The racing New Year began on day one, with the presentation of Rolex Sydney Hobart prizes.

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Rolex Sydney Hobart

The majority of the silverware was picked up by Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI and Simon Kurts’ Love & War, sailed by a team led by skipper Lindsay May. The former was awarded the J. H. Illingworth Trophy for winning line honours, the Jack Rooklyn Memorial Trophy, for being the first yacht out of Sydney Heads, and the F&J Livingstone Trophy for being the first yacht due south of Tasman Island, as well as finishing second in IRC Division 0 and the Rolex Challenge.

Love & War’s Lindsay May received the Tattersalls Cup for winning overall under IRC handicap and a Rolex Yachtmaster timepiece. May was also awarded the Sir Arthur Warner Trophy for coming first in IRC Division 4.

David Kent’s 32ft Cavalier 975 Gillawa scored its third win in a row! He again got the wooden spoon, for last boat in, but the crew members were happy to have, at last, achieved their ambition of reach¬ing Hobart in time for the traditional New Year’s Eve fireworks display.

At the prize giving, it was announced that the Wild Oats XI crew had clubbed together to donate AUD$ 2,000 for the cancer fund-raising being carried out, during the race, by British skipper Michelle Colenso, who’s Oyster 55 Capriccio of Rhu won the Cruising Division. Midway through a round the world cruise, Colenso was diagnosed with breast cancer and she competed in the Rolex Sydney Hobart despite being in the middle of chemotherapy treatment. The donation from the Wild Oats crew was later matched by Lindsay May.

The Sydney Hobart was still in the news a week after it was over, when homeward bound Berrimilla & Wedgetail had to be taken in tow in the Tasman Sea. Berrimilla was dismasted in a roll and Wedg¬etail suffered steering failure.

Global Ocean Challenge gets its first USA team entry.

Global Ocean Sailing Ventures announced that a new Rodger Martin designed Class 40 was being built in Rhode Island, USA, by Al Fresco Composites, for experienced sailors Stuart Williams and Jared Lazor. Williams, who is a former member of the US Ski Team, will skipper the boat. He said “It has been a dream of mine to race around the world, but until now I felt that I could not compete in the major offshore ocean races. They are too expensive and too technically complicated, but the Global Ocean Challenge is the perfect event for someone like me. As soon as I heard about the race, the idea of being a part of it took hold. It’s now about to become a reality with the boat, to be named Gwaihir, after the Lord of Wind in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, well under construction.”

Thompson out Malbon in and with a new boat at Artemis

Following a very successful first year in Ocean Racing including spon­soring an Open 60, breaking the Round Britain and Ireland record and competing in the Route Du Rhum, Artemis and Brian Thompson parted company. Jonny Malbon, who skippered Artemis Ocean Racing to vic­tory in the Round Britain and Ireland race last year, will be skippering this year and the team will be building a new Open 60, designed by Rog­ers Yacht Design, to compete in the 2008 Vendée Globe.

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey faster than B&Q Castorama

Ellen MacArthur’s Taipei to Hong Kong record, set aboard her trimaran, “B&Q Castorama,” was beaten by a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 47. Philippe Grelon skip­pered the yacht to a time of 2 days 15 hours, beating the trimaran’s time by 1 hour 20 minutes.

Caffari gets Yachtsman of the Year award and unveils new plans

Dee Caffari won the prestigious Yachtsman of the Year award, making it a double for the ladies, with Katie Miller taking the Young Sailor of the Year title.

Dee revealed that she will be undertaking an intensive Open 60 racing campaign culminating in the Vendee Globe 2008, with Aviva She wants to be the first woman to sail solo, non-stop around the world in both directions.

Jean le Cam awarded FICO World Ocean Racing Championship 2006

The last race in the FICO Oceanic calendar for 2006, the Route du Rhum, decided the FICO World Championship. Going into the event, Jean le Cam was leading the points table, which covers Oce­anic races held over a two year period. His second place in the Vendee Globe, third place in the Jaques Vabre and second place in the Route du Rhum secured the Championship.

Jean-Pierre Dick & Damian Foxall talk about their Barcelona World Race double act

Why did you choose Damian Foxall as co-skipper for the Barcelona World Race?

