There have been 60 applications to for the Sydney Hobart race with still two weeks still to go before the deadline

Sixty yachts have now been nominated for the 60th Anniversary Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, and with two weeks still to go to the deadline for Applications to Enter for the 628 nautical blue water classic, a fleet of up to 120 boats is being confidently forecast.

The Cruising Yacht Yacht of Australia today received the 60th Application to Enter from well known Sydney yachtsman Sean Langman with his spectacularly fast downwind flyer AAPT (pictured).

Described as a “skiff on steroids”, AAPT is an MBD 66 previously called Grundig and designed by Andy Dovell, with a record of a second and third across the line in the previous two Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Races against the super maxis. The CYCA has given skipper Langman bow number 60 for AAPT to mark the 60th nomination. “It might give us that extra bit of luck?perhaps lots of downwind sailing,” he commented today.

“We know we can beat the maxis and super maxis downwind; in fact, we had a good break over Skandia for most of the Brisbane to Gladstone Race and won that race on corrected time.”

Langman has yet to decide whether to race the 628 nautical miles to Hobart with a crew of six or eight, but the crew already includes Olympic 49er class sailors Chris Nicholson and Gary Boyd. Boyd is also crewing for Langman on his 18-footer, also named AAPT with sponsorship from the communications company.

Whilst he has made only a few changes to the boat, Langman today hinted of a “secret weapon” for the Rolex Sydney Hobart. “We are getting a new type of spinnaker made in America, something that has never been seen before from a company that has been working with NASA on its space programme,” he said guardedly.

Langman and his crew are already in intensive training for the rugged race, sailing twice or three times almost every week and undergoing a fitness programme with a personal trainer. “You have to be fit to sail a long ocean race with a small crew. Last year we had eight for the Rolex Sydney Hobart, this year we may sail with only six,” he said.

Tomorrow, Langman will skipper AAPT in the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s prestigious Gascoigne Cup off Sydney Heads, sailing with a crew of 15 that includes seven teenage sailors from the CYCA’s Youth Sailing Academy.

The following Saturday, the crew will be back to eight for the start of the 414 nautical mile Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race, with AAPT favourite for line honours.