Veteran Tasmanian yachtsman John Bennetto has bought the champion ocean racing yacht Quest to skipper in the 60th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - in what will be the 44th time he has sailed in the ocean classic, a record for the event.
"I decided we should become more racey, and Quest is certainly a successful modern ocean racing boat,"
says Bennetto, who has skippered his Frers 47, Mirrabooka, in the past 17 Sydney Hobarts, and made it through several of the worst storms in the history of the event.
"I'll keep on racing while I still like going to sea,"
adds Bennetto, who whilst he won't reveal his age, sailed in his first Sydney Hobart in 1947 as a foredeck crew aboard the Tasmanian yacht Kintail.
Quest's career has included a first and a second Overall in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, two wins in the IRC division at Hamilton Island Race Week, a win in the 2003 Australian IRC Offshore Championship and wins in the 2003 Sydney Mooloolaba and 2004 Sydney Gold Coast Races.
Back in Hobart, Bennetto plans to sail Quest in local races with the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, including the Maria Island Race, before sailing north again for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.
The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania expects five or six Tasmanian boats to contest the 60th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Applications to enter the event have already been received from Why Do I Do It, Wayne BANKS-SMITH'S Lyon 38, Pippin, David TAYLOR'S Farr 37, and Everybody Fitness, Jason Van ZETTON'S Adams 43.
Applications to enter to the race have now reached 49 boats from all Australian States, Germany, the USA and the UK, with further overseas entries expected from New Zealand and Spain.
Further details are available on the event website at the address below.