Rolex Sydney to Hobart underway – RÁN leads

Alt_RAN, Niklas Zennstrom

The new British yacht RÁN has taken the overall lead of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race this afternoon, Niklas Zennstrom and his crew making an early charge on Zennstrom’s hope to win the 628 nautical mile race on handicap, adding to his overall win of the Rolex Fastnet Race in August.

The Judel/Vrolijk designed 72 footer launched only this year, has some of the world’s top sailors such as Steve Hayles, Adrian Stead and Richard Bouzaid aboard, helping to power the big grey yacht through a 20 knot southerly gusting to 25 at times on a bumpy sea.

RÁN’s early overall lead is no surprise according to Limit’s principal helmsman, Ian ‘Barney’ Walker, who has stated a couple of times this week: “RÁN is the boat to beat,” and “the forecast will suit it – it’s great in moderate upwind conditions and will probably get away from the rest of us.”

The Sydney to Hobart, one of the world’s premier events, always kicks off on Boxing Day, with the plethora of spinnakers on Sydney Harbour a sight to behold. Boats generally take a bit over three days to compete the 628 nautical miles and the race, like the Fastnet, has had great drama over the years, including wipeouts and fatalities. That part of the world is known for its rough conditions, particularly the further south one goes.

Meanwhile, Jessica keeps on keeping on despite her entering the Fearsome Fifties – her latest here – and Laura’s parents have rightly savaged Dutch Social Services for what it’s done to their daughter. Hear hear. The SS has been everything we’d consider obnoxious and detestabe about PC smugness and the almost divine conviction that the nanny state knows what’s best for a family really galls.

Much as this blog supports Jessica in her attempt, it would be sweet indeed if Laura could get her challenge up and running. Methinks they should put a worldwide appeal for donations up. I’d contribute my litte bit and I’m sure many others around the world woud too. Unfortunately, they only seem to be thinking in terms of big sponsors and they’re not accepting communication, understandable, given the current circumstances.

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