebottles and jellyfish
Bluebottles aka Portuguese Man of War trumpet summer. The dreaded critters ride the warm ocean currents south to wash up on our beaches. Still, it was a surprise to find them at Coaster's Retreat, well inside the mouth of Pittwater, last weekend. Cowan Creek had massive blooms of jelly blubbers. Quite a few of the blubbers appeared to be sporting prop cuts. But observe the real culprit: a big leatherjacket taking chunks out of a blubber's hood. All the jellies in close to shore had bite marks. Who would have guessed?
On the backburner
The recent bushfires and back-burning are a curse for boat-proud owners. Just last week we thought our boat looked pretty spiffy. But the recent fallout from the fires soon daubed the otherwise white hull with hundreds of black streaks. The fix is a hand polish. We've been forced to hire hands.