The Sydney to Hobart yacht race starts today. Perhaps it gets some of you excited, but let’s face it, those Super Maxis have got nothing on these virtual spaceships which contest the America’s Cup.

For its next trick, it will do a reverse double somersault with pike

This boat pictured here is set to race in next year’s event in San Francisco Bay. Its sail is bigger than the wing of a Boeing 747 and it can literally go faster than the wind. When it’s really flying, it really is, well, flying! Only the fin touches the water.

Cricket or sailing on the telly today? Both? Neither? How was Christmas? Anything else you feel like sharing?

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    • Gregg says:

      05:05am | 26/12/12

      The Americas Cup certainly ain’t ever going to be how it used to be and you have to wonder whether technology has taken some of the sailing out of sailing and likewise with the Sydney Hobart it has become who will maxi outmuscle amongst the maxis but at least it is still boats that at least resemble boats that have to be sailed a considerable distance through whatever conditions the ocean weather throws at them.

      And then there’s always one of the asianisation forms of religion for Xmas with our closest neighbour, throwing rotten eggs and other lovelies and I suppose not too dissimilar with protests we get over plans for mosques and schools

    • yeah-no says:

      10:10am | 26/12/12

      There’s no more boring sport for a specator than sailing. You can’t really see the skill and effort that goes into it unless you’re on board.  Why does anyone care which billionaire’s boat reaches Hobart first anyway?

    • Dr B S Goh Australian in Asia says:

      05:35am | 26/12/12

      Extremely impressive space age boat built with technology of rocket science. After the America Cup race will it be available for rent by the people smugglers to bring in their customers to Australia?

      Aristole the refugee Advocate IN AUSTRALIA, claimed recently that at least 30,000 boatpeople will land on our shores by next election.

      I am a Refugee ADVOCATE for the WORLD, In my view if we have YY billions of dollars a year to spend on refugees they should be spent on some of the most desperate refugees like the Rohingyas, see In total there are about 43,000,000 refugees worldwide with many dying each day in the most atrocious manner.

      We should not allow the boatpeople crashing into Australia to hijack our humane refugee program. We are an expensive country to run refugee camps with bridging visas.

    • Gregg says:

      07:59am | 26/12/12

      To be accurate Doc., it is not 43M refugees but somewhere about 15M and 28M officially classed as Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, people in camps in their own countries and the fact that all refugee camps are predominantly as close as possible to countries from which people have fled underlines the UNHCR policy for that because the majority of refugees they and other NGOs care for in camps want to return to their own countries ASAP.

      It also underlines the suspect reasoning for all the people using people smugglers to get to Australia and it is well beyond time that the Australian Government really got some smarts about them and started negotiations with the UNHCR to pot more funds into refugee camps and have people using people smugglers transported directly to a camp.

      Aristotle’s claim btw is not rocket science either but just an extrapolation of monthly numbers arriving recently but it could be far less given that hopefully there will be few attempts during the monsoon season for the next few months at least.
      Then again, the numbers could well balloon past 30,000 if weekly figures of say 1000 start occurring after the monsoon season and that is highly possible too given current enticement of a policy that sees more direct release into communities and welfare payments to allow people probably a better quality of life than they have ever had and all without working.

      You could even get people who do have some wealth attempting the trip knowing that when in Australia they can start transferring funds in from abroad, it being the new quicker form of immigration to the promised land of milk and honey for free for many.

    • Mik says:

      08:16am | 26/12/12

      Alternatively the UN could do its job and put such pressure on countries/regimes that are creating refugees that they are compelled to create a little more fairness for their citizens. People will put up with a lot before they flee so even little positive changes can make a difference. By definition, refugees are people who didn’ t want to leave their countries.

    • Gregg says:

      09:57am | 26/12/12

      Problem with the UN attempting to put pressure on different regimes/countries is that you usually have disagreement at Security Council level and so one or other of the five permanent members with Veto power often vetoing stronger action.
      In Syria for instance you have Russia as a friendly of Syria and likewise in the Balkans a decade or so ago when it was eventually a NATO led action.
      And then even with Syria, whom do you believe, the government re insurgents or whichever faction of the rebellous and if you look at what has transpired in the other spring uprising countries or whatever they want to call it, a new future is possibly not as good as what people already had and likely less peaceful.

    • Mik says:

      10:37am | 26/12/12

      @ Gregg, exactly so, the UN not working as it should so real solutions are not found.

    • Gregg says:

      04:23pm | 26/12/12

      It’s not quite as rubbery as somewhere between 15M and 28M Doc. but more likely somewhere around 11-13M for refugees, my figures being based on what I had seen of a UNHCR report some twelve months back and so I extrapolated a little.

