2002 Rolex Sydney To Hobart Winner Takes On Europe

Published: Fri 2 May 2003 09:10 AM
Alfa Romeo, the Line Honours winner of the 2002 Rolex Sydney to Hobart race, has secured full backing from leading European car maker, Alfa Romeo, and support from Qantas, to enable her and a 24 strong Australian and New Zealand crew to take on Europe's best yachtsman this northern summer in some of the world's most prestigious sailing events.
"The Sydney to Hobart race, along with the 35 other wins in Alfa Romeo's unbeaten record, proved to Alfa Romeo that we could deliver both the coverage and the positive image that they want in Europe," says skipper and owner of Alfa Romeo, Neville Crichton. "The fact that this coverage had extended around the world was proven to me at this year's Geneva Motor Show, where the media was almost as interested in our yacht and its race victories, as they were in the new Alfa models launched at the motor show! I almost could not believe that as well as media kits on the new Alfa Romeo GT Coupe, Kamal and Alfa sports cars, there were media kits on us. For Qantas our European tour represents a superbly economical way to place their name in front of Europe's affluent business travellers in support of their Rome, London, Paris and Frankfurt services."
Alfa Romeo will make her European debut in Portofino for the Trofeo Zegna on 9 to 11 May, before going to St Tropez for the Rolex Giraglia Cup on 23 to 29 June. Alfa Romeo has already demonstrated her ability to cope with tough sea conditions during testing off shore near Sydney, providing her with an excellent basis for the infamous Rolex Fastnet Race on 10 August. Rounding off Alfa Romeo's 2003 European season will be the Rolex Maxi Worlds in Sardinia on 7 to 13 September.
"Alfa Romeo started her winning streak in Australia and we are very happy that, with the support of Alfa Romeo, we have been able to bring her and some of the world's leading sailors to Europe," says Neville Crichton. "Alfa Romeo was designed to be highly competitive in all types of racing conditions and not to be specialist yacht. We, therefore, believe that despite the very different nature of these races we have the yacht and the crew to be line honours winners in all the events."
Neville Crichton started sailing competitively while still at school, buying his first yacht by saving his pocket money and he has been ocean racing for more than 20 years, during which time he had built up an impressive account of race wins, as well as a wealth of competitive experience.
Over half of the crew of Alfa Romeo, a 24 strong team of professional sportsmen, have contested the America's Cup, including Neville Crichton who was part of the Team New Zealand in Perth in 1986. From the most recent America's Cup in Auckland earlier this year, Alfa Romeo counts amongst her crew four crew members from Team New Zealand and one from Alinghi, the winner of the World's most coveted sailing trophy.
Although the crew includes a Frenchman and a Briton, Alfa Romeo's crew is very much a Southern Hemisphere challenge to Europe's best, the New Zealand born Neville Crichton leading a team almost equally split between the Kiwis and Australians.
"We did not put a team together with the idea of producing Southern Hemisphere team to take on Europe's best, but that is how it seems to have worked out," says Neville Crichton. "Add the fact that Alfa Romeo was built in Australia and fitted out in New Zealand, plus the fact that the Kiwis will want to prove something after our loss of the America's Cup and I think it's fair to say that we will be adding a unique and new competitive edge from Down Under to this season's European racing."
Alfa Romeo is, quite simply, the state of the art in racing maxi yacht design, from her sleek Reichel/Pugh design, through carbon fibre construction and sails. She was design in the USA, the hull was constructed in Australia and she was launched and fitted out in New Zealand. As much a racing machine as a Formula One car, she is, nevertheless, highly stylish both above and below deck and it is this combination of performance, style and advanced design that attached Alfa Romeo to sponsor the team, first in Australia and New Zealand and now in Europe.
