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Record drives 2015 Hobart hard luck story

AAP logoAAP 23/12/2016 Adrian Warren

A 41-year-old record and 30-year-old sail are big drivers for Shane Kearns as he tries to overcome the lingering disappointment of just missing out last year on Sydney to Hobart handicap honours.

Kearns, and the 34-foot yacht he bought on his credit card, captured the imagination of the sailing world in late December 2015 as it looked increasingly likely to be declared the overall winner.

Sadly, Quikpoint Azzuro found itself parked in the Derwent as the breeze disappeared and had to settle for third.

Kearns said the outcome would continue stinging until the yacht, now called Komatsu Azzuro, started this year's race.

However, an overall win isn't the only goal Kearns has targeted.

He wants to beat the fastest time for a Sydney-Hobart yacht under 11 metres - set by by Pied Piper which, in 1975, finished in three days seven hours 38 minutes and 58 seconds.

The long-range weather forecast has suggested Wild Oats XI's line-honours race record of one day, 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds could be beaten and the bigger yachts being favoured for handicap honours.

Kearns is adamant he can trump the four supermaxis for the overall trophy if his entry can achieve the record he has set his sights on.

"As much as they are saying the big boats might break the (line honours) record, if the small boats break their own records, that pushes out the big boats again," Kearns told AAP.

"They would have to have a really massive time."

A modernised hull, a carbon rudder and a 30-year-old "blooper' sail, which Kearns calls his secret weapon, are among the changes from last year he hopes will make his yacht faster.

Kearns and his crew have become used to the fickle nature of the weather having also found themselves becalmed in a number of races during this year's Blue Water pointscore.

"We've learnt to try everything, to just keep the boat going in the slightest bit of breeze," Kearns said.

"Don't crack up and try and kill each other because of frustration and tiredness.

"You're not allowed to say anything negative."

They stayed silent while parked last year in the Derwent, but Kearns was still able to see the funny side of his misfortune.

"My health care was going to give me anti-loser pills because I was so depressed," he joked.

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