Boxing Day wouldn’t be Boxing Day without the launch of the annual Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. To get you in the mood, here are some interesting facts about this year’s race and the event’s history.
- The 628 nautical mile (1,171 km) race was launched by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in 1945, making this the 71st annual race. Originally, founder Peter Luke and his friends planned the event as an enjoyable cruise, yet Capt John Illingworth, a visiting officer of the British Royal Navy, suggested making it a race.
- Women first took part in the race in 1946. In 2005, Adrienne Cahalan (several times a nominee for World Yachtswoman of the Year) was a crew member for the winning Wild Oats. Over 1,000 women have now crewed in the race.
- The Tattersall’s Cup is now one of the most sought after yachting trophies in the world. The current speed record time of one day, 19 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds was set by the Australian yacht, Wild Oats XI, in 2012.
- Wild Oats XI has won eight of the 10 most recent races. It is the first and so far only boat to have claimed the treble (race record, line honours and winner) twice over.
- The race is infamous for the difficult conditions of the Bass Strait – the brutal storm of 1998 led to six deaths, the capsizing of five boats, and the failure of all but 44 yachts to make it to Hobart. A further storm in 2004 led to only 59 boats completing the race.
- In 2015, the boats range in size from ten to 30 metres and represent 11 countries.
- The 2015 fleet includes some of the fastest maxi yachts ever, including Wild Oats XI, Perpetual Loyal, Rambler 88, Ragamuffin 100 and Comanche.
- The RSHYR is the second of three Australian legs of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the first being Albany, WA to Sydney, and the third being to Airlie Beach, QLD. The 225 crew are mostly amateur.
- The fleet also includes 12 identical 70-foot ocean racing yachts that are competing in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, having already raced over 16,000 miles after leaving London in late August.
- Even more than winning the race, this century’s maxi-yacht skippers are chasing the goal of being the first to complete the race in under 40 hours. Once thought of as impossible, this is closer than ever to becoming a reality. You can track their progress online.
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