Written by Scott Alle
The 2017 Rolex Sydney Hobart might be rookie owner Christian Beck’s first offshore race, but he can call on some of the best sailing talent around to ensure the supermaxi has the best shot of beating her highly-credentialed competitors to Hobart.
Among the crew are America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race winners, plus Iain ‘Goobs’ Jensen, Olympic gold (2012) and sliver (2016) 49er medallist.
InfoTrack begins their Rolex Sydney Hobart campaign in earnest tomorrow, with twenty very busy days left to ready the supermaxi for its bid to win back to back line honours titles.
Jensen who has had a massive year – as wing trimmer on America’s Cup semi-finalist Artemis Racing, then a third in the Moth worlds just one point behind Peter Burling – is looking to help secure a win for Beck.
He has been re-acquainting himself with monohulls on the MC 38 circuit and on RC 44s, but admits it will be steep learning curve in the hundred footer.
“’Just take your time’, has been the advice from some of the more experienced guys, “ the multiple world champion revealed. “There’s a lot of load involved in these boats and you have to double and triple check you’re doing the right thing.”
Jensen’s world-class trimming skills will be put to good use on InfoTrack’s brand new 405 square metre mainsail from North Sails which is 29 square metres bigger than Wild Oats XI.
A Rolex Sydney Hobart is one of the few things missing from the 29 year-old’s sailing cv, and he’s looking forward to the multiple challenges furnished by offshore racing.
“I’ve always wanted to do it,” he said. “But there’s always been a 49er event or a Moth event or something that’s gotten in the way.”
InfoTrack Boat Captain Ty Oxley agreed the defending line honours champion will benefit from Jensen’s unquestioned technical expertise, and added the supermaxi was in great shape to tackle the gruelling 628 nautical mile trip after an extensive overhaul.
“We’ve stripped everything down and made sure everything is one hundred per cent ok,” Oxley explained. “It’s not always about making changes to make you quicker, this year it’s about reliability,” he pointed out.
Oxley was aboard for last year’s memorable ride when Perpetual Loyal hit her stride as the turbo-fans clicked-in and surfed to a new record of one day 13 hours 31 minutes and 20 seconds, slashing Wild Oats old mark by almost 5 hours.
“It’s pretty hard conditions to beat,” he acknowledged of last year’s downhill sprint. ‘But we will push it (InfoTrack), as hard as it can take.”
Along with gold medallist Iain Jensen, there will be at least five other crew tackling the Hobart for the first time including new owner Christian Beck and at least four staff from the software entrepreneur’s company. Oxley warned they are likely to experience what he describes as “being jammed into a washing machine with the spin cycle on.”
“These boats are built to race on leading edge of performance,” he says. “We know what it’s capable for and we know how far to push it, and hopefully as technology progresses we can incorporate that and stay competitive.”
A preliminary gauge on how InfoTrack is shaping-up against two of her of her arch rivals Wild Oats XI and Black Jack will come during next week’s SOLAS Big Boat Challenge of Sydney Harbour on Tuesday 12 December.