In the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race (RSHYR) the twelve-strong Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race fleet started today in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators and TV viewers.
Yachts line up on Sydney harbour prior to the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, in Sydney, Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013.
Composing an eighth of the 94 entries, the 70ft ocean racers had a prominent profile on the start line.
GREAT Britain was the first Clipper Race yacht to cross the line, followed by Henri Lloyd and Qingdao.
Overall race leaders Henri Lloyd went round the first mark ahead of GREAT Britain with Qingdao third and PSP Logistics fourth.
The Clipper Race ‘Corinthian’ sailing crew are competing against some of the world’s best yachtsmen in three classes – the IRC handicap class, Race 6 of the Clipper Round the World Race and the Clipper One Design class that has been created for the Clipper Race by RSHYR organisers the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA).
The Clipper 70s and two Clipper 68 yachts left from the middle start line in Sydney Harbour at 1300 local time, Australia (0200 UTC) as part of an overall fleet of 94 competitors, in what doubles as Race 6 of 16 in the Clipper Race world series.
Mark Light, the Clipper Race’s deputy race director, said: 'The start was very spectacular and all the boats got away cleanly off the start line in beautifully sunny Boxing Day conditions.'
Sydney-based skipper, Chris Hollis, of PSP Logistics, is doing his third Sydney Hobart. Just before departing, he said: 'We are ready to race and everyone is really excited. No one is nervous – we are ready to perform really well. We have had a meeting about performance and evaluating ourselves and we want to settle in really quickly as soon as we are out of Sydney Heads and make the most of the race.'
Two of the Clipper Race yachts participating had a minor touch approaching one of the marks at Sydney Heads. Switzerland touched Mission Performance and took a 720 degree penalty as per the RSHYR Sailing Instructions. There was only superficial damage and both yachts continue to race.