Can An Upgraded SHK Scallywag Challenge the Mighty Andoo Comanche In The Great Race?

Can An Upgraded SHK Scallywag Challenge the Mighty Andoo Comanche In The Great Race?

The spectacle that is the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is almost upon us. Always packed with incredible feats of strategy, endurance, and engineering, as the fleet prepares for the boxing day start of The Great Race, this year promises to be no different.

A theme of Australia’s premier offshore contest is Southern Spars-rigged yachts grabbing the headlines (and the silverware) – the last time someone got on the podium without Southern Spars was in 2008.

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SHK Scallywag is no stranger to the Sydney Hobart race, with a notable history of securing 3rd over the line in 2021, 4th in 2019, and 3rd in 2016. But this year, the yacht has undergone significant changes that could not only propel her onto the podium once again but potentially boost her to the very top. With a new high performance carbon rig from Southern Spars, Scallywag boasts an increase in boat RM, and an increase in stiffness while still achieving a remarkable 450kg weight saving. This optimisation in weight distribution and righting moment could be crucial for the often brutal conditions of the Great Race.

Further enhancements to Scallywag include a transition from two checkstays to three deflectors, giving the team greater control. Working with the experts at North Sails, Scallywag’s sail plan has been modernised. Tack and halyard positions have been meticulously reviewed and updated, the mast base moved back, and the spreader sweep reduced – all contributing to a larger sail area with bigger jibs. The switch from hanked on jibs to a furling jib for ease of use underscores the balance between performance gains and practical handling in race conditions.

Aero gains have been a significant focus. A huge part of this was SHK Scallywag’s choice to upgrade to Future Fibres’ breakthrough hybrid rigging product – AEROsix — in their latest bid for Sydney Hobart gold (find out more here). But the gains also extended to aero-optimising all of Scallywag’s fittings, providing every possible advantage come race day. Safety hasn’t been overlooked either, with the latest components, HB car, and lock designs installed, as well as halyard and reef lock alarms integrated into the system. 

The increase in rig stiffness stands Scallywag in good stead, but she can bet on finding competition as stiff as ever out on the water. With line honours wins in 2022, 2019, 2017, and 2015, and the current course record set in 2017, Andoo Comanche has demonstrated that on her day, she is just about unbeatable. Yet, with Scallywag’s significant upgrades, could the playing field may be levelling out? 

Further competition comes from LawConnect, which has a fantastic record, with 2nd place finishes in the last three Sydney Hobarts. After line honours victory in the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge, she’ll take to the iconic Sydney Harbour start line with momentum and determination to go one better this time around.

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While the maxis capture much of the limelight in the battle for line honours, a host of Southern Spars-rigged mini maxis and 52-footers will have their eyes on the Tattersall Cup and overall victory. From the returning champions Celestial, who have undergone some upgrades of their own, to Fastnet Champions Caro, and a host of mini maxis like Alive, URM and Moneypenny, get a quick rundown of some of our customers battling for overall victory on the Future Fibres website.