The Sydney to Hobart yacht Showtime in the last Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Pic: Rolex.
The Sydney to Hobart yacht Showtime in the last Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Pic: Rolex.

Showtime for little boat that could win Sydney to Hobart

It's the little racer from Sydney's northern beaches in the running to pull off a David beats Goliath moment in the 2019 Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

A little yacht with the potential to pull off one of the biggest stings in world ocean racing in the annual race south.

A boat with a mixed crew of men and women all hoping to step off it 628 nautical miles after the Sydney Harbour start on Boxing Day as overall winners of the famous Australian bluewater classic.

 

Showtime hoping to be a show stopper in the Sydney to Hobart this year. Pic: Studio Borlenghi/Rolex.
Showtime hoping to be a show stopper in the Sydney to Hobart this year. Pic: Studio Borlenghi/Rolex.

Showtime, the 40-footer owned and skippered by Newport's Mark Griffith and based out of the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club at Pittwater, has emerged as a dark horse in the race for the coveted overall honours thanks to a favourable weather forecast.

It could see the Ker 40, crewed by 10 mates from around Sydney, eclipse rivals more than twice her size and with race budgets reaching into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"We have been watching the weather every single day. If it stays like this it is a really good for us,'' said Griffith, contesting his second Sydney to Hobart with a crew including well known sailor Angelique Kear and Dave Taylor, an overall winner of the Sydney to Hobart aboard Paul Clitheroe's 52-footer Balance in 2015.

 

The yacht Balance on her way to winning the 2015 race.
The yacht Balance on her way to winning the 2015 race.

"The crew mostly come from Pittwater but we have a one or two from the harbour and one from New Zealand and we sail together quite a lot.

"We are doing this because we have got into offshore racing and didn't want to miss the 75th.

We love the hard racing and the camaraderie.''

The lightweight yacht - now a pre-race favourite with the likes of Matt Allen's 2017 winner, the 52-footer Ichi Ban - is expected to revel in the forecast s conditions which will see the fleet romp down the NSW coast the first afternoon and night in a moderate nor'easterly.

At this stage there appears to only be minimal upwind sailing and banging and crashing, something that suits Griffith and his crew.

"We are starting to get excited,'' said Balgowlah's Kear, a member of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia sailing committee and preparing to line up in her fourth Sydney to Hobart.

"I always say very reserved until we leave the pen because so much can happen.

"This is such a mixed crew. I genuinely enjoy all of their country.

"You get four weeks of annual leave a year, you want to enjoy it with people you get on with and I want to have a beer with all of them at the end of the race.''

Showtime has been spruced up for the race with improvements including a deeper lighter keel, a longer bow sprit and an enhanced sail wardrobe.

Spectators watching the start of the 2018 race. Pic: Toby Zerna
Spectators watching the start of the 2018 race. Pic: Toby Zerna
News Corp Australia

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