Posts Tagged ‘sailing’

Pirates and Storms Warning for Second Leg of Volvo Ocean Race


The fleet racing in the Volvo ocean race are headed for trouble. Bad weather and the suggestion to be on the lookout for pirates has everone on edge.

Now in the second leg of the round-the-world race, the seven strong fleet has set out from Cape Town for Abu Dhabi.

Almost immediately they were battling into the teeth of a 35 knot gale. It was trying and sickening for all concerned.

The captain of Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright, wondered if “this could be the worst sea state these boats have ever seen.”

With 6125 nautical miles left of the leg they’d better get used to it. This leg is expected to take the fleet about a month, though should things get worse that expectation will change.



The fleet was given a warning by meteorologist Gonzalo Infante: “We have just started the tropical cyclone season in the south Indian Ocean and it seems like we will have plenty of this activity for this leg.”

The organisers have set an exclusion zone in an effort to shield them from the worst of the bad weather. Another exclusion zone near the East African coast, in the Indian Ocean, has been set up to keep them as far away from suspected pirate lairs as possible.

Nonetheless, there will be little sleep for many of them for the next month.

The Volvo Ocean Race is expected to take nine months to complete.

Belcher & Ryan Win Fifth Consecutive World Crown for 470 Dinghy Class

Sailing duo Mat Belcher and Will Ryan have fought back from sixth place to win the world 470 class sailing crown. This is the fifth consecutive world crown for Belcher and second for teammate Ryan.

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan. Photo:

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan. Photo:

Belcher becomes the first man ever to win five successive crowns – and he did it on his 32nd birthday.

But they didn’t have it all their own way.

The two had to fight their way back from sixth place earlier in the Spanish regatta, held at Santander. Their fourth place in the last event – a double points Medal race – was enough to see them win overall.

But celebrations were put on hold as they were forced to stave off a protest. With everything in the balance Belcher was able to convince race stewards to dismiss the protest.

“I guess what I’m really proud of is that this week we really stepped it up another level as a team,” Belcher told reporters. “This means a lot. You have to be able to qualify your country (for the 2016 Rio Olympics) and for us to tick that off here gives us a lot of confidence.”

And confidence is what they’ll need as the 470 dinghy class is becoming more hotly contested each year.

Prolongoing Sydney’s Summer of Sports


So far, the 2013/2014 Australian summer has been one of high drama and high stakes. From Australia’s incredible cricket victories, to tough conditions in the Sydney To Hobart, to a number of early high-profile knockouts in the Australian Open, it’s been consistently surprising and engaging. It’s not over yet, though.

It’s true that a lot of international sportspeople will be heading for the Departures terminal in the next week or so, as big events wind up. What we’re left with, though, is a range of events that cater to tastes that are diverse and slightly left-of-field. Those hoping to assert their status as a well-rounded sports fan will do well to stick around in Sydney, situating themselves in a North Sydney hotel so they have close access to all corners of the city, which will play host to a variety of different sports in the coming weeks and months.

summer-surfingAustralian Open of Surfing

Surfing and youth culture have always gone hand in hand. It makes perfect sense, then, that the Open of Surfing doesn’t restrict itself to sport. Music, art, and fashion will also be on display during the nine-day event, which is free and is expected to attract about 125,000 spectators to Manly during February. There’s also a skateboarding element, ensuring that the tastes of teenagers the country over will be catered to. It’s pretty rare for an event to combine so many elements of youth culture, so don’t be surprised if your uppity teenager is asking to be booked into a nearby in the near future.

Dragon Boat racing

Now a cornerstone of Sydney’s annual Chinese New Year Festival, dragon boat racing attracts spectators for a number of reason. The physical prowess of participating paddlers is not to be scoffed at, for one thing. Dragon boat racing is also of great significance in Chinese culture, and both reflects and perpetuates national pride and collectivity. Equally important is the visual spectacle aspect that the races bring to Cockle Bay, as an armada of delicately crafted, exquisitely decorated boats – each twelve metres long and housing twenty paddlers – descend for a weekend.

Waratahs vs Blues

A February 7 preview match, to be held at Allianz Stadium, will serve as an interesting preview of what’s to come in 2014 for Super Rugby.

Readers unfamiliar with the curious love/hate relationships between Australians and New Zealanders may well find the stoush enlightening. Interactions between the two nations are like a more jovial, good-natured version of the French and English rapprochement, in sentiment if not in practicality. With the two sides last year occupying neighbouring slots towards the bottom of the Super Rugby ladder, fans will be waiting with baited breath to see who can gain the upper hand in 2014.

