Howth Interest in the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race
Author: Brian Turvey Posted on: 22/12/12 Print Version

While many of us will be doing little more than trimming belts around bloated waistlines on St Stephens Day, Howth sailor Gordon Maguire, who has been resident in Australia for many years, competes again in the 2012 Rolex Sydney-Hobart race.
There are many sailors who come back time and again to pit their skills against some of the wildest weather a sailor can endure.

Gordon has competed in almost every major ocean race and regatta on the calendar including four round-the-world events aboard the Whitbread 60, Winston with Dennis Conner in 1993-94, the Volvo 60’s Silk Cut in 1997-98 and later with the Australian entry Newscorp in 2001-02. He also raced the multihulls Cheyenne and Playstation. Gordon has won most of the major regattas in the world and is probably the most credentialed skipper/helmsman in the business.

Gordon Maguire
In 1990, following a fourth place in the Whitbread Round World Race, Gordon visited Sydney for the first time with the maxi Rothmans. Rothmans took line honours in that Hobart but was penalised 10% of placings for breaching rule 26 governing advertising on spinnakers. At the time yachting administrators were trying to come to grips with sponsorship/advertising and the maxi Ragamuffin (ex-Bumblebee IV - 1979 line honours winner) was awarded the line honours title.

The visit convinced Gordon to move to Australia where he now resides on the Pittwater peninsula. He is sailing master and principle helmsman aboard Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki - playing a major role in winning the Tattersall's Cup for handicap honours in last year’s race.

"The Sydney to Hobart race can be a very mean contest in conditions that are always so unpredictable. It has a notorious reputation. This is mostly on the back of the one in five races that bite you on the arse. I am referring to several of the worst races in the event’s history namely the disastrous 1998 race, 1993 and the infamous 1984 event which decimated the fleet", Gordon said. It’s a race of so many variables and no matter how much money is thrown at getting the forecast right every sailor’s worst nightmare is the uncertainty of the Hobart, particularly the vicious east coast lows. The Hobart is a life-taker but yachtsmen the world over continue to challenge this grueling passage race".

The race starts 2am (Irish time) on St Stephens Day and over 80 yachts will compete in this 628 nautical-mile offshore contest.

Full details of this year’s race as well as a live ‘tracker� are available at: