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International Fleet Set for 2022 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

23rd November 2022
Competitors at the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Media Launch were (L-R) Mark Bradford, Peter Langman, Kathy Veel, Matt Donald and John Winning Jr
Competitors at the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Media Launch were (L-R) Mark Bradford, Peter Langman, Kathy Veel, Matt Donald and John Winning Jr Credit: Andrea Francolini

A strong fleet with an international flavour and multiple former winners and record holders is preparing to take on the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

118 boats are entered for the 77th edition of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s (CYCA) 628 nautical mile race, which begins on Sydney Harbour at 1 pm on Monday, 26 December.

Eight entrants are travelling to Australia, from Germany (Orione), Great Britain (Sunrise), Hong Kong (Antipodes), Hungary (Cassiopeia 68), New Caledonia (Eye Candy and Poulpito), New Zealand (Caro) and the USA (Warrior Won).

The four 100-foot maxis leading the charge for Line Honours are Black Jack, the 2021 Line Honours winner, Hamilton Island Wild Oats, which holds the record for most Line Honours wins with nine as Wild Oats XI, the race record holder Andoo Comanche, now skippered by John Winning Jr, and LawConnect, which was first over the line in the 2016 race as Perpetual LOYAL.

Black Jack skipper Mark Bradford will compete in the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Photo: Andrea Francolini/CYCABlack Jack skipper Mark Bradford will compete in the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Photo: Andrea Francolini/CYCA

Speaking at the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Media Launch at the CYCA on Wednesday, Black Jack skipper Mark Bradford said: "The best international sailors in the world will be here for the race.

"Achieving your goal in the race, whatever that is, does take some time to reflect on and I think for us that moment came when we decided to do it again.

"Weather is such a big part of the overall picture. We have seen over so many years all of us (100-foot maxis) getting to the Derwent at the same time somehow. I think this year will be no different to normal."

Andoo Comanche skipper John Winning Jr will compete in the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Photo: Andrea Francolini/CYCAAndoo Comanche skipper John Winning Jr will compete in the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Photo: Andrea Francolini/CYCA

Andoo Comanche skipper John Winning Jr said: "I have to honour the boat and do it justice; it's had some fine form. I certainly back myself to be as good as anyone.

"We have to be ambitious and bullish. I've got an amazing crew around me and we're going to be pushing the boat as hard as we can to get the best result possible."

Kathy Veel and Bridget Canham are the first all-female two-handed crew to compete in the race.

The pair will sail on Veel's Currawong 30, Currawong, as one of 22 two-handed entrants, that for the first time are eligible to win the coveted Tattersall Cup, awarded to the overall winner on IRC corrected time.

Kathy Veel and Bridget Canham are the first all-female two-handed crew to compete in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Photo: Andrea Francolini/CYCAKathy Veel and Bridget Canham are the first all-female two-handed crew to compete in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Photo: Andrea Francolini/CYCA

Asked if she had second thoughts about taking on the race two-handed, 70-year-old Veel said: "Heaps! But sailing is something I love doing. I had a boat that was capable of it. I am in good enough health physically to be able to do it.

"With the Two-Handed Division introduced, all of a sudden it seemed something that was possible, with our really, really limited resources. I paid really small money for the boat and we have put in a bit since then, but I look at Comanche when we are out on the water at Woolwich and think, it’s such a different story."

The legendary challenge of the Rolex Sydney Hobart attracts a diverse range of competitors and boats.

At the other end of the spectrum to the 100-footers is the smallest and oldest boat in the fleet, Sean Langman’s 9-metre Ranger Maluka (built in 1932), which will be skippered by his son Peter.

"Maluka has a pretty special place in my heart," Langman said. "Whenever I finish a race on Maluka I feel it is an accomplishment. That is what dragged me back to the race.

"She is a safe boat and we are all pretty confident she will get there in one piece, she is in great condition."

The fleet of 52-foot grand prix racing yachts are expected to once again challenge for Overall honours.

Matt Allen’s Botin 52 Ichi Ban won three of the last four races. Allen announced this afternoon that he would not be doing the race this year.

"I feel like we're doing a bit of an Ash Barty in a way. It's time for me to do some other things. I've been busy with sailing and voluntary roles with the Australian Olympic Committee and World Sailing," said Allen, who has four Sydney Hobart victories and 31 Sydney Hobarts behind him.

"To some degree, I feel we've achieved what we set out to do with the boat. I'm conscious we've equalled the record of Freya and Love & War, and having known both skippers.

"I really want to thank my crews over the years. They have done a terrific job sailing it with me and helping to develop the boat. It's been an enormous privilege and adventure, and I've enjoyed every minute of it, but it's time to do other things."

Allen ended by saying, "I am leaving both boats entered in the race for the time being, in case someone wants to borrow either one."

A highly competitive group of 52-foot boats in this year's race features international entrants Caro and Warrior Won, as well as locals Celestial, Gweilo, Quest (two-time Overall winner as Quest and Balance) and Zen.

Gweilo co-owner and skipper Matt Donald said: "[The 52s] are in sight of each other the whole race. We will have to perform at our best every day.

"Each and every inch counts in our division. In the Rolex Sydney Hobart, it's about pushing as hard as you can and we won't hold back if we get the chance again.

"Anyone can win on any given day."

Some of the other former winners racing this year include Alive (Overall – 2018), Kialoa II (Line Honours – 1971) and Wild Oats (Overall as Wild Rose in 2014).

The St. Stephen's Day start of the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be broadcast live on the Seven Network throughout Australia and live-and-on-demand on the 7Plus app.

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 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race starts in Sydney Harbour at 1pm (AEDT) on Monday 26 December.

This is the 77th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart. The inaugural race was conducted in 1945 and has run every year since, apart from 2020, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

88 boats started the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart, with 50 finishing.

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)

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