RUSH HOUR

Welcome to issue #54 of Sails. On the cover is the Australian F50 cat, set to do battle with six identical examples of the fastest race boat in the world for the SailGP, which will take place on Sydney Harbour for the first time.

This issue contains a Rolex Sydney Hobart wrap, a full account of both Oats’ and Alive’s Hobart-winning runs, as well as an exclusive insight into the reasons behind the supermaxi’s AIS problem.

We also explore new technology for the Auckland America’s Cup course in 2021, test Beneteau’s new Oceanis 46.1, and cruise around the Louisiades, the focus of our Destination feature, and one of the jewels of Coral Sea cruising.

To read this edition of Sails Magazine pick up a copy from all good retailers or subscribe online. 

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Editor’s Letter

The odd spectacular Rolex Sydney Hobart moment aside, we haven’t had the eyes of the sailing world so directly fixed on Australia for a long time.

SailGP launches its ambitious global circuit on Sydney Harbour on 15 February with six identical examples of the fastest race boat in the world.

When the series is beamed live around world, it will be very interesting to see if these extremely potent 50-foot foiling cats capture a wider general audience who don’t appreciate what they’re witnessing but love the spectacle, and the graphics. I personally have no problem with that.

You don’t get a real appreciation of how crazily quick these things are until one whizzes past your strapped RIB as it threatens to reach terminal velocity at 30 knots.

These cats are simply the most astounding sailing craft I’ve ever seen. At speeds over 50 knots, they test the boundaries of hydrofoiling physics, while the skills of the sailors (perhaps pilors; a pilot/sailor hybrid), are evolving into new territory.

Whether any of the technology fused into these new high-speed carbon wonders might trickle down to your average monohull cruiser plodding around on a twilight is a difficult question.

We’ve had some indication of how foiling technology looks set to turbo-charge offshore racing with the launch of Charal – the first new generation IMOCA – last August.

There is frenetic activity in the IMOCA class and there could be as many as 30 of these appendage-bristling craft poised to lacerate unwary sunfish in the 2020 instalment of the Vendée Globe.

You would surmise then it won’t be long till we see a fully foiling boat in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, and what would its chances be against those pesky TP52s?

It was heartening last year to see a well-sailed 60-footer, Alive, outpace the baying TP pack and clinch overall honours. Our congratulations to Phillip Turner, Duncan Hine and their crew on a fantastic result. We also congratulate Ricko and the crew of Wild Oats XI on their superb resilience in the face of so many setbacks to claim a record ninth line honours crown.

This issue contains a full account of both Oats’ and Alive’s Hobart-winning runs, as well as an exclusive insight into the reasons behind the supermaxi’s AIS problem.

The theme of how technology is rapidly changing sailing is carried into our feature on what kind of experience virtual reality might deliver from the Auckland America’s Cup course in 2021.

For those seeking a far more physical and visceral appreciation of the essence of sailing, Beneteau’s new Oceanis 46.1 represents the real benefits technology is bringing to yachting.

The 46.1 would be ideal for a short-handed escape to the Louisiades, the focus of our Destination feature, and one of the jewels of Coral Sea cruising.

A buffet of autumn sailing awaits.

I urge you to indulge, and perhaps try something a little different.

See you on the water,

SCOTT ALLE

Editor Sails Magazine