Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 728x90

Reindeer, raceboats and Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 23 Dec 2013
Forget Rudolph-masthead lights lead the way to Hobart Dale Lorimer
Growing up in a sailing-obsessed house on the East Coast meant that there were four important 'everyman' distance races to follow, namely the Newport-Bermuda, the Transpac, the Fastnet and the legendary Sydney to Hobart Race. While my family has experience racing to Bermuda, the other three races have always held their own challenges. If Transpac wins the prize for distance, and Fastnet for history and tradition, the 'S2H' is the unquestionable winner when it comes to potentially rough weather and high-speed runs.

If you’re like me, you’ve spent your fair share of time on YouTube, watching video clips of heavy weather sailing. The waterspout video, taken aboard some years astern from the deck of a well-known maxi yacht, is a great example, as are the countless other videos and literary descriptions of what Bass Strait can deliver when she gets angry.



All sailors know the story of the 1998 S2H, when six sailors died and five yachts were lost, but, just as importantly, we have all also heard the epic accounts of approaching the fabled Organ Pipes on Tasmania after a lumpy Bass Strait crossing, or of the dogs-off-their-chains downhill racing conditions that the race is famous for delivering. Suffice it to say that racing to Hobart is anything but a casual affair, but that-of course-also holds true for each of the other 'Big Four' races on my childhood tick list.

But then there’s the timing. Transpac, Fastnet and Bermuda all take place during fine-weather months in the northern hemisphere-times when sailing is the only conversation worth having with salty-minded friends. But the S2H comes at the inky depths of our winter, a time when minutes of daylight are just as precious as degrees Fahrenheit, and when the mind-numbing drone of Christmas carols and the full-court press of the holiday marketing machine is enough to drive any sane sailor to consider her best option for quickly getting on a southbound rumbline.

Which is perhaps why I have grown to love the S2H as a spectator event unlike any other Corinthian-facing ocean race afloat. Sure, the conditions can get hairy, but if your other options include chocking down Aunt Maud’s awful fruitcake or listening to Uncle Ernie’s latest (lost) battle with the utility company-for me at least-the prospect of waterspouts, big breeze and of record-breaking conditions provides a mechanism for the surviving the yuletide glow.



Call me a Grinch, but these days one of my favorite holiday traditions involves tracking the S2H fleet south and trading fleet updates with my Dad, who also shares my aversion to holiday music. And while racing to Hobart is certainly no inexpensive endeavor, for us at least, the S2H provides an adrenaline-filled escape from the dial-tone aesthetic of blatant commercialism.

So, if you’re staring down a long holiday in-law-visiting season, or if you simply need a shot of saltwater in the arm after too many months of living on the hard, be sure to tune into Sail-World’s great coverage of the S2H. You won’t find more knowledgeable race coverage anywhere else on the Internet, nor will anyone offer you a thick helping of fruitcake…but I can confidently report that S2H media pairs well with fine holiday wines and rum.



Racing kicks off on Boxing Day (December 26), which means that the docks and our website will be happily atwitter with the latest S2H updates all week, so be sure to stay tuned for the latest news, as it unfurls.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

Protector - 660 x 82Hall Spars - BoomWildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ give first look at the pedaling AC50
Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. The team has been sailing for the previous two days making news headlines after it was revealed in Sail-World.com that the AC50 would become only the second yacht in America's Cup history to use pedal power.
Posted on 16 Feb
America's Cup - Kiwis sign Olympic Cyclist for the Tour de Bermuda
Ttop cyclist Simon van Velthooven, a 2012 Olympic Bronze cycling medallist had been signed by the America's Cup team Emirates Team New Zealand put in a second foiling display on Auckland's Waitemata harbour ahead of the official launching of their AC50 tomorrow. With brighter skies the cycling team took their places on the pedalstals and used leg power to provide the hydraulic pressure necessary to run the AC50's control systems for the foils and wingsail.
Posted on 15 Feb
A Q&A with Anna Tunnicliffe about her return to competitive sailing
I talked with Anna Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing. Anna Tunnicliffe won gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in the Laser Radial before shifting her sights to the Women’s Match Racing event for the London 2012 Olympics. Here, she came up shy of expectation and left sailing for the CrossFit Games, but now she is returning to her roots. I talked with Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing.
Posted on 23 Jan
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – Race record smashed
On Day Three (just) of the 72nd Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race Perpetual Loyal smashed the race record On Day Three (just) of the 72nd Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, in the strongest downwind conditions in recent times, certainly as good as the 1999 iteration of the blue water classic, Anthony Bell’s supermaxi, Perpetual Loyal, the former Speedboat and then Rambler 100, smashed the race record for the famous 628-nautical mile event.
Posted on 27 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – right turn means record in mortal danger?
A while ago we talked about not unprecedented conditions, but certainly ones that had not been seen for ages. A while ago we talked about not unprecedented conditions, but certainly ones that had not been seen for ages. Those that did a lot of Hobarts in the 90s would scoff at the thought of using the kite sheets for the whole journey. Their memories would be why they even bothered to clip them onto the rail at all.
Posted on 27 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – The Derwent awake or asleep for Loyal?
With steady winds now pushing everyone down the Tasmanian East Coast With steady winds now pushing everyone down the Tasmanian East Coast, it does appear that barring a mechanical failure, Anthony Bell’s Perpetual Loyal will be the first boat into Storm Bay tonight, and well on record pace too!
Posted on 27 Dec 2016
AeroMedia Drone Video from Rolex Sydney Hobart Race start
Jono Whiity drives the 18-Footer, Line 7, and also pilots the hAeroMedia drone for these images of the #RSHYR start. Jono Whiity drives the 18-Footer, Line 7, and also pilots the AeroMedia drone that captured these images of the #RSHYR start.
Posted on 27 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – Situation normal
You could easily say that all is right with the world again. You could easily say that all is right with the world again. After the worst start in 12 years, the Oatley family’s 100 foot Wild Oats XI, the eight times line honours winner skippered by Mark Richards is leading the fleet South, as she has done so many, many times before.
Posted on 26 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – Changing of the guard
So as darkness descends on the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, watch systems and red lights take over from sunglasses So as darkness descends on the 72nd Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, watch systems and red lights take the place of sunglasses and hats. Yet another of the Hobart maxims is now coming into play. You go out early and come in late. It means you stay offshore early to pick up the East Australia Current running down South and then come in back to the Tasmanian coast and stay there.
Posted on 26 Dec 2016
Wild Oats XI Training Day - VIDEO
As your Christmas Day preparations get into full swing, chances are you won’t have much time to get into the mood As your Christmas Day preparations get into full swing, chances are you won’t have much time to get into the mood for the big race to Hobart on Boxing Day. So here’s a pacey one minute video we've compiled from a training day that we shot aboard Wild Oats XI this time last year in a solid nor'easter, shortly after her major rebuild was completed. Merry Christmas to all from Crosbie and Dale
Posted on 23 Dec 2016