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12 December 2005, 10:58 am
Seven Past Winning Skippers Heading South Again
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Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2005
Sydney, Australia

Seven Australian yachtsmen who have previously sailed their yachts to an Overall win in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race are lining up again for the 2005 blue water classic. Of the seven, all but two are members of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the conducting club for the past 60 years.
Two of them have also skippered bigger boats to line honours victories and another two have their sights set on being to Hobart first in the fleet this year.

The seven past winners of the historic Tattersalls Cup who are racing to Hobart this year as skippers of their own boats are:

Lou ABRAHAMS, a member of Melbourne's Sandringham Yacht Club, with his Sydney 38, Challenge. ABRAHAMS has sailed to Hobart 42 times, winning twice, with Challenge in 1983 and Ultimate Challenge in 1989.

Syd FISCHER, a member of the CYCA, won the race Overall with his then Ragamuffin in 1992. He also took line honours with two maxi yachts named Ragamuffin in 1988 and 1990. FISCHER this year is skippering his Farr 50 Ragamuffin on his 37th race to Hobart.

Roger HICKMAN, a Rear Commodore of the CYCA has won the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race twice - as co-owner/skipper of Wild Oats in 1993 and as sailing master of SAP Ausmaid in 2000. He is sailing in his 28th race this year, skippering his 1993 winner, a Bruce Farr-designed 40-footer, now named Wild Rose. This boat is the only previous overall winner racing this year.

Ed PSALTIS and Bob THOMAS, also CYCA members, won the storm swept 1998 race in their little boat AFR Midnight Rambler. They are returning for yet another race with their latest boat of that name, a modified Sydney 40 One Design. PSALTIS will be sailing his 24th race to Hobart.

Geoffrey ROSS, another CYCA member, won the 1999 race with his then boat named Yendys (Sydney spelt backward) and is back with his current Yendys, an imported Judel/Vrolijk 51.

Michael SPIES made history when he sailed the production cruiser/racer First National Real Estate, an optimized Beneteau 40.7, to an overall win in 2003. This year he is skippering his Beneteau 44.7, Sirromet Life Style Wines, to Hobart. SPIES, who has sailed to Hobart 28 times, was also co-skipper of the Danish/Australian entry Nokia, the Volvo 60 that holds the race record for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Also sailing again this year are former line honours winning skippers Neville CRICHTON, a CYCA member, and Grant WHARINGTON, representing Victoria's Mornington Yacht Club. CRICHTON, who got the gun with his 90 footer Alfa Romeo in 2002, is back with his new 98 footer, also named Alfa Romeo, while WHARINGTON is again campaigning his 98 footer Skandia, which he sailed to a line honours win in 2003.

The fleet for the 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race stands at 88 boats following the latest withdrawal - Victorian yacht Chikara.

Teams for the Rolex Challenge will be announced over the next two days, with the international teams series being decided on results in this week's Rolex Trophy - Rating Series and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, starting on 26 December. The Rolex Trophy - Rating Series will be sailed from this Thursday 15 December, through to next Sunday 18 December.

On Tuesday of this week, 13 December, many of the bigger boats in the fleet will shape up for the traditional preliminary encounter in the CYCA's Big Boat Challenge.

For all the news on the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race CLICK HERE.

Nicole Brown (As Amended By ISAF)
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