Congratulations to Ullman Sails customer Paul Clitheroe and his team on TP52 Balance, which claimed the overall victory in the toughest edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race (RSHYR) in over a decade! Owner/Skipper Clitheroe and his crew also took first overall in their respective divisions in IRC and ORC. The Balance team worked closely with the Ullman Sails team in preparation for the event – 9 of the 12 sails (and all of the new sails) used in the race were designed, engineered and built by Ullman Sails.
The RSHYR – a 628nm course from Sydney, Australia to Hobart, Tasmania – is recognized as one of the most challenging and rugged offshore races in the world. This year was no exception with 31 boats in the 108-boat fleet retiring due to boat and sail damage after encountering a southerly storm that delivered 25-30 knot winds with bigger gusts against a south flowing current in the black of night. Balance sustained damage to their mainsail while it was reefed during the storm, but was able to reinforce the leech without dropping the sail and pushed onward.
Owner and skipper Paul Clitheroe attributes his team’s success in such a difficult Hobart race to three key things: “[It was] a tough Hobart. The key issue was boat maintenance… so the boat needed a strong commitment to preparation. Secondly, the crew must be physically and mentally tough. Third is tactics for a long race in complex weather systems. Get the fundamentals right, then the right sails for the conditions becomes a real advantage.”
And the Balance sail inventory proved to be a game-changer, helping the team capitalize on their lead and secure first overall. “Seriously, in this race the big differences were in front of the mast. The new headsails, a heavy and a light, drove us in very heavy and very light conditions. The new 2A and in particular the 4A were critical in very heavy downwind, very fast running, complemented with our stay sails,” Paul said. “I will never forget charging into Hobart to the finish line at some 20 knots of boat speed with [Ullman Sails’] powerful Code 0. That last two hours using our new masthead zero was a key in securing this quite amazing win in an iconic race.” Congratulations to Paul and his entire Balance team!
Balance competed with an inventory of 15 sails for this year’s RSHYR, of which the crew hoisted 12 of the 15 (they never used the storm trysail, storm jib or #5). Nine of the 12 sails used during the race were Ullman Sails, including the J1 light, offshore 3.5 jib, genoa staysail, spinnaker staysail, 1A+ spinnaker, 2A, and masthead code zero. The team also used an Ullman Sails FiberPath Phantom mainsail, which was on its second Hobart after being used in the 2014 race, and an 18-month-old 4A spinnaker. About Ullman Sails Ullman Sails, founded in 1967, is a world leader in sailmaking. Our customers trust our people, designs, products, and services to help them safely circumnavigate the globe, win world championships and everything in-between. With over 70 locations in over 20 countries Ullman Sails is able to help sailors accomplish their goals no matter where they are. Ullman Sails is dedicated to fostering the best sailing experience possible. Invest in your performance – www.ullmansails.com ### Prizegiving Ceremony with overall winner Paul Clitheroe and the crew of ‘Balance’ at the 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Photo Credit Rolex/Stefano Gattini