      Even given the likes of what is currently happening with Syria, it is quite possible that other areas have stabilised some and if you go to a UNHCR site page like and click on something like total persons of concern, you can get their latest spread sheet, for 2010 or 2011 and you will find
      Refugees plus those in refugee like position about 10.55M
      IDPs approximately 34M
      Interesting comment there too of asylum seekers numbers seeking asylum in industrialised countries is increasing so I suppose the theme for looking for a better economic future is continuing and needs to be addressed by industrialised countries.

      The former Immigration Minister in the LNP government, Phillip Ruddock is on record several years ago as having become aware that many people in unindustrialised countries abroad are using seeking asylum as the new means to emigrate, they being people who would not otherwise meet skilled immigration requirements.

    • Philosopher says:

      04:46pm | 26/12/12

      I didn’t realise Aristotle had commented on the refugee issue of Australia…?

    • Gregg says:

      05:44am | 26/12/12

      The Pope had a Xmas message, not that I have listened to it or read it but just saw a heading:
      ” Pope Benedict urges people to find room for God as he leads Catholics into Christmas “
      I suppose it was too much with the recent condemnation of same sex relationships that he would have urged people to find room for other people as perhaps that is what any god like good thoughts would include.

      I wonder how many catholics have ever been in confessionals about their sexual orientation and what have they been told by priests.

    • yeah-no says:

      10:14am | 26/12/12

      ‘...and what they have been told by priests’....many of whom are gay, but under pressure to follow the Vatican line. It’s even possible that there’s been a gay Pope in history who nevertheless condemned other gays. What a hyporisy-riddled outfit the church is.

    • Michael S says:

      07:18am | 26/12/12

      Hope everyone on The Punch - the journalist team, the staff that put the site together, and the contributors of comments - had a great Christmas.

      Today, I’ll be at the MCG for the Boxing Day Test. Unfortunately Mitchell Starc won’t.
      Absolutely ridiculous piece of selection. Starc raving mad.
      It treats the opposition with disrespect to not select the best team you can - and that sort of thing can come back to bite you. And if they’re not going to select the best possible team, they shouldn’t charge the best possible prices.

    • Gregg says:

      07:46am | 26/12/12

      A Boxing Day test would be a great event for any cricketer and especially for a younger one and it being his first.
      It does seem the selectors have gone somewhat cotton ballish because of the injuries to Cummins and Pattinson but to say Starc has been over bowled or is in danger of it is just ridiculous especially seeing as he had to sit out the first couple of tests against SA and even more ridiculous in that he may have even been a factor that could have changed the result of the series.

      He is young and has showed his mettle and should be allowed to let rip and then there is the possibility that Clarke with a suspect Hamstring being overcome could play and so some irony in that.
      No wonder Starc would be rather pissed and that could just affect his attitude in the future too.

      Enjoy your day at the G Michael.

    • Martin H says:

      08:30am | 26/12/12

      Our selectors have lost the plot, a fully fit bowler (Starc) being rested in case he hurts himself and a half fit batsman (Clarke) to play so he can do further damage to his hamstring, insane. Just to rub it in, I hope Sri Lanka win.

    • Gregg says:

      10:02am | 26/12/12

      At least Bird has already shown something with a wicket maiden in his second over but how crazy to have Johnson who could not even get a game last test and a completely new bowler taking the new ball.
      Typically, Johnson’s first ball was well wide of the mark and even though he has gone for a few since, he has tightened up a bit and bowled some reasonable balls - hot off the ground and he has struck, bending the stumps back in his fourth over!

    • iansand says:

      07:42am | 26/12/12

      That foil technology has gone mainstream in a development class called a moth.  11 feet long, single handed,  monohull and 85 sq feet of sail.  Apart from that you can do what you want.  They look quite eerie on foils - there is no pitching caused by waves and they sail on incredibly smoothly.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      07:55am | 26/12/12