Jean-Pierre Dick: First, Damian has good experi­ence in offshore racing since he has already sailed in 5 Around the World races and has sailed on different types of boats. Then, this Around the World will last for nearly three months, so it is important to leave with someone you like, which is true of Damian. For me, the human side of racing is as important as the sport­ing side, since those who win the race will be the best united team!

What are Damian’s qualities?

Jean-Pierre Dick: He’s been around for a good while. Damian is versatile and skilled in many areas. He could easily be the skipper of the boat on his own. He’s an excellent technician who will lend a hand in preparing the boat but will also help out if there’s a problem during the race. He’s both intuitive and rational, and we both have the desire to perform well in common.

What made you enter this race with Jean-Pierre Dick?

Damian Foxall: When Jean-Pierre asked me to be his co-skipper for the Barcelona World Race, I didn’t need to think hard about it! We had already sailed together in the Sailing Tour de France in 2001 and I really enjoyed it. He has been working on projects that produce good results for a long time. For me, he is one of the favourites in this race. So, there was no hesitation!

What do you think of your duo and this race?

Damian Foxall: We are both really motivated by this race which is the event of the year 2007. In hu­man terms, it will be very rewarding. I think that there will be lot things to discuss with Jean-Pierre. This is important, because we’ll be together for a long time! However this is an excellent race con­cept with a great line up. From a sport point of view it is interesting since it fits with our common objective: preparing the Vendée Globe.

How is the start of your collaboration shaping up?

Damian Foxall: I’ll be leaving to meet up with Jean-Pierre in New Zealand mid-February. We are going to concentrate on preparing Paprec Virbac before bringing her back to France. And then we will do a lot of sailing together this year, since I will be sailing with Jean-Pierre in all the races this season.

ABN AMRO Two awarded Rod Stephens Trophy for recovery of Hans Horrevoets

The crew of ABN AMRO TWO was selected by the Cruising Club of America (CCA) to receive the 2006 Rod Stephens Tro­phy for Seamanship for its recovery of Hans Horrevoets during the Volvo Ocean Race.

This is a perpetual trophy made possible by shipmates and friends of the late Rod Stephens to recognise “an act of seamanship that significantly contributes to the safety of a yacht or one or more individuals at sea.” While ultimately unsuccessful in saving Hans life, the crew located his body by acting quickly, following good, previously rehearsed procedures and using excellent judgment in carrying out search tactics.

Why are we waiting?

Tony Bullimore has spent longer waiting to start his solo round the world record attempt than he hoped it would take to go round the world. Tony says “I am not prepared to leave until Lee Bruce, our American weather router is confident that I can hook up with a series of low pressure systems that will carry me all the way to Cape Horn.”

Meanwhile, Bullimore is not short of Supporters Club members, though the names he adorned the hull with are having to be replaced with something more durable than ink!

Maud Fontenoy unharmed after Oréal Paris dismasts

Maud Fontenoy’s attempt to sail the wrong way around the world, from Reunion to Reunion, looked as though it might end when Oréal Paris dismasted, about 900 miles from Australia. A clearly shocked Fontenoy said “I was making about 7 knots, the sea state was good and the wind about 20-25 knots, when the mast fell and broke in two. It landed beside me, but I was able to jump into the cockpit and wasn’t injured. One of the pieces is in the water and tapping against the hull. It’s pitch black and I have neither light nor instruments.“

The Adelaide Express, a German container ship, was diverted by the Australian maritime authorities, but Maud had decided she was going to get her boat back to Reunion, under jury rig. The rendezvous was psychologically disturbing, because – after she’d said she didn’t want assistance – she began to wonder if she’d done the right thing. “I was in a bad way this morning.” she admitted “That ship, with all the crew on the deck got under my skin.” Then she focussed on the resolve to get back to her friends on Reunion and the moment of self doubt gave way to action.

Four days later, she was sailing again. The hardest part was getting the boom hoisted into a verti­cal position and in a way that meant she could be confident that it wouldn’t fall down at the slightest blow. It took her 10 hours. She then hoisted a small foresail and got going again, but she admitted “I didn’t know if I would ever manage to get going again. I have to say that there were times when my nerve seemed to be leaving me; my hands hurt so much and my body was ravaged by the efforts.”