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22 December 2004, 10:55 am
A Storm In A Teacup
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Rolex Sydney To Hobart Yacht Race

Yesterday's Maxi-boat weigh, produced fears of boats missing the Rolex Sydney Hobart race, with mainstream media abuzz with the drama.

The weigh-in for the four largest Hobart boats created a media storm overnight. Skandia was 400kg under her previously certified weight and suggests were made she have to reduce sail area, slowing her quest to repeat her 2003 line honours win.

This morning a new IRC certificate was produced in Britain's RORC office for Skandia, after the new weight declaration and the change was zero.

The bookies favourite Konica Minolta, owned by Kiwi Stewart THWAITES', last year's line honours winner Grant WHARINGTON's Skandia, Ludde INGVALL's newly launched Nicorette and the Sean Langman's lightweight flier AAPT, were all weighed at the Kiwi's expense - estimated to be around $15,000.

At the White Bay weigh in, Konica Minolta yesterday was 250kg heavier than her certificate showed. Langman's much smaller 66-footer, AAPT, was a surprising 600kg over. The newly launched Nicorette was 37 kg over.

Skandia was 400kg lighter and last night, there were suggestions she would have to spinnaker's reduced in size to ensure she met the maximum IRC rating limit.

Today race organisers at the CYCA were reminding everyone that obtaining new certificates was routine in yacht racing.

The Club's vice-commodore Roger HICKMAN commented that it was quite possible that such differences could come simply through the use of different scales.

Today Wharington was of the same opinion. 'Our last weigh in was done independently with certified scales by a certified measurer and a different set of scales has produced a slightly different weight.'

The difference between the two readings was less than 1.5%, that might be 0.75% on each set of scales. It sounds a lot at 400kg, but the overall weight is 28,000 kg.

'When RORC supplied our new certificate this morning, the 400kg weight difference produced no change whatsoever in our rating.'

In other words, out at the third decimal place there is no speed difference according to the World Rating body. ' It was a storm in a teacup' explained the Skandia skipper.

Sean LANGMAN was all smiles today. 'It was fairly windy at yesterday's weigh-in and we think that might have affected our weight.

'These amounts are quite small compared to ur overall weight. But we re-rated with large headsails only two days ago, the new certificates with 600kg will probably bring us back square. It certainly adds to our stability margins and that is no longer an issue.'

'We don't have to make a final decision on our Hobart configuration for another 24 hours. With the forecast indicating a lot of upwind sailing, the kite sail mght not be worthwhile, because of its rating penalty, but the jury is out on that still.'

by Rob Kothe

Rob Kothe
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