Categories:Sailing

Willow announces participation in the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

PostedWillow Team

Willow is excited to announce our participation in the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

The Volvo 70 racing yacht, now named Willow, will be skippered by company Director Jim Cooney with his high-performance crew. This famous boat came to Australia in 2015 after setting many long distance records around the world under legendary Italian sailor Giovanni Soldini.

Jim Cooney first campaigned the yacht in 2016 and finished a credible sixth on Line Honours and seventh overall in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Cooney then owned the all-conquering Super Maxi Comanche, winning Line Honours and setting the race record in 2017, placing third in 2018 and winning Line Honours again in 2019’s exceptionally close hard-fought race involving all the worlds Supermaxis for the first time. Cooney also won the 2019 Transpac Los Angeles to Honolulu race with Comanche.

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is regarded as one of the world’s most challenging ocean races. This gruelling annual challenge commences in Sydney, New South Wales on Boxing Day and finishes in Hobart, Tasmania, across a course of approximately 630 nautical miles (1,170 km).

Last year’s race was cancelled for the first time in its 76 year history due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however now the race returns with a diverse fleet of 106 vessels. All six Australian states and territories are represented with few international entries due to quarantine restrictions.

Amongst this impressive fleet of highly capable competitors, Willow is well placed. Willow is crewed by many of Cooney’s established all-star team of experienced yachtsmen from Comanche. Included in this group are: Sven Runow, with 29 Hobart races to his credit; John Hildebrand, winner of 6 Hobart races; Andrew Cape, longstanding Volvo Ocean Race Navigator; Louis Sinclair, from New Zealand’s winning America’s Cup team; veteran Volvo Ocean Racers Daryl Wislang and Nick Bice, and US Team America’s Cup sailors Kyle Langford and Mal Parker.

Commenting on Willow’s prospects in the race, skipper Jim Cooney said “We are very well prepared for this race, and being built for around the world racing, Willow will perform best in strong winds and heavy weather conditions. We can confidently press our boat when others are worried about breakages, however we may find light winds very challenging. We have a great chance to do well on both Line Honours and Handicap – but like all races the result will be influenced by the changeable wind and weather conditions. We are very excited and proud to represent Willow in this iconic Australian ocean classic.”

We wish Willow and all other competing teams the best of luck in this historical event and
over the coming weeks, we look forward to sharing more content in the lead up to the race.

Follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram for all the updates.

If you would like to tune in, the Boxing Day start of the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be broadcast live on the Seven Network throughout Australia and live-and-on-demand on the 7Plus app.

Previous media
“The Art of Sponsorship”, an interview with Jim Cooney and Joshua Ridley (p.38-39) published in Offshore Magazine, Autumn 2021
Willow World, Edition 14

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