Alfa Romeo - the background
Long and lean looking, with a striking silver hull, Alfa Romeo has proven to be the boat to beat in the British Trophy, taking the trophy with six wins in six races. Alfa Romeo also took line honours and the handicap win the Canon Big Boat race on Sydney Harbour on 13 December, while in the Bird Island race, she finished a massive five hours and 41 minutes ahead of her competition, confirming her position has the yacht to beat in the 2002 Rolex Sydney to Hobart.
Alfa Romeo dominated the Flinder's Island race, with another faultless performance, finishing more than an hour ahead of her competitors and rivals in the 2002 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race and she won all four races in the JP Morgan Regatta. Alfa Romeo took line honours in all nine races at Hamilton Island in August, soundly beating the fully tuned other maxis in both the short and long races. On corrected time she finished with an impressive scorecard of 2-1-5-4-2-2-3-3-1.
Alfa Romeo's win in the 85 nautical mile Coral Sea Race was an eye-opener for her likely competition for Line Honours in the Sydney Hobart Race, setting a scorching pace in the tropical waters of North Queensland. She finished 58 minutes ahead of the 84-footer Australian Skandia Wild Thing, with another 66 minutes to the 80-footer Brindabella in a time of 8 hours 24 minutes 27 seconds.
Alfa Romeo was outstanding in winning the final 22 nautical mile Lindeman Island Race, leading from start to finish for an elapsed time of 2 hours 20 minutes, just outside the race record, and 17 minutes ahead of the next maxi yacht.
But the highlight of the career of Alfa Romeo so far is its line honours win in the 2002 Rolex Sydney to Hobart. Alfa Romeo took the lead in a rain sodden Sydney Harbour, out sailing the other fancied competitors and avoiding the accidents that claimed other boats. She then held the lead all the way to Hobart sailing in more than hour ahead of her rivals in, despite the very light winds, the second fastest winning time in the history of the race.
Alfa Romeo's next port of call was Auckland, for the Millennium Cup, a support race for the America's cup series and, with a clean sweep of Line Honours titles, Alfa Romeo took her unbeaten winning tally to 36 races.
Alfa Romeo: Her Crew
Name Resume
Antony Mutter
" 3 times New Zealand OK Dinghy Champion
" Whitbread 97/98 - Swedish Match - Trimmer / Sail Co-ordinator
" Volvo 01/02 - SEB - Watch Captain / Sail Co-ordinator
" America's Cup 2000 - Abracadabra - Sail Maker
Carl Watson
David Rolfe " 97/98 Whitbread Race (Swedish Match)
" 01/02 Volvo race (SEB)
" 98/99 America's Cup (Japan)
" 93 Admirals Cup (Australia)
" 99 World Match Racing Regatta (2nd) New Zealand
Erle Williams " 3 Whitbread Round the World Races
" 2 America's Cup
" 3 Admiral's Cup
" 3 Kenwood Cup New Zealand
James Beck " 1999 & 2002 Sydney - Hobart
" 2nd 18ft Skiff World Titles 1993 Australia
Joe Spooner " America's Cup Team New Zealand 2000 - 2003. Main
" Volvo Round the World Race July - November 2001
" Fastnet Race, England.
" Round Gotland Race, Sweden
" Cowes Week, England
" 1996 Member of New Zealand Olympic Yachting Team, Savannah, USA.
