Saturday, January 3, 2015

Sail Boat Racing – by Gary

While in Sydney we were treated to some pretty impressive yacht racing - which of course particularly captured Zeke's imagination.

Maxis Round the Buoys
This was a precursor to the Sydney Hobart race, and featured the super maxis and pocket maxis that would compete in that race.  

This turned in to a strictly two horse race – a taste of things to come.  Here is Wild Oates thundering down to the finish line...

… closely followed in second place by the USA boat Commanche.

Extreme 40s
Now this was an absolute blast, Formula 1 style racing, but on the water.  These are hi-tech carbon fibre cats capable of speeds up to 35 knots.  Five man elite crews race them in a global series that brings the action up close and personal with spectators, running short in-shore races designed to maximise strategy and excitement.  This year's series traveled to Singapore, Oman, China, Russsia, UK, Turkey, France and held the final four day series in Sydney.

This is yacht racing like no other – bringing the boats right in close to spectators

Five men elite crews (wearing crash helmets) race around the deck furiously grinding, steering, ballast shifting and just plain hanging on.

These boats fly.  Courses are set to provide choices: turn right out of a gate for a longer leg that allows you to re-converge the fleet on starboard tack, turn left for a shorter leg that has you re-converging on port tack – the skipper decides.

The day we attended was blustery with 20 knot bullets.  That leeward hull is looking very close to burying itself...

Rooster tails a-flyin'.

Just look at that spray coming up, these boats are on a knife edge of control.

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