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100-Strong Fleet to Set Sail in 2020 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

4th November 2020
The 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart start in Sydney Harbour. The starting cannon will be fired again on St. Stephen's Day for the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s (CYCA) 2020 Race. The 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart start in Sydney Harbour. The starting cannon will be fired again on St. Stephen's Day for the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s (CYCA) 2020 Race. Photo: Kurt Arrigo

A strong Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet is set to light up Sydney Harbour again this Christmas. 

The prestigious, world-renowned 628-nautical-mile blue water classic will go ahead after a lengthy period of consultation with state governments, health authorities and other key stakeholders. The opening of Tasmania’s borders to New South Wales travellers this coming Friday 6 November has made the race a reality.

CYCA Commodore Noel Cornish AM was delighted to confirm that the event would be going ahead: “We are thrilled to have so many yachts participating this year, particularly given the general uncertainty and necessary restrictions placed on many sporting events in Australia over the past six months. The size of the fleet has exceeded all our expectations and is a tremendous show of support for the Race. We are excited that we can host the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in this challenging year.”

“Whilst 2020 has been a very difficult year for all Australians due to the impact of COVID-19, we feel that it is important for the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and the sailing world to help support the various Governments goals to assist economic recovery and help communities return to some sense of normality within strict health and safety guidelines.”

“We would like to sincerely thank the Governments of New South Wales and Tasmania, their associated health, police and maritime departments, events and tourism authorities, local councils and all our media and corporate partners for their continued support.”

Entries officially closed last Thursday 29 October with 100 boats looking to head south.

Unfortunately, representation from many international competitors has not been possible this year due to ongoing global restrictions. The CYCA’s thoughts are with the offshore sailing community around the globe and the Club looks forward to welcoming all sailors, families and support crews back in 2021.

An array of returning yachts are amongst likely contenders for the Tattersall Cup which honours the overall winner on handicap, including previous winners Ichi Ban (2017 and 2019), Alive (2018) and Quest (2008 and also 2015 as Balance). Competition from a sizeable fleet of other yachts in the 50- to 70-foot range will be strong.

Should this year’s conditions favour smaller yachts, the likes of Solveig (overall winner in 1954), and Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race winners Chutzpah (2018) and White Bay Azzurro (2017 as Komatsu Azzurro), will give the bigger boats a strong nudge for podium placings.

Supermaxis

The super maxis, InfoTrack (line honours 2016 as Perpetual Loyal) and Black Jack (2009 as Alfa Romeo) will do battle for line honours to claim the John H Illingworth Challenge Cup.

Importantly, there are an impressive number of yachts entered to compete in the newly introduced Two-Handed division of the Rolex Sydney Hobart, with a perpetual trophy being introduced to honour the division’s overall winner.

75 Years of Women sailors in the Sydney Hobart Race

This year will also celebrate the 75th year of participation by women sailors in the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Female crews will be significantly represented across all divisions, including six skippers: Wendy Tuck (Speedwell), Tiare Tomaszewski (Maris), Annie Lawrence (Solveig), Sibby Ilzhofer (Dare Devil), Genevieve Warlow (Dodgeball) and Jiang Hui Lin (Min River).

The safety, health and well-being of all participants, families and broader communities has always been the major focus for the CYCA and its race partner, the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.

Digital coverage

A number of significant changes will be made to the event this year. More focus will be on enhanced digital coverage of the race and all team briefings will be undertaken online. The social events and parties usually held at the CYCA in the lead up to the race in December will not be taking place this year and there will be restrictions imposed across the Clubhouse and marina, spectator fleets and gatherings at public vantage spots for the race start on 26 December. The Hobart Race Village and its associated festivities will be restructured in line with the best practice recommendations from authorities with the Village and marina closed to the general public.

New guidelines and regulations regarding COVID-19 safety, tracking and social distancing are being constantly reviewed and appropriate measures will be strictly adhered to as required.

With only 54 days remaining to the Rolex Sydney Hobart start, the Club wishes crews and support teams all the very best in preparation for the Great Race.

