Almost two years ago the 100-ft super maxi, Rambler, lost her entire canting keel while competing in the Rolex Fastnet Race. The frightening incident quickly sent the 21-crew members into the ocean where all were eventually rescued. Fast forward two years, the newly named Perpetual Loyal has quietly moved into Sydney Harbor’s Rose Bay after a complete and extensive retrofit by Sydney businessman, Anthony Bell. Bell hopes to win the upcoming Rolex Sydney Hobart race, which sets off on December 26.
Bell’s determination to win includes hiring some of the best crew, including Bay Area sailing guru Stan Honey and Oracle Team USA’s strategist and America’s Cup Winner Tom Slingsby. “This will be my first Rolex Sydney Hobart and my first major offshore ocean race," says Slingsby. "I’ve haven’t been sick on a yacht before — only once when I was on a fishing boat offshore — so I’m curious as to how I’ll fare."
“It’ll be a tough battle with Wild Oats XI," Bell says of the competition. "We’re up against the best super maxi racing team in the world — they’re like the Ferrari team of ocean racing. It would be remiss of me to not include those other super maxis in the fleet, including the boat we won (line honours) on in 2011, now racing as Ragamuffin 100."
You can follow the 96-boat race live online, and be sure to note the 22 international competitors as well, their largest number of entrants to date.