International shipping schedules have ended the dream of 'Alfa Romeo' skipper Neville Crichton of making a line honours win in the 2004 Rolex Sydney to Hobart the 75th win that the remarkable Australian super maxi yacht has captured since its launch in 2002.
"It really is very disappointing," says Neville Crichton, who captured the line honours win in the 2002 Rolex Sydney to Hobart. "But there was just one ship that could get Alfa Romeo back to Australia in time for race and even then with little time to properly prepare for what is one of the toughest and most demanding yacht races in the world. But that ship has now pushed her schedule out another ten days and that has ended any hope of getting Alfa Romeo back to Australia in time for the race."
Alfa Romeo took line honours in the 2002 Rolex Sydney to Hobart, leading the field from start to finish. She then went to Europe, via the Millennium Cup in New Zealand, for the 2003 and 2004 seasons with full sponsorship from Alfa Romeo and, in 2004, Murphy and Nye in of the largest sports sponsorship programmes for an Australian team ever seen. During this time she took her line honours tally to 74 including the 2003 Rolex Fastnet race, the Rolex Giraglia Cup with a race record in 2003, the Maxi Worlds, the Barcolana and the Trophy Zegna. She ended her European season in dramatic style with a capsize in a wild storm, which the team recovered from to still take line honours in the Rolex Middle Sea Race.
"All our efforts are now focused on the 2005 Rolex Sydney to Hobart," says Neville Crichton. "Construction is now well underway on the successor to Alfa Romeo, which will be as advanced over Alfa Romeo as she was over her predecessor. We plan to launch the new yacht in July next year and we have set ourselves the target of beating the record set by Alfa Romeo, 74 line honours wins in two and half years."