At the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Blue Water Pointscore Series, forecast 15-25 knot south-westerly belies the soft conditions that yachties feel will set the tone when Race two gets underway at 10.00am on Saturday morning off Point Piper, with Loki’s record of seven hours 48min 44sec, set in 2010, looking safe for another year.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s forecast also shows decreasing 10-15 knot south-east and south-westerly winds during the day, decreasing to a variable 10 knots in the afternoon, for the 92 nautical mile race.
With both Loki and Ragamuffin missing from the line-up this year, the gate is wide open in the chase for the 53rd Ron Robertson Memorial trophy, awarded to the overall IRC winner of the Flinders Islet Race.
Phil Molony’s Papillon is the current overall leader of the BWPS, after the Archambault 40 sailed to second overall in the light air Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race in July.
'I expect a good race for us,' Molony predicted at a compulsory briefing for the BWPS at the CYCA last night, which emphasises safety and compulsory radio skeds in the six race series.
'We’ve got the boat going well and I have a good crew who are working well together. We won the Gold Coast race in very light air - and this race is going to be the same.
'The forecast says no breeze for midnight, so there’ll be a bit of parking at the Island. 'It looks like it’ll be a long, long race, probably 24 hours for us,' Molony finished.
Darryl Hodgkinson won the 2011-2012 BWPS and is seriously looking at repeating that victory with his newly purchased Cookson 50, Victoire. The former Jazz is a known performer with a fourth overall in last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart after placing second in 2010.
While the Sydney plastic surgeon is still coming to grips with his new ride, including getting used to its canting keel, he is confident they can get up to scratch during the season after finishing ninth overall to win Division 0 in the Sydney Gold Coast race.
'We pulled one out of the hat in the light Gold Coast race, so we’ll see if we can do it again,' Hodgkinson commented.
While the doctor says he has consolidated the crew after stepping up to a bigger yacht, he admits: 'it’s still a steep vertical learning curve, so we’ll do as much sailing as possible on the new Victoire.'
Of the light breeze expected in the Flinders Islet Race, Hodgkinson disclosed: 'I’ve cooked a lot of sausages – we don’t expect to finish til Sunday some time – ouch!'
Others in contention for overall victory include Sam Hayne’s Rogers 46, Celestial, which finished runner-up in the 2012-2013 BWPS, Midnight Rambler, the Ker 40 of Ed Psaltis/Bob Thomas/Michael Bencsik, which was third, and Roger Hickman’s fourth placed Wild Rose. The vintage Farr 43 was third overall in the Sydney Gold Coast race to sit second in the BWPS.
Andrew Wenham’s Volvo 70, Southern Excellence (the former Ichi Ban), is expected to lead the charge for line honours.
Trophies will also be awarded to the overall winner of the ORCi and PHS categories of the BWPS, which concludes with the 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. For the first time, a trophy has been added to recognise the line honours winner of the series.