      Here we go again with our damned politicians & their silly promises!
      For almost 3 years we have had Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey, Julie Bishop, Scott Morrison frpm the Coalition Opposition banging on & on & on about all of Gillard’s, Swan’s et al. (‘et al’ is a polite way of saying ‘other trash) Broken Promises.
      Now we have the Coalition doing exactly the same! They promised $4 billion to NSW, Vic & Qld for major road projects to beigin almost as soon as they win office.
      Now their Transport spokesman, Warren truss, has told us that these projects are unlikely to start, or at least the actual building, job-creating part of them, for at least a couple of years or more!
      That, as we all know, is nothing more than polyspeak, public service gobbledegook, which actually means:
      “These projects will not go ahead at all”
      When are these damn-fool politicians going to learn?
      Are they so arrogant that they still believe the Voters trust them or anything they say?
      If we have nothing else to thank Gillard for it is that she finally opened our eyes & minds to just how untrustworthy & dishonest our politicians are.
      When will they stop with the nonsense of making “Promises”?
      “There will be NO CO2 tax”, “Come hell or high water we will bring in a Surplus”, “The Surplus is not an option, it will come in” etc.
      Sure, let them put up “Proposals”, tell us what their Policies are, but for F#$%‘s sake stop with the Promises.
      Preface every Proposal with ” Finances permitting, we plan to do build a 6-lane bridge from Melbourne to Tasmania” (Yes, I know that’s an absurd proposition at present & that’s why I made it).
      The Coalition Parties, having hounded the appalling ALP Federal Government over their broken promises, are now laying themselves open for the ALP to do exactly the same to them.
      Bloody Fools - the lot of them!

    • iansand says:

      08:58am | 26/12/12

      I can only assume that you are 14 if you have only just discovered the duplicity of politicians.

    • Gregg says:

      10:15am | 26/12/12

      ” Now their Transport spokesman, Warren truss, has told us that these projects are unlikely to start, or at least the actual building, job-creating part of them, for at least a couple of years or more! “

      Fair crack of the whip Robbie for first thing the opposition will need to do on winning power is to get to terms with just how much deficit and debt the current government has left for them and that will not even include all the promises for the future, like Gillard is outlining stuff for 2018!

      Even when a new government has had a good look at the reality of the situation and started to prioritise their programs, even road building projects will always have quite a bit of time on the drawing board with state government departments needing to have finalised even any plans that might be in preliminary stages of design, there needing to be initial route determinations and they can even be varied depending on what is found re water courses, ground conditions which will require testing programs and various environmental concerns that will likely come up.

      Once that is done and a final plan developed, there is then going to be a tendering stage and on awarding, construction companies will be allowed a length of time to get their site offices, construction equipment and staffing organised.

      All the above for a significant project can in fact take easily a year and more for it to be done properly and so minimise wastage.
      But for sure, any projects will always be subject to financial conditions and Labor and Gillard are great examples of wanting to ignore that, the number of guesses they have made on the budget alone a beauty to behold when it comes to ugliness as another Robbie Oakeywildshott would likely say.

    • yeah-no says:

      10:20am | 26/12/12

      @iansand, the problem is that voters are eternally optimistic that the governments that we punish for their sins are replaced by a more virtuous lot. Worse than that, we want to believe these promises and we punish those who don’t make such rash, vote-buying promises by withholding our votes.  Truth is, we don’t want to pay the taxes that would fund the things we want the governments to do. That quote from the Jack Nicholson quote is apt: ‘you want the truth? You can’t handle the truth.’

    • PJ says:

      10:28am | 26/12/12

      To understand the Coalitions position, you need to understand that if they win the next election, they will inherent the debts of the biggest spending spree in Australian history.

      Monies have been fluttered away on carbon tax protections and vote inducing ‘entitlements’ to the extent that there has been no money left for policy, or something enduring for Australians like Gronski or NDIS, which remain at best small trial pilot schemes due to lack of Funding.

      In your name and under gloomy global economic circumstances the Gillard Government has delivered for you $300 Billion debt, $120 plus Billion in Budget deficits. You are looking at paying the debt given to you by only 4 years of Labor for the next 130 years.

      Perhaps the crime of the century is the loss of the Mining Boom due to unprecedented taxation, when we already enjoyed royalties.

      So you see, any new incoming Government is going to be firefighting lack of money blazes.

    • A Voter says:

      11:07am | 26/12/12


      I share your angst but I have long ago given up on politicians. I used to think of them as salesmen who try to convince us to “buy” their product (policies); now, I just think of them as con-men.

      p/s perhaps I should use “sales-people” and “con-people” as they’re not gender specific smile

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      12:35pm | 26/12/12

      @PJ- “Monies have been fluttered away on carbon tax protections and vote inducing ‘entitlements’ to the extent that there has been no money left for policy”

      Coalition are going to get rid of middle class welfare such as Baby Bonus, Schoolkids Bonus, Maternity leave etc? No? Carry on…...

    • rotor says:

      12:51pm | 26/12/12

      PJ - well read from the Coalition supporter’s script. The Labor govt can be fairly criticised for plenty, but criticism of its economic record doesn’t stand up to objective analysis. Sure, a big debt wax run up due to the stimulus against the GFC but this was what any govt would have done, and it worked. Had Australia been swept up in the GFC, the govt debt would now be much bigger. As it is, govt debt as a proportion of GDP is the lowest in the world and heading down. Talking it up like the Coalition is doing is preparing the ground for massive govt cost cutting under an Abbott govt. This savage cost cutting is what Newman in Qld is doing, but more severely than is necessary and that’s going to hurt the economy. Our economy is going gang busters still, and employment rates are good.

