In the Press


A Bittersweet Rolex Sydney Hobart

December 30, 2016

Hobart (December 30, 2016) – The Reichel/Pugh Team congratulates all competitors in the 2016 72nd edition of the annual 628 nm Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The race concluded with several highlights for Reichel/Pugh-designed yachts:

RP66 Alive, a canting keel design launched in 2006 from Westerly Marine as Jim Madden’s Stark Raving Mad, and formerly Peter Harburg’s Black Jack, finished in the top ten for line honours and corrected to 6th in ORCi Div 1.

RP40 Chutzpah, launched in 2007 from Hart Marine and owned by Bruce and Drew Taylor, corrected to 2nd in IRC/ORCi Div 2.

RP51 Primitive Cool,
launched in 2009 as Secret Men’s Business 3.5 from Hart Marine and now owned by John Newbold, corrected to 10th in IRC Div 1.


In 2012, R/P-designed Wild Oats XI, owned by the Oatley Family and Skippered by Mark Richards, posted a race record time of 1d:18h:23m:12s with an average speed of just 15 knots. Ideal record-breaking conditions two-days prior to this year’s race suggested the possibility of clipping three to six hours off the record pace. Earlier this year, the “silver bullet” averaged 21 knots when she set a new record for the 350 nm Brisbane to Keppel race. The top speed the yacht has recorded to date is 35 knots (65 km/hour). Speeds following the Reichel/Pugh-designed modification of the 11-metre long forward section of the hull which proved so efficient that further modifications recently removed the horizontal hydrofoil wing. “The new bow shape has made a dramatic difference to the yacht’s speed both upwind and down,” said Wild Oats XI’s skipper Mark Richards. “When racing downwind offshore we can now sail the yacht at more than 30 knots without any fear of nose-diving. This improvement means we no longer need the retractable horizontal wing to provide lift – it’s like excess baggage – so we’re going to remove it. It’s a decision that was also influenced by the fact that we’ll save more than 300 kilograms in hull weight.”

Racing for her 9th line honours in 12 starts and in the running for her third handicap victory, she sailed this edition in the memory of the yacht’s late owner, Bob Oatley, who died in January this year at age 87. In the afternoon of the first day, Wild Oats XI reported that they were holding a steady lead on the 88-boat fleet and already some 90 minutes ahead of the 2012 race record pace. After the yachts entered the Bass Straits approximately twenty hours into the race, Wild Oats XI was forced to retire for the second year in a row due to a heartbreaking hydraulic ram failure. For all the news from the Wild Oats team click to visit their site.


Highlights of the 2016 race can be found on the Rolex Yachting YouTube channel


Title image courtesy of Kurt Arrigo
Race starts and Wild Oats XI courtesy of Daniel Forster