Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Australia adventour sports tourism

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

Elsie Gabriel

Impressive, international, competitive, colossal, adventurous and classic are the words which overwhelmed me as I walked through the gates of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, to join thousands of spectators who came to pay tribute to the participants at the start of the 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

At once I knew why it was such an iconic sport,of which so far I had only read about in the sailing and sports world news magazines.It was wonderful to be invited for such an adventerous classy sport which takes on wind and water to emerge victorious.

sydney rolex boats

The assorted fleet were registered and set to sail as we came in to flag off the competition for the 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and true to it’s name I knew it would provide a spectacle befitting of the event’s reputation. The Boxing Day annual 628-nm ocean classic running from Sydney to Hobart, often referred to as a ‘nautical rite of passage’, has been sponsored by Rolex since 2002.Rloex as apt as ever ruled the timely sport by the ocean side.Event organizers Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) were equally alive with enthusiasm and sportsmanship.

TheSydney to Hobart Yacht Race is an annual event hosted by the CYCA, starting in Sydney on Boxing Day and finishing in Hobart, Tasmania. The race is run in co-operation with the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania and is widely considered to be one of the most difficult yacht races in the world.Rolex sydney yatch race

The 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race once again lived up to its reputation as one of the world’s toughest ocean races and am glad I was there to witness this milestone, once in a life time experience.

It is said that the race was initially planned to be a cruise by Peter Luke and some friends who had formed a club for those who enjoyed cruising as opposed to racing, however when a visiting British Royal Navy Officer, Captain John Illingworth, suggested it be made a race, the event was born. Peter Luke, who contributed to the formation of the Cruising Yacht club of Australia and the establishment of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, died on 23 September 2007 aged 92.

The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race has gathered much might over the decades, since the inaugural race in 1945, to become one of the top three offshore yacht races in the world, and it now attracts the biggest yachts from all around the globe.

All I could hear was the buzz of ‘Wild Oats’ in the air amidst much conversations. Eventually I came to learn that the race record was set in 2005 by Wild Oats XI which crossed the line in a time of 1 day, 18 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds. And later, it was wonderful to know that the previous record was beaten by Wild Oats XI in 2012 when it crossed the line in 1 day, 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds. This brought about another record for Wild Oats XI , as they became the first boat to claim the treble – race record, line honours and overall winner – twice.

family rolex

Bass Strait and the eastern rough waters of the Pacific Ocean are renowned for their gusty treacherous winds and notorious seas. Although the race mostly takes place in the Tasman Sea, the shallowness of Bass Strait and the proximity to the race course means that the fleet is very much under the influence of the Strait as they transit from the mainland to Flinders Island. Even though the race is held in the Australian summer, storms often make the Sydney–Hobart race cold, choppy and extremely challenging for the crew.

The Rolex Sydney to Hobart is often described as the most grueling long ocean race in the world. This traditional sporting event a day after Christmas is filled with tradition and has the ability year after year to bring an entire country to a dramatic stand still. A fiercely contested race across the often dangerous seas, this is always an engaging event for the whole of Australia.

map of hobart race

Seventy six boats of various types and sizes, the largest of them 100-footers, started off right before us. Leading the pack from the starting line was five-time line honors winner Wild Oats XI, which last year lost out to Investec Loyal. As the race leaders turned right into open sea, one could see how Wild Oats XI was kick starting as the leader.

Over the past 68 years, the Rolex Sydney Hobart has become an icon of Australia’s summer sport ranking top in public interest. No annual yachting event in the world attracts such huge media coverage than does the start on Sydney Harbour. I bowed down to Sydney’s offering, as one attraction I wouldn’t forget in a long long time.

For me, the fresh strong southerly breeze and sunshine provided the perfect angles for all the photographs I wanted to capture, it sure was a photo journalist’s delight. That December month,the weather gods intervened to make the 2012 race all about the big boats.el boats men

This grand classic ocean race is remembered for many things from records and personal achievements, challenges to tribulations and unfortunately, disasters too. It has proved quite a baptism for the news traveler in me, I was simply overjoyed to simply watch the frenzy of the crew preparations and catch first hand conversations with some sailors!

Yachts scorched out briskly with the endless blaze of media and public attention, as I waved vigorously, knowing deep in my heart that the crew in every yacht surely must be bowing their heads to God above and to nature below!

Ofcourse I wasn’t there at Hobart for the winners reception which is said to be as grand as the flag off but I did come to know of it’s spirited battle for line honours just as I had expeced. The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Australia adventour sports tourism is here to stay, and you gotta see it if you are down under during the Christmas vacations.


Yachts scorched out briskly with the endless blaze of media and public attention, as I waved vigorously, knowing deep in my heart that the crew in every yacht surely must be bowing their heads to God above and to nature below!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *