Ichi Ban has her eyes on the big Sydney to Hobart prize.
Ichi Ban has her eyes on the big Sydney to Hobart prize.

Ichi Ban eyes piece of Sydney to Hobart history

There's only one thing Sydney skipper Matt Allen loves more than a bit of history, and that's creating some himself.

This year he and his Ichi Ban crew have their sights set on being the first in 53 years to successfully defend their overall crown title in the Sydney to Hobart.

And the weather appears to be playing ball - to an extent.

Allen, who on Thursday morning was tracking well with his campaign as the fleet prepared to enter Bass Strait, says both the yacht and her crew are better and more prepared than a year ago when they "drove like bandits'' to claim the Tattersall Cup.

"We know a lot more about the yacht than we did this time last year," said Allen, who is also president of Australian Sailing and a driving force behind the sports Hall of Fame.

"We're looking forward to the challenge of trying to go back to back.''

Ichi Ban won last year's Sydney to Hobart just over two months after her launch.

This year she has almost a year of racing under her belt with Allen going into the race with numerous wins on handicap in lead-up race.

The last yacht to achieve successive wins was Freya between 1963-65.

Hoping to prevent Allen and his team achieving the feat are the likes of Stacey Jackson and her crew on Wild Oats X, the French entry Teasing Machine and other boats in the 40 to 66 foot range.