It’s On Again – the eBay auction for crew spots on maxis racing in the CYCA SOLAS Big Boat Challenge

  • Racing
  • NEWS
  • By Damian Maclennan
  • 29 Nov 2012 10:30:00
- Copyright | | David Brogan 2011 -

Wild Oats XI claims her fifth line honours win in the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge 2011


The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia has today launched its eBay auction that provides an exclusive opportunity to bid for places onboard one of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race favourites, when they compete in the CYCA’s SOLAS Big Boat Challenge – the spectacular maxi yacht race around Sydney Harbour on Tuesday 11 December.

Six Rolex Sydney Hobart entrants have offered two places onboard for the auction and they include: Wild Oats XI, Wild Thing, Lahana, Brindabella, Southern Excellence and Quest. Black Jack has also made one guest spot available for auction.

Other boats to also offer places are Hooligan, the reigning Audi IRC Australian Champion, Spirit, the former America's Cup boat, and Ginger.

One of the most exciting days on Sydney Harbour each year, the annual invitation-only maxi yacht race around some of the Harbour's most famous landmarks will again bring together a number of Rolex Sydney Hobart line honours contenders for this pre-Boxing Day showdown.

An impressive fleet of up to 20 big boats will tear up Sydney Harbour, flexing their muscles in order to gain psychological upper hand before they knuckle down and focus on the journey to Hobart.

Bob Oatley's Wild Oats XI, will be vying for their sixth line honours win in the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge. Wild Thing has spent the last 11 months in a shed in Brisbane being completely overhauled and extending her length to 100 foot, joining Wild Oats XI at the maximum length. 

This will be the sixth year that the fleet will race to raise awareness and money for the CYCA's Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Trusts, which supports search and rescue organisations Australia-wide.

Bid today for your chance to sail on board one of these yachts!

Wild Oats XI

Wild Oats XI is hungry for her sixth line honours win in the Rolex Sydney Hobart from eight starts. Wild Oats XI currently holds the record for the most consecutive line honours wins - four - she surpassed Morna's record of three in a row achieved in the 1946-1948 races when she won in 2008. Once again the Oats team has made modifications to this 100 foot super maxi all aimed at increasing the boat's light air capabilities. Two places are on offer on one of Australia's most recognized super maxis.

To make a bid for the two places on Wild Oats XI log on to:

Wild Thing

Two places on Grant Wharington's Wild Thing were also posted on eBay today. The Rolex Sydney Hobart 2003 line honours winner, Wild Thing, has now been extended to 30.48 metres (100ft) bringing her to the same length as Wild Oats XI and Ragamuffin Loyal. Improvements have also been made on Wild Thing's original hull shape.

To make a bid for the two places on Wild Thing log on to:

Lahana is a fixed keel water ballast yacht that was built in 2003 in NZ and designed by Brett Bakewell-White. Raced previously under the name Konica Minolta and Zana, Lahana is owned by Peter Millard and his brother in law John Honan. In 2011,Lahanaclaimed line honours in the Brisbane to Gladstone yacht race and was declared the overall winner of the Club Marine Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Island Yacht Race

To make a bid for the two places on Lahana log on to:


Australia's most famous maxi Brindabella, a former line honours winner of the Rolex Sydney Hobart and holder of the record for a conventionally ballasted boat (1d, 20h, 46m, 33s set in 1999). Designed by Scott Jutson, Brindabella still turns heads today with her sleek lines and elegant sail plan and still holds many Australian east coast race records including the Sydney Mooloolaba Yacht Race, Sydney Noumea Race, and the Sydney Wollongong Race.

To make a bid for the two places on Brindabella - the people's yacht, log on to:

Black Jack

One guest spot is available on Black Jack, a near-sistership to the highly successful Wild Oats X. The two have crossed swords on many occasions with almost even results. Owner Peter Harburg and his champion skipper Mark Bradford (who was in the afterguard of Investec Loyal which took line honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race last year) have produced solid results, including line and overall honours in the 2008 and 2009 Brisbane-Keppel races, in which they broke their own 2008 race record in 2009, in the new time of 29 hours 24 minutes 11 seconds.

To make a bid for one guest spot on Black Jack  log on to:


Winning the 2002 Rolex Sydney Hobart with a former Quest, Bob Steel won the 2008 Rolex Sydney Hobart with this TP52, also named Quest and returns to the Rolex Sydney Hobart following a two year break from serious ocean racing. Since arriving in Australia, Steel's third boat of the same name has won every major race on the eastern seaboard, including Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, Geelong Race Week. In anticipation of a third overall Hobart win, Steel has put his TP52 through a minor refit and invested in some new sails for this year's race.

To make a bid for the two places on Quest, log on to:

Southern Excellence

Southern Excellence is an extensively campaigned Volvo 60.  Under previous owners, the boat took line and PHS honours and set a new course record during the 2006 Gosford to Lord Howe Race, returning in 2007 to claim line honours again. The boat scored a line honours win in the 2007 Melbourne to Vanuatu race for which it also holds the record. The boat finished second overall in PHS in last year's Hobart race with a Division 1 win and in the 2012 Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race scored second again after finishing 10th on line. 

To make a bid for the two places on Southern Excellence log on to:


One guest spot is available on Hooligan. Hooligan has been crowned Australian IRC champion two years running and since hitting the Australian Grand Prix circuit in late 2009 has claimed a string of victories along the east coast including winning the Rolex Trophy Series in 2010 and 2011. One guest spot is available on this top performing TP52.

To make a bid for the one place on Hooligan log on to:

AUS 40 - America's Cup Yacht

Originally FRA 40, she was built by the Challenge of the Antibes Yacht Club for the 1995 America's Cup in San Diego. It wasn't finished in time so did not race but was completed in 1998 and brought to New Zealand by the Swiss team FAST 2000 as a trial boat for the 2000 America's Cup in Auckland.

To make a bid for the two places on Spirit log on to:


This 60 foot Swan is a well-tuned ocean racer owned by Leslie Green. In 2011 Ginger took the line and IRC double win in a foggy Ocean Pointscore race to Port Hacking and is a regular CYCA competitor. She also won the Rolex Trophy Series Passage race in 2008.  

To make a bid for the two places on Ginger log on to:


Bidding for all ten items will close on 7th December 2012.  Terms and conditions apply, see the individual URL's for details.


The CYCA SOLAS Trusts Charity was set up as a charitable trust in 1999 as a result of the tragic events of the 1998 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. To date almost $727,000 has been donated to search and rescue organizations Australia wide and has provided financial support to immediate families of those lost at sea during Yachting Australia sanctioned races. The CYCA SOLAS Trusts also aims to foster & fund research and training in safety and rescue procedures.


By Jennifer Crooks, CYCA Media


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