Reserve in Finn Class New Zealand
Jonathan MacBeth " 2000 - 2003 America's Cup
" Hamilton Island Race Week
" Antigua Race Week - Morning Glory
" Fastnet Race New Zealand
Jonathan Morris " 12 Sydney - Hobart
" 4 Kenwood Cups
" 1 Admirals Cup
" 6 x IOR 50' world cup regattas
" 2 Australia cups
" 1 China Sea Regatta
" 6 Hamilton Island Series
" San Francisco Big Boat Series
" 1 Ton Cup Australia
Lance Jenkins " Australia
Michael Coxon " Australia
Murray Spence " 2002 Line Honours winner, Rolex Sydney to
Boat Manager Australia
Neville Crichton " NZ first America's Cup challenge, Perth
" 2 Admirals Cup
" 2 Fastnet Races
" 2 World 2- tonne Cup (1st and 2nd)
" 1 Transpac Race
" 3 Clipper Cups (top boat in 2)
" 4 Sydney - Hobart races (line honours winner in 2002) New
Noel Drennan " 3 x Olympic Campaigns (Soling) representing
" 2 x Australian National Soling Championships
" 1 x World Series Etchell Championships
" 3 x Sydney to Hobart wins
" 19 x Sydney to Hobart races
" Stars & Stripes America's Cup Team 1999 - 2000
" Coach/B Boat Trimmer & Co-ordinator, Starts & Stripes
Cup Team 2002/2003
" Trimmer/Helmsman, Illbruck Challenge, Volvo Round the World
Race winner 2001/2002 Australia
Paul Montague " Australia
Peter Merrington " Volvo Ocean race, Trimmer/Helm (DJUICE)
" 8 Sydney Hobart races including 1 line honours
" America's Cup racing 2002 (Victory Challenge Sweden)
" Admirals and Kenwood cups New Zealand
Ryan Godfrey " Australia
Stefan Fodor " 2003 60ft. ORMA trimaran circuit with Sodebo
" America's Cup 2000 - Abracadabra
" America's Cup 2003 - Le Defi Areva
" 1999 - present Mari Cha III campaign France
Steve Jarvin " World Match Racing Champion 1990/91
" America's Cup 92
" Etchell world Champion 93
" Etchell National Champion
" Olympics 96 (Atlana) represented Australia in Soling class
" 16 Hobarts (5 line honour wins)
" Current holder of race record for Sydney / Hobart Race on Nokia
" 2000 Olympic Coach for Bermuda Sailor of Star Class (4th
" Sailed with Dennis Conner from 1992 to 2003
" 3 New Zealand National Etchell Championships 1998, 2000, 2002
Stuart Bettany " Volvo Round the World Race (Illbruck Challenge)
/ 02 - 1st place
" America's Cup 2000 (Young America)
" Whitbread Round the World Race 97/98 - 4th Place
" 4 Fastnet Races (1st once)
" 4 Sydney to Hobart Races (1st twice)
" International Matchracing circuit New Zealand
Tim Dengate " United Kingdom
Wade Morgan " 4th in Etchell Worlds 2003 6th in the world
" 4 x Sydney to Hobart in Total - 1st place in 2002 Sydney -
Hobart on Alfa Romeo
" Numerous Eastern Australian Ocean Races
" 2 Asian Circuits
" Young Australia America's Cup Challenge 2002 Australia
Will McCarthy " 2003 Americas Cup - Winner - Alinghi
" 2003 Louis Vuitton Cup - Winner - Alinghi
" 2001 - 2003 Team Alinghi
" 2001 Fastnet - 2nd - Nicorette
" 2001 Farr 40 Worlds - 6th
" Etchell Worlds - 4th
" Sydney to Hobart - 1st Line Honours - Nicorette
" 2000 Gotlandt Runt - 2nd - Nicorette Australia
ALFA ROMEO - technical details
Skipper: Neville Crichton
Clubs: Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia
Sail No: NZL 80
Designers: Reichel/Pugh, USA
Builders: McConaghy Boats, Sydney, Australia
Construction: Carbon fibre hull, keel, rudder, mast
working sails
Mast: Southern Spars, Auckland, New Zealand
Sails: North Sails, Sydney, Australia
LOA: 27.43m (90 ft)
Beam: 5.6m (18.3 ft)
Draft: 4.0m (13.1ft)
Alfa Romeo - The Web Site
Every aspect of Alfa Romeo is available for detailed inspection on a web site dedicated to the world's fasted super maxi racing yacht, with detailed pictures inside and out available for downloading and technical information on the 2002 Rolex Sydney to Hobart line honours winner. The site may be found linked from the Alfa Romeo Australia web site,
For further information

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