Alright y'all - let's hear the form guides. Best/most good responses get brand new Anarchy swag, I am bringing a box full.
Big Boats 70-100'ers, been well covered. Oats obvious favourite, has the runs on the board, Loyal is the main threat for line honours (but who really gives a rats arse right?). Rags with it's recent changes will be better and in terms of straight line speed will be closer to Oats then ever before. They lack time on the water though and man for man, they probably don't have quite the same calibre of sailor as the Oats (and Loyal for that matter). Beau Geste is the great unknown, looks great and they are talking a big game but is it just the 2013 edition of Exile (66 footer) vs Brinda's (72 Foot at the time)? We all know water line is king but is it possible that 8 years of development can make up for 20 foot of waterline? A good campaigner, will likely beat Wild Thing home. The Volvo's will be nipping at the heels of this bunch and with the right conditions will be within reach of the maxi's.
The 50-60 footers is a likely place to look for an overall winner. Ichi Ban is a favourite but so far has not set the world on fire. Seemed tender for a modern IRC boat in the racing I have competed in against her. Great team will make the best of the conditions and will be there abouts. Wedgetail (ex RP55 Yendy's) is back and shouldn't be forgotten. She is a god uphill boat and is a possible for the "flying under the radar" award. Good size boat to reach tasman light at the right time. 2 1st Generation TP52's Free Fire and Strewth are there but will struggle offshore against the 3 Cookson 50's (Victoire (Ex Jazz, my ride this year), Pretty Fly and the fixed keel Terra Firma) will be amongst it if there is enough uphill and reaching conditions. The 2 Ker 50's Kerumba and Varuna are different in concept but got good pedigree. Kerumba hasn't set the world on fire locally and not much known down here about Varuna to give any sort of account on. The dark horse in this section will be Audi Sunshine Coast, the Welbourne 50 ex Heaven Can Wait. Good boat in the light, but struggled in a breeze (who would have ever thought that would be the case when she was re-launched in 04(??)) Previous winner SMB 3.5 is back as Primitive Cool but cant see it challenging the others this year.
The 40 foot section is the best in years. Celestial, Patrice, AFR, Chutzpah etc are all in with a good showing. All well sailed by solid and experienced teams. Possibly the most under rated but competitive segments of the fleet. Add to that a fleet of 4 Beneteau First 45's being led by Shinning Sea (ex Victoire, 2 x division winner), 4 x First 40's with Southport winner Brannew the pick of the bunch and the gaggle of Sydney 38's with Zen or TSA Management to lead the fleet of 5 home.
At the small boat end, if it is a solid blow home, Wild Rose, Luna Sea, Illusion and the S&S34 Wilparina are specials!
Betting wise, If I had a spare hundred, i'd be putting it on Patrice at $21, with the left over 50 going on Wild Rose. Hicko has had a golden run with the weather this season and has obviously takes advantage of it. Victoire, Rambler, Ichi Ban etc are all too short for any value for the overall win.
Line Honours I couldn't give a toss about, but for value, slip a few on Rags!
Hows that Clean? Leave the swag on the old mans boat at the CYCA!