Entry for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has now closed — and organisers at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) have announced that 170 yachts from Australia and overseas will take part in their 75th race.
This will make it the largest fleet since the 50th in 1994 in which a record 371 yachts started, and the fourth-largest in the history of the race.
Commenting on the fleet, CYCA Commodore Paul Billingham said: “To receive such an incredible number of entries this year is astonishing and testimony to the enduring appeal of the Great Race.
“The range of yachts is truly impressive and the spectacle we will witness on Boxing Day will be unprecedented in the modern era of the race.”
Among this year’s number are five super-maxis: Peter Harburg’s Black Jack (Qld); Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant’s record-holder Comanche (NSW); Christian Beck’s InfoTrack (NSW); the Oatley family’s reigning line-honours champion, Wild Oats XI (NSW); and Seng Huang Lee’s SHK Scallywag from Hong Kong.
International boats are representative of Ireland, Great Britain, France, China, Hungary, Poland, Hong Kong and USA — and while New South Wales has predictably yielded the largest Australian numbers, with 96, the other states have produced healthy numbers, too.
There are also a few ‘first timers’, most notably the first Aboriginal crew to ever take part in the race with the Beneteau 47.7, Tribal Warrior.
There are 10 past overall winners representative of various sizes and eras, from the 2018 winner, Philip Turner’s RP66 Alive; Matt Allen’s TP52 Ichi Ban; Bob Steel’s TP52 Quest, which also won as Paul Clitheroe’s Balance seven years later; Oskana, a Cookson 50 that won as Victoire in 2013; Simon Kurts’ 46-year-old classic yacht, Love & War, one of only two three-time winners in the race’s history; and two-time winner Wild Oats XI.