Observers from overseas are like to find that situating themselves in the heart of Waratahs territory will make the lead-up and come-down from the match even more exciting. So book yourself into the Chatswood Shopping Center hotel to truly  get a true indication of just how passionate New South Welshman are about their sport. Go ‘Tahs!

Australia’s Summer of Sports


The Australian summer is always shaped around rituals. First, of course, is Christmas; then Boxing Day; the trawl up the coast to a sleepy, beach-side town; and the sporting events scattered throughout the calendar.

Often the annual matches and competitions that occur over summer can go by – or be flicked past on the television – relatively unnoticed. However, it’s worth giving them a look-in, as these events draw huge crowds (and television audiences) year in, year out. They’re an important part of our national psyche, and engaging with them can help you feel more connected to your fellow Australians.


The Sydney to Hobart yacht race, which I’ve previously written about, is a chief motivation for avoiding alcoholic over-indulgence on Christmas Day. The knowledge that you’ll be spending the following day in awe of a sea of boats – perhaps from North Head, or even on a spectator boat – is reason enough to put the eggnogg away at a reasonable hour. Each year, the race generates a flurry of publicity in the weeks and months leading up to the start of the race. Equally intense is the swarm of bets – frequently placed in a last-minute, post-Christmas, still-somewhat-inebriated rush. In order to avoid this stress, dedicated commentators and observers alike are sure to learn how to pick and bet on winners well in advance. It is expected that this year, six-time line honours winner Wild Oats will engage in a fierce battle with Perpetual LOYAL for the prestigious pole position.

Although the Rolex Sydney to Hobart race is undoubtedly the highlight of the yachting calendar, races occur regularly across the year, meaning that enthusiasts can get their fix on a regular basis.


If you find it challenging to eschew the temptation of eggnogg (or other, more powerful spirits) on Christmas Day, then staying at home to watch the Boxing Day test might be preferable to testing your sea legs so soon after alcoholic consumption. Putting some money on the sporting events directly following Christmas is also a great way to maximise (or minimise) any generous Christmas cheques. There’s so much horse racing info online, but resources and odds for other sports like cricket are also easy to find.

This year, the Boxing Day test will be played against England, forming the fourth test of the current Ashes series. Australia is currently leading the series 2-0, meaning that this test could prove pivotal in securing the series for Australia after a disappointing, 0-3 loss in the last Ashes series. The test looks set to be a roaring success crowd-wise, with tickets already sold out – a potentially record-breaking feat.


You could be forgiven for thinking that following a cluster of Boxing Day events, things generally start to calm down in the sporting domain. Tennis, though, only begins to hit its stride in the New Year, with the Sydney International kicking off on January 5. Similar warm-up tournaments around the country will culminate in the Australian Open – perfect viewing when nursing a cup of over-sugared tea, waiting for the sun to begin its decline so you can return to the beach. Clued-in betting services like Practical Punting might suggest that Australia’s chances of producing a slam-winning player in time for the tournament mightn’t be all that great. But we can hope, right?

Sydney To Hobart Yacht Race


No yacht race gathers the same media and public attention as the Sydney to Hobart yacht race in Australia. Sailors from every level of expertise, and yachts of all caliber, flock to Sydney Harbour for this momentous occasion every year. Boxing Day has different meanings for every country. For most, it’s the day everyone winds down after Christmas, and eats leftovers with the family. But in Australia, the Sydney to Hobart yacht race streams from every television, for as long as it takes the first boat to reach Hobart. And this year is no exception. Over the past 68 years, the Rolex Sydney Hobart has become an icon of Australia’s summer sport, ranking in public interest with such national events as the Melbourne Cup horse race, the Davis Cup tennis and the cricket tests between Australia and England. Gear up for another seriously exciting race this Boxing Day!

Sydney to Hobart yacht race 2013

Back again, this race is something not to miss. Whether you catch it on the TV, or you head down to Sydney Harbour to watch the first leg of the race, you’ll be thankful for it. The atmosphere alone is something to behold. People flock from all over NSW to watch the huge amount of yachts float in the Harbour, waiting for the horn to sound. This year, 97 yachts are registered to race, including 22 international entrants. Six-time line honours winner and current race record holder Wild Oats XI is again the boat to beat for line honours. In its 69th year, the Sydney to Hobart yacht race kicks off at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. If you’re keen to watch the race opening down in Sydney Harbour, book yourself into the Hotel Urban Sydney for the night. With a North Sydney Hotel and even a Chatswood Shopping Centre Hotel, you’ll find a fantastic place to stay, and a great escape right after Christmas.

The Sydney to Hobart yacht race is an impressive event that ranks as one of the biggest Australian sporting events of the year. Wrap up Christmas with a bang, and don’t miss this incredible sight in your own Sydney Harbour.

sydney to hobart