YACHTING: Rolex Sydney to Hobart, December 26
Start: 1pm Boxing Day @ 1pm EDST, Off Nielsen Park, Sydney
Finish: Derwent River, Hobart
Distance: 630 nautical Miles
Over the past 70 years, the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht race has developed into an icon of Australian summer sport. With the exception of the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean race no other yachting event attracts more international attention.
In 1994, the fiftieth anniversary of the event saw a record 371 starters attempt the trip south.
• Inaugural Race Winner, 1945: Rani (line and handicap honours beating a field of 8)
• Fastest Race: 1-day 18h 23m 12s by Wild Oats XI (NSW) 2012
• Fleet finishing statistics: Of 5,509 yachts who have started the race since 1945, a total of 4,548 (82.56%) have completed and 961 (17.44%) yachts have retired.
• Highest retirement %: 70% of the fleet in 1984. On average after 62 races, 81.7% of the fleet finishes annually.
• Largest Fleet: 371 starters, 1994
• Smallest Fleet: 9 starters, 1945 (first race)
• Most Line Honours Victories: Wild Oats XI, 8 victories
• Most Handicap Honours Victories: Freya (NSW) and Love & War (NSW), 3 victories each
• Race treble: Race record, Line & Handicap Honours in the same year:
– 1945, Rani (UK)
– 2005, 2012 Wild Oats XI (NSW).
– Wild Oats XI (NSW) 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008.
• Closest Line Honours Race Finish: 7 seconds, 1982; Condor of Bermuda (Bermuda) defeated Apollo (NSW)
• Closest finish for Handicap Honours: 1 minute and 43 seconds also in 1982 when Scallyway (NSW, Australia) defeated Audacity (NSW, Australia)
• First all-female crewed Yacht: Barbarian, 1975 (skipper: Vicki Wilman)
Line Honours Overall winner
2014 – Wild Oats XI Wild Rose
2013 – Wild Oats XI Victoire
2012 – Wild Oats XI Wild Oats XI
2011 – Investec Loyal Loki
2010 – Wild Oats XI Secret Mens Business 3.5
The 2015 Sydney to Hobart Yacht race sees a significant first for the race. Sydney will be hosting the current line honours and overall winners from every major offshore ocean race in the world.
Perennial line-honours favourite and hometown hero Wild Oats XI will be back to defend her title this year after undergoing major surgery in her quest to win another record breaking ninth line honours title.
In her debut race last year Comanche went down to the champ by a mere 49 minutes. In 2015 Comanche has swept all before her in the Northern Hemisphere winning line honours in the transatlantic race and in the process breaking the 24-hour monohull sailing record. The record equates to finishing the Sydney to Hobart the day after the start. Comanche will again have some Aussie flavour this year with reigning America’s Cup skipper James Spithill back on board.
Syd Fischers Ragamuffin 100 has just returned from breaking the record in the Hong Kong to Vietnam race and look well prepared for this year’s edition.
While slightly smaller than the 100-footers, Rambler has had a big impact in the northern hemisphere, coming second to Comanche by 5 hours in the transatlantic race and a mere 4 minutes behind her in the Fastnet race.
**Perpetual Loyal will once again head south with a few sporting greats including retired Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke, Anthony Minichello, Phil Waugh and the footy show’s own Erin Moylan. When built Perpetual Loyal was touted as the fastest yacht in the world however skipper Anthony Bell takes along some non-professional sailors to raise awareness for children’s charities.
Comanche has done everything right since last year’s event fresh out of the box and I would not be surprised to see her crossing the line in first place. However the race has been dominated by Wild Oats XI and with a newly redesigned front section there is simply no reason to doubt her credentials as the one to beat again.
In last year’s race Wild Rose pulled off a stunning overall win against some of the higher rated chances. In what is shaping up to be a ‘bread and butter’ type race weather-wise this will play largely into the hands of the 50-footers so expect a close battle between some of the old and new designs in the 50-60 foot class including previous winner Victoire and a host of other chances including Celestial, Cougar II, Ragamuffin 52, Primitive Cool and Balance.
An interesting decision needs to be made by the skipper of Ichi Ban Matt Allen, who has two boats entered – a 52 footer and a 60 footer with the same name. He will make a decision based on the forecast as to which one he takes south so definitely worth watching that decision which is expected on Christmas Eve.
Chinese Whisper looks perfectly suited to this year’s race and if the bigger guys get a bit of breeze in the second half of the race then Black Jack, Maserati and Lupa of London will be the ones to watch.