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This year's Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race was one of the most memorable yet, with thrilling competition from start to finish. The race brought out a fleet of 85 boats and over 1,000 sailors with glamour conditions making for a spectacular race start.

The suspenseful battle between the four Supermaxi's was extremely tight for the majority of the race. Prior to Wild Oats XI breaking away from the fleet and going on to ultimately win the race, there was only a four-mile distance between all four of them with Comanche in the lead. It truly was an incredible sight to see these boats performing at the top of their game.

Doyle Sails worked closely with Comanche and InfoTrack on their sail inventories in preparation for the race.

Comanche crew member Kyle Langford's comments on the race,

"We had a good Hobart race this year, the conditions weren't ideal for Comanche but knowing the boats' weakness in light air we spent a lot of time during the lead up working on our new Doyle sails to improve the boats performance in the lighter end of the range. We spent the majority of the race in light air VMG running which suited the skinnier boats by using our new Cable-less A3, despite the extreme differences in hull design, we could hang with them until around 7 knots of wind.

We led the race, up until Tasman Island before Wild Oats and Blackjack slipped by us in a park up and unfortunately we didn't' have enough racecourse left to catch up before Hobart and crossed the line a couple of minutes after Blackjack."

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Comanche finished 3rd place in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart. Photo Credit: Andrea Francolini

Doyle Sails' Grand Prix legends Stu Bannatyne (Doyle New Zealand) and Chris Nicholson (Doyle Lake Macquarie) were race crew onboard InfoTrack.

Stu Bannatyne praises InfoTrack's new Cable-less sails,

"The new Cable-less MHO was a huge asset during this year's race to Hobart. Day two saw a long stretch of light air sailing and with the new lighter, more efficient Masthead Zero we were able to keep it close with the much lighter and skinnier Blackjack for the duration of the day. A huge relief for us and our performance that day drew many positive post race comments from our opposition!"

Chris Nicholson on InfoTrack's sailing performance during the race,

"The new A2 on InfoTrack, being a Cable-less string sail, was a huge step forward for the boat with over 1,000 square metres that projects itself like a dinghy sail. It allowed us to remain in the hunt all the way to Hobart in conditions that in the past were less than ideal for the boat.

You only have to look at any of the pictures to see the quality of the sails."

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InfoTrack finished 4th place in the Sydney to Hobart.

Another major highlight from the Hobart race was the big win from Philip Turner's Reichel/Pugh 66 Alive. Alive was declared overall winner and took home the Tattersall Cup from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia which makes them the fourth Tasmanian boat to ever win the race. Doyle Sails New Zealand's very own Will Tiller raced onboard the winning yacht which had partial Doyle inventory including two new races jibs, a J2 and J3. The race didn't have much upwind sailing, but Alive did have about 3 hours in total where they were able to use the J2 in breeze ranging from 10-18 knots.

Will Tiller comments,

“It's been very cool sailing with Alive over the past 6 months, we have worked hard developing all aspects of the program and the addition of the Doyle headsails targeted a couple crossovers in the wind range which we felt needed some attention, finishing the year off with the overall win in the Sydney to Hobart was really the icing on the cake. We now shift our attention to the Transpac and further optimising the sail inventory to have a solid run at achieving a good result in the iconic race.”

Philip Turner and race crew onboard Alive. Photo Credit: D.D. McNicoll/The Australian
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Alive with Doyle jib during the 2018 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Photo Credit: Studio Borlenghi


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