Published in Sydney to Hobart
Afloat.ie Team

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The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is an annual offshore yacht racing event with an increasingly international exposure attracting super maxi yachts and entries from around tne world. It is hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, starting in Sydney, New South Wales on Boxing Day and finishing in Hobart, Tasmania. The race distance is approximately 630 nautical miles (1,170 km).

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - FAQs

The number of Sydney Hobart Yacht Races held by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia since 1945 is 75

6,257 completed the Sydney Hobart Yacht race, 1036 retired or were disqualified)

About 60,061 sailors have competed in the Sydney Hobart Race between 1945 and 2019

Largest fleets: 371 starters in the 50th race in 1994 (309 finished); 154 starters in 1987 (146 finished); 179 starters in 1985 (145 finished); 151 starters in 1984 (46 finished); 173 started in 1983 (128 finished); 159 started in 1981 (143 finished); 147 started in 1979 (142 finished); 157 started in 2019 (154 finished)

116 in 2004 (59 finished); 117 in 2014 (103 finished); 157 in 2019 (154 finished)

Nine starters in the inaugural Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in 1945

In 2015 and 2017 there were 27, including the 12 Clipper yachts (11 in 2017). In the record entry of 371 yachts in the 50th in 1994, there were 24 internationals

Rani, Captain John Illingworth RN (UK). Design: Barber 35’ cutter. Line and handicap winner

157 starters, 154 finishers (3 retirements)

IRC Overall: Ichi Ban, a TP52 owned by Matt Allen, NSW. Last year’s line honours winner: Comanche, Verdier Yacht Design and VPLP (FRA) owned by Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant, in 1 day 18 hours, 30 minutes, 24 seconds. Just 1hour 58min 32secs separated the five super maxis at the finish 

1 day 9 hours 15 minutes and 24 seconds, set in 2017 by LDV Comanche after Wild Oats XI was penalised one hour in port/starboard incident for a finish time of 1d 9h 48m 50s

The oldest ever sailor was Syd Fischer (88 years, 2015).

As a baby, Raud O'Brien did his first of some six Sydney Hobarts on his parent's Wraith of Odin (sic). As a veteran at three, Raud broke his arm when he fell off the companionway steps whilst feeding biscuits to the crew on watch Sophie Tasker sailed the 1978 race as a four-year-old on her father’s yacht Siska, which was not an official starter due to not meeting requirements of the CYCA. Sophie raced to Hobart in 1979, 1982 and 1983.

Quite a number of teenage boys and girls have sailed with their fathers and mothers, including Tasmanian Ken Gourlay’s 14-year-old son who sailed on Kismet in 1957. A 12-year-old boy, Travis Foley, sailed in the fatal 1998 race aboard Aspect Computing, which won PHS overall.

In 1978, the Brooker family sailed aboard their yacht Touchwood – parents Doug and Val and their children, Peter (13), Jacqueline (10), Kathryne (8) and Donald (6). Since 1999, the CYCA has set an age limit of 18 for competitors

Jane (‘Jenny’) Tate, from Hobart, sailed with her husband Horrie aboard Active in the 1946 Race, as did Dagmar O’Brien with her husband, Dr Brian (‘Mick’) O’Brien aboard Connella. Unfortunately, Connella was forced to retire in Bass Strait, but Active made it to the finish. The Jane Tate Memorial Trophy is presented each year to the first female skipper to finish the race

In 2019, Bill Barry-Cotter brought Katwinchar, built in 1904, back to the start line. She had competed with a previous owner in 1951. It is believed she is the oldest yacht to compete. According to CYCA life member and historian Alan Campbell, more than 31 yachts built before 1938 have competed in the race, including line honours winners Morna/Kurrewa IV (the same boat, renamed) and Astor, which were built in the 1920s.

Bruce Farr/Farr Yacht Design (NZL/USA) – can claim 20 overall wins from 1976 (with Piccolo) up to and including 2015 (with Balance)

Screw Loose (1979) – LOA 9.2m (30ft); Zeus II (1981) LOA 9.2m

TKlinger, NSW (1978) – LOA 8.23m (27ft)

Wild Oats XI (2012) – LOA 30.48m (100ft). Wild Oats XI had previously held the record in 2005 when she was 30m (98ft)

©Afloat 2020

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