Ramping up again for my 7th Rolex Sydney Hobart race this Boxing Day (Dec 26th) aboard a truly iconic Sparkman & Stephens design built in Tasmania:
Landfall, a one-off built in 1935, is the first Sparkman and Stephens yacht built outside of the USA. S&S was then at the beginning of what was to become the most famous yacht design firm in the world. Olin Stephens, just 25 at the time, was extremely surprised to find his first overseas commission came, not from Europe, but from Tasmania.
Built by Percy Coverdale at Battery Point, the yacht has been sailed continuously ever since. Landfall finished 7th in the 1952 Sydney Hobart and at 40 years of age she competed in the 1976 race finishing mid fleet.
…2014 Sydney to Hobart – To celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Rolex Sydney Hobart and her 80th birthday Landfall raced south again on Boxing Day. She’s now back for the international ocean racing classic in 2015! Landfall can boast being the oldest lady in the fleet that has previously contested the Sydney Hobart…
“It’s great the CYCA recognises older boats with the Corinthian division.” Mike Strong is proud of his pretty timber boat: “She was originally a Yawl and was built in Tasmania of Huon Pine. She still has the original copper nails. The boat has been checked over and is still in beautiful condition.”
Strong has owned her for 20 years and converted her to a sloop. He had sails made to suit, but the rest remains as was, and has hopes of doing well in the 628 nautical mile race.
Landfall was the beginning of the S&S dominance on the world stage, winning seven Hobart races overall. Most famous were Morning Cloud (1969) owned by Edward Heath who was to became Prime Minister of the UK in 1970, and three-time winner Love & War (1974, 1978 and 2006) owned by Peter Kurts and after his passing, son Simon.
The design has also won line honours, most notably Jim Kilroy’s Kialoa II from the USA in 1971 and in 1975, Kialoa III set a new record which she held until 1996, during which time she took line honours again, in 1977.
Still popular, there will be five S&S’s this year: Landfall, Love & War, aiming for a record fourth overall win, Tina of Melbourne (Andy Doolan), Quikpoint Azzurro purchased and lovingly restored by Shane Kearns, and Ray White Spirit of Koomooloo (Mike Freebairn). Originally Ragamuffin, she was top Australian point scorer at the 1969 Admiral’s Cup.
The start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be broadcast live on the Seven Network throughout Australia and webcast live to a global audience on Yahoo!7. Follow via the web: http://www.rolexsydneyhobart.com