Bragging rights at stake for Oracle six
Oracle Team USA will have a significant presence in this year's Sydney Hobart Race.
Oracle will have as many a six of its team members involved in the classic 628 nautical mile race, which begins on Boxing Day in Sydney Harbour.
Competing on various yachts are Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle skipper, Tom Slingsby, the helmsman, tactician and sailing team manager, and Grant Simmer, the general manager and chief operating officer. Remaining Oracle team members taking part are Rome Kirby, Juan Vila and Louis Sinclair.
Spithill, the youngest skipper to win the America's Cup is competing on board Jim and Kristy Clark's supermaxi, Comanche, that came second last year.
“Hopefully we can pull off a win this time around,” Spithill said.
Slingsby, meanwhile, is competing on a yacht that is quite familiar with local sailing enthusiasts.
The Australian sailor is sailing on Anthony Bell's supermaxi, Perpetual Loyal, which took Newport Bermuda Race line honours in 2008, when the yacht was named Speedboat.
“It's a 100ft supermaxi so it's a big boat,” Slingsby said. “It's a bit of gear and hard work to get around the course or even to Hobart, but it's pretty rewarding.”
Claiming bragging rights is not the only incentive for Slingsby and his fellow crewmates, who are racing for a worthy cause.
“I'm going for the third year straight with Loyal that is a team that raises money for charity,” Slingsby said. “It's for a good cause, with a good bunch of guys and we always have a lot of fun.
“I think we are running around 22 or 23 crew and my role is helmsman. We have a big team and also sail with lot of celebrities because they help us raise money for charity.”
Spithill, who is making his fourth appearance in the race this year, is looking forward to the friendly rivalry against his Oracle team-mates.
“We will be going for bragging rights and we should get some good racing,” Spithill said.
The Sydney Hobart race will feature 109 yachts, including Robert Oatley's supermaxi Wild Oats XI, which secured line honours for a record seventh time under the guidance of Mark Richards last year.
Wild Oats XI is the most successful yacht in the 70-year history of the Sydney Hobart race, and holder of the race record which stands at one day, 18 hr 23min 12sec.