Sailing from Sydney to Hobart
One of Australia’s marquee sporting events is the Rolex Sydney Hobart yacht race. It’s uncommon to see a sailing event capture the attention and imagination of the country in Australia, but this race attracts huge media coverage and fanfare every year over the summer months.
The History of the Special Event
The race starts in Sydney on Boxing day and finishes in Hobart, Tasmania. It is an offshore race with a course of 630 nautical miles. The Sydney to Hobart has grown in prominence over the decades and today it is considered to be one of the top three offshore races in the world attracting the best domestic and international crews to compete. The inaugural race took place in 1945 and today the event attracts a huge fleet with different classes. Nevertheless the maxi yachts are still the dominant vessels and the current record held by Wild Oats XI is 1 day, 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds. With various classes in the field and a handicap system in place, the first boat to cross the line may not always be the overall winner and this adds to the race's intrigue.
The timing of the sailing event is key to the race’s success with fans. Boxing day is a traditionally fun and relaxed day in the Australian calendar and it’s a summer public holiday too. The race starts in Sydney harbor, which can be extremely busy with boat traffic on a normal day. Flanked by numerous spectator boats and thousands of people lining the shoreline to catch a glimpse of the action, the fleet gathers within the heads of the harbor and prepares to set out towards Hobart.
Wild Oats XI is the most decorated boat in race history and the holder of the current race record. The boat broke its own record in 2012 by 13 minutes and is the only boat to have claimed the treble twice - line honors, overall winner and the race record.