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11 December 2003, 09:55 am
Yendys Launched
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Yendys © Rolex/Ian Mainsbridge

Rolex Sydney Hobart

Another Champion Entry For Rolex Sydney Hobart as Portugese Ambassador launches a boat called Sydney backwards.
What is the connection between Portugal and a yacht named Yendys (Sydney spelled backwards) christened today at the Cruising Yacht Club to begin its campaign to win the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race?

Sydney yachting enthusiast Geoff ROSS bought his new Yendys after its illustrious two seasons of grand prix racing in the Mediterranean where it was campaigned as Banco Espirito Santo, sailed by a Portugese team and sponsored by a Portugese bank.

Ross, who won overall handicap honours in the 1999 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race with his previous Yendys, returned to Sydney recently after several years overseas and is confident he has the boat to again win the blue water classic.

He could find no better reason than to invite His Excellency, The Ambassador of Portugal to Australia, Mr Jose VIEIRA BRANCO, to officially launch the yacht in Australia at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

In a brief and witty speech, The Ambassador said Portugal was famous for its poets and sailors "but I can't recall any famous poets".

The yacht owner's father, the retired Anglican minister Geoffrey ROSS, blessed the yacht and recalled that while he was not a sailor, he had spent many hours flying over Bass Strait as an RAAF bomber pilot during World War II.

The new Yendys is a Judel Vrolijk 52, designed by Rolf Vrolijk, the man responsible for the America's Cup winning yacht Alinghi.

Ross has assembled an outstanding crew to reinforce his chances of scoring an Overall IMS handicap win, including Australia's Grant SIMMER and internationally acclaimed navigator, Juan VILA.

Simmer was navigator of Australia II for the 1983 America's Cup win and acted as design coordinator for Alinghi this year while Vila was navigator for the winning illbruck team in the last Volvo Ocean Race around the world.

Also in the strong crew are Neal and Lisa Mcdonald, the English husband and wife who each skippered individual yachts in the 2001 Volvo Ocean Race around the world, with Neal skippering Assa Abloy, the line honours winner of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race that year.

The new Yendys will have the same sail number as the 1999 Sydney Hobart winner - 1936 and there's an interesting story behind this. The original Australian member of the Ross family, Isabella URQUART, arrived in Hobart at the age of 22 in December 1836 for a free seven year holiday - as a convict transported from England. Her husband to be, Frederic ROSS, won a similar prize and arrived in Hobart, mid 1837.

The 1999 Sydney Hobart winning Yendys will race as Bounder in this year's Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, chartered by Chris LITTLE, Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club in England.

Yendys and Bounder will both compete in the three day Rolex Trophy Series in Sydney, starting on Saturday.
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