Clipper Race: High Note for HotelPlanner

Published on December 31st, 2017

(December 31, 2017) – HotelPlanner.com has scooped the pool at the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Prize Giving, with the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race team awarded not only the plaque for winning the Clipper 70 Class, but also the Rani Trophy for Most Meritorious Performance.

Conall Morrison, the Skipper of HotelPlanner.com, was given a standing ovation when he was given the Rani Trophy, which was judged by the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Committee, and awarded by the Governor of Tasmania, Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AM.

The vocal crowd in Hobart was soon back on its feet when Conall returned to the stage a short time later to collect the trophy for first place in the Clipper 70 Class.

“It’s an awesome feeling, like a little kid’s dream come true,” says Conall.

“The whole team worked so hard during the race and all our time put into safety has paid off. I definitely feel sorry for Wendy and Sanya Serenity Coast who has had to give up their first place again, but I think it is very deserved for everyone in my team. We sailed a good race, kept our eyes on the wind and changes, did loads of sail changes – especially near the end – and really pushed.

“I couldn’t be prouder and it’s a credit not only to the crew on board but for the entire HotelPlanner.com team.”

HotelPlanner.com won the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Clipper 70 Class after being granted a 120 minute redress for going to the assistance of a fellow competitor shortly after race start on Boxing Day.

The Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, John Markos, made special mention of the HotelPlanner.com team, commending them for retrieving the man out of the water in 15 minutes.

Round the world crew member on board HotelPlanner.com, Graham Hill, says: “Conall has drilled us on MOBs and we understand what we have to do. Everything came together as it should have done. We knew our places, we knew our jobs, and we just put it into practise.

“Then the actual race itself was fantastic because we had to pull all the stops out.”

Fellow round the worlder Adrian Hemmes, who was the rescue swimmer during the recovery, adds: “Basically what happened is the Clipper Race training kicked in and everything worked like clockwork to be honest.

“In Leg 3 we were behind as well because we had to divert to Port Elizabeth, so we were used to the situation of being behind and we knew that we could catch up. So, we thought we are just going to keep racing, we are going to get the fleet and work hard, and that’s exactly what happened.”

Whilst Sanya Serenity Coast Skipper Wendy Tuck missed out on another Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race win, she was awarded the Jane Tate Memorial Trophy for being the first female Skipper across the line. Wendy says: “It’s one of the trophies when you first start racing that you think if I ever got to Skipper a boat that would be the pinnacle to actually win. So, it’s pretty amazing to get it twice.”

Wendy also collected the Jane Tate Memorial trophy, named after the first woman to complete a Rolex Sydney Hobart competitor in 1946, when she won the Clipper 70 Class in 2015 as Skipper of Da Nang – Viet Nam. But the Sanya Serenity Coast Skipper had to fight hard for the honour this time around. Zoe Taylor, the Skipper aboard Grace O’Malley, entered the Derwent River first but was overtaken by Wendy and her team just four miles from the finish.

Wendy explains: “Zoe is a friend of mine and when we were overtaking I was like, ‘oh that’s Zoe and Grace O’Malley’. I went and saw her after we had finished and we both didn’t realise at the time that we were in a battle for the trophy. We were both just sailing and it wasn’t until after that I found out what had been at stake which was a lovely surprise.”

Wendy and Garmin Skipper Gaëtan Thomas were also given pennants for coming second and third in the Clipper 70 Class, whilst Invictus Games Sydney 2018 GAME ON Skipper Will Parbury was also presented with the Oggin Cup for being the first Armed Services yacht on corrected time.

The Clipper Race teams will enjoy the wonderful hospitality of Hobart for a few more days before getting back down to business to prepare for the third and final race of the All-Australian Leg 4. The fleet will depart Hobart at 1100, local time, on Friday 5 January to race up the east coast of Australia to Airlie Beach, where the crew will be welcomed by the inaugural Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival. For more information about the event, which runs from 13 to 29 of January, see the Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival website.

The full Clipper Race fleet will be berthed at King’s Pier Marina until the start of Race 6 on Friday 5 January 2018.


Event detailsRace factsRace viewerFacebook

The fourth stage of the Clipper 2017-18 Race, officially known as Race 4: The Clipper Telemed+ Tasman Test, includes three races along the Australian coast. The 11 teams will race from Fremantle to Sydney, Sydney to Hobart, and Hobart to Airlie Beach in the heart of the picturesque Whitsunday Islands.

The first of three races started December 2 for the 2500nm course from Fremantle to Sydney.

The All-Australian Leg is the fourth of eight legs that make up the 40,000-nautical mile, eleven-month Clipper 2017-18 Race.

Background: Held biennially, the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race got underway August 20 for the fleet of twelve* identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. The 40,000nm course is divided into 13 individual races with the team having the best cumulative score winning the Clipper Race Trophy. Each team is led by a professional skipper with an all-amateur crew that signs up for one, some, or all the races. The 2017-18 race, expected to take 11 months, has attracted 712 people representing 41 nationalities, making it the largest to date.

* Twelve teams began the first leg but one yacht (Greenings) ran aground just hours after the start on October 31 of the third leg from Cape Town, South Africa to Fremantle, Australia. The crew was safely evacuated but damage to the boat was deemed too extensive for it to continue in the 2017-18 edition.

Race RouteRace Schedule and Miles

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Source: Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

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