      The mining tax that you whinge about has so far not cost the miners anything. You claim that the carbon tax is costing the govt, but Isn’t Abbott’s claim that we’re all worse off? It’s either the govt or the rest of us paying g more, can’t be both. Abbott has lied and exaggerated about both these taxes and can’t be trusted.  I have no faith that the Abbott/Hockey approach to the economy will be a better one.

    • PJ says:

      01:47pm | 26/12/12


      A $900 cheap Korean Flat screen TV for every home and poisonous Pink Batts that cost $124 million in clean costs and rorts is not the best receipt for combating the GFC.

      So it is clean that two pre-existing and unplanned factors saved Australia from the GFC.

      1. Australia is not in Europe and part of the European Union, but is in Asia Pacific. The Gillard Government discovered this themselves a few months ago and published it in their Asian Century White paper as a revelation. The Asia Pacific Region is a region of unprecedented growth and emerging markets, countries with huge GDP’s all cashed up and ready to buy Aussie resources.
      2. Australia was lucky it had a ‘once in a generation’ mining boom that was the ‘envy of the world.’  Billions of dollars flowed into Australia boosting ever industrial sector by between 6 and 20 percent.

      No, Falt screen TV gimmick or disastrous Pink Batt schemes had nothing to do with avoiding the GFC.

      In the face of a reckless free spending Federal Government and disastrous former Labor Governments, incoming Coalition State Government find themselves having to balance the books and save the pennies, not only in consideration for the State but also to make up for a Federal Government thats gone mental with the credit card.

      The Mining Tax must be factored in when enticing Investment into Australia and it’s 30% of the sales value at the gate.

      Some 80% of the power for Mining is supplied by Coal Fired Power Stations, so the carbon tax is murdering them too.

      Finally, there is the Retrospective 1994 tax, which seeks to ‘back-comb’ on past investments.

      In supporting the Gillard Government you are ignoring:
      - the warnings from Chevron CEO whom said $100 Billion dollars of projects are in the balance.
      - BHP’s Kloppers, whom told an Investors conference in London, that Mining in Australia was no longer profitable because of taxes.
      - Rio Tinto’s Bueart, whom said that Mining in australia is now the most expensive in the world by 40%, when only 5 years ago it was the cheapest.

      As well as murdering the mining boom, (African Mining -16.8% to +32% in 2012) there is no money for flag ship policies like Gronski, NDIS. But that hasn’t stopped the Government talking like there up and running.

      Not delivering a Surplus that you have promised for 3 years and some 120 times over is a clear indication that this Government has no plan, no strategy and absolutely not control of the Australian economy.

      Like the State Governments before them, Federal Labor only knows how to spend.

    • iansand says:

      03:26pm | 26/12/12

      That’s strange.  We usually get the “budget black hole” line after a new government takes office.  The problem with discovering it before the election is that, if you knew about it in advance, a responsible opposition would factor it into their promises.  Have you guys got the wrong talking point email or are you making it up (and getting it wrong) while head office is on holidays?

    • Terry2 says:

      08:01am | 26/12/12

      ‘Just reading about the emergency landing and casualties involving a passenger aircraft at the Heho airport, Bagan, Burma/Myanmar.
      Having just returned from a trip to Burma I was quite alarmed at the extent to which the very limited tourism infrastructure has been stretched to breaking point by the sudden surge of tourists to this , until recently, closed country.
      This needs to be a wake up call for the authorities in Burma to upgrade their safety regulations and not just focus on the tourist dollar.

    • PJ says:

      10:09am | 26/12/12

      Its no longer just a pressing question of Australian women talent omitted from the job market, but Australians in general too.

      Australians new and old are finding themselves competing with cheaper overseas workers because a 457 visa or Student visa is so easy to get it makes being Australian no advantage at all.

      Under the Gillard Government we have all been fragmented, split into self interest groups along the lines of legitimate concerns. But it is division and it does cause divisiveness.

      I know about Australian womens job concerns, for example if the Labor Government inertia on women’s employment were to continue as it has over the past 5 years, it will take 138 years for women to get parity in the Boardroom.

      Nevertheless we should together, be challenging this Government, because as small separated units, with separate interests, we are more easily manipulated.

      Over the past 5 years, 53.6% of our new jobs have been handed to overseas temporary workers brought in specifically on a temporary visa. (Monash Uni Study).

