A mix of newcomers and race-winning veterans headline a 75-strong list already entered in the 75th editor of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race which sets sail less than seven months from now, on Thursday 26 December.
The Cayman Islands-registered Caro is the latest, returning to the race after a five-year hiatus, bringing the number of entries to 75 with five months remaining for further entries.
Two multiple-race-winning yachts, Love & War and Quest, have officially announced their return, with many more expected before entries close on 25 October — hopefully including, for Irish interests, last year’s line-honours winners Wild Oats XI.
Oskana (previously Victoire) is another previous winner who’s registered for the 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart, having won the Tattersall Cup in 2013.
Simon Kurts’ Sparkman & Stephens 47, Love & War (NSW), is one of only two yachts to ever win the Tattersall Cup three times — in 1974, 1978 and 2006 — and is making her triumphant return after a few years’ absence from the great race.
Alongside her entry is Bob Steel’s TP52, Quest, a two-time overall winner in 2008 as Quest and 2015 as Balance.
The 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart could also feature a strong fleet of rookies. New to offshore racing is Mark Spring, who has entered Highly Sprung.
Spring bought the Beneteau 45 in Thailand before racing her in 2018 Hamilton Island Race Week. She won the Pittwater to Paradise earlier this year — and now Spring has his sights set on Boxing Day.
“We’ve been putting in the time and effort on the water and done some team performance evenings and lots of races to get ready for the Hobart,” Spring says.
“I’ve chosen some mates that sail a bit, and then some others who have sailed a lot. We’ve got a well-rounded team and some that are serious offshore racers.”
The bulk of the 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet currently sits in the 40-50ft range, where most yacht owners have their eye on the Tattersall Cup for the overall win.
French entrant Daguet (Mylius 50), About Time (Cookson 50) and Carrera S (Marten 49) are just some of the first-timers who join the likes of race veterans Black Sheep (Beneteau First 45), Chancellor (Beneteau 47.7) and Last Tango (Salona 44) in the hotly contested range.
The returning yachts with their sights on line-honours victory include Peter Harburg’s Black Jack (Qld) and Christian Beck’s Infotrack (NSW), the 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart line-honours winner as Perpetual Loyal.
The race within the race for line honours is sure to grow as more 100ft supermaxis are expected to enter the 75th Rolex Sydney Hobart, which starts on spectacular Sydney Harbour on 26 December before heading south, finishing at Constitution Dock in Hobart, Tasmania.
The 75th anniversary of the race will include a number of exciting features for both competitors and fans, with further information to be released in the months ahead.