      To suggest that we do not possess over half the skills needed by our economy is a gross exaggeration beyond anyone’s belief. Yet that is exactly what the Gillard Government would have us believe. No nation is that stupid or that inadequate for its economies needs.

      Australians can see for themselves in overseas newspapers like The Daily Telegraph UK, entry level jobs simultaneously advertised in the UK and Australia. In two overseas newspapers I visited, there were 1000 Australian jobs advertised.

      It beggars belief that with high youth unemployment, entry level jobs, such as Trainee Analysts, Project Coordinators, Junior Business Analysts should show a preference for a temporary worker over an Australian. Yet the existence of these junior level jobs in overseas newspapers shows just that.

      The Gillard Government is mainly responsible for running our Second Tier economy, which is not directly related to Mining. It is a sad indictment on an economy when the biggest employer is McDonalds and 4 million of the 11 million lucky enough to have a job under labor are just part time.

      In his May 2011 Budget, Swan offered $5000 for employers to pick up Australian youth. The fast food restaurants, the Supermarkets used this to collect cheap temporary workers in a ferocious feast of employment activity. Hardly any benefit for the intended target. Swan reduced his program the following year.

      We owe it to ourselves, to our youth and to our new residents looking for a fresh start, to ensure Australian jobs go to Australians, not to temporary workers feeding the Labor Party asperations for the Big Australia. Our youth are growing up with no experience of the 9 to 5. They just cannot compete with overseas visa workers.

    • yeah-no says:

      10:23am | 26/12/12

      I too hope Punch editorial staff and opinion piece contributors had a good Christmas, and thank them for being here with us today, when clearly many who work in the media are on holidays.

    • Tony says:

      11:38am | 26/12/12

      The twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.
      As for Julia Gillard, I truly believe for this nation to move forward, its going to take an individual that has testicular fortitude.

    • Tony says:

      11:44am | 26/12/12

      What is Laborite? One who believes that the Liberals have ruined the country. What is a Liberal? One who believes that the Laborites would ruin the country.

    • Tony says:

      11:47am | 26/12/12

      In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukka’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukka!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!

    • Tony says:

      12:46pm | 26/12/12

      @PJ I have come across Liberal loving scum in my life but you really do take the cake. You remind me of the Ashby saga, the AWU slush fund crap, and the attack on Thompson, but scum like you forget the deceptions, lies, hypocrisy from your side of politics. If you take away your conservative ideology, you are left with a case by case ethics which in practice ends up as me first, me only, and in rampant greed, every Liberal fool finds a greater one to admire them. So in conclusion PJ, the only thing worse than a liar is a liar that’s also a hypocrite, where the Liberals win hands down.

    • Ben says:

      01:30pm | 26/12/12

      What a better world it would be if we all adopted Tony’s love-thy-neighbour outlook.

    • OverIt says:

      02:49pm | 26/12/12

      Oh dear, looks like somebody didn’t get a visit from Santa.

    • ZSRenn says:

      03:00pm | 26/12/12

      I find it amazing.  If Labor supporters are not attacking TA they are throwing about insults. Anything to distract away from us discussing the real problems with the Gillard Government

      1. How her staff started a race riot
      2.Long term unemployed or Underemployed
      3.Broken Pokie reform promises
      4.Grocery Watch
      5. Fuel Watch
      6. Cash for clunkers
      7. The citizens assembly of real Australians to investigate Climate Change
      8.Pink Batt Scheme
      9.Clean Coal Institute
      10.Her vote against gay marriage
      11. Promise to slash the homeless rate by 50%
      12.Not wanting a big Australia
      13. Asylum Seekers

    • LJ Dots says:

      01:32pm | 26/12/12

      I’ve just had a personal epiphany and discovered there is nothing more worrying or strangely determined than a guy with his first high pressure cleaner.

      I’ve done pretty much everything I could find, reach and spray, but I’m not done yet - so, if you are in Melbourne* and not at the Boxing day test, head out this way with your silverware, caravan, boat, crusted on pots, pans, mangy pets or rello’s. I guarantee, everything will leave sparkling clean.

      * Interstate and regional visitors arrivals may need to book ahead.

    • vox says:

      03:10pm | 26/12/12

      PJ’s pissed off because he never got a new calculator for Xmas. He wore the old one out inflating every number he could find.
      And if Abbott can’t keep his promises because, (PJ says), there’s no money, then why make the promises? Could it be that Abbott is the bigger liar.
      One other thing. Lifesavers do not wear skimpy briefs. They wear board shorts. Real lifesavers I mean.


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