sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : History of Rolex Sydney Hobart 1945 - 2006

History of Rolex Sydney Hobart 1945 - 2006

'The start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2006.'    © Andrea Francolini Photography    Click Here to view large photo

The Rolex Sydney Hobart ranks historically, along with the Rolex Fastnet Race in England and the Bermuda Race in the USA, as one of the three great ocean passage races of the world. The 2007 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, starting from Sydney Harbour at 1.00pm on Boxing Day, December 26, will be the 63rd annual race conducted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the nation’s premier ocean racing club.

Over the past 62 years, the Rolex Sydney Hobart has become an icon of Australia’s summer sport, ranking in public interest with such national events as the Melbourne Cup horse race, the Australian Open tennis and the cricket tests between Australia and England.

It has been – and still is – a world leader in ocean yacht racing, in the professional race management and safety standards set by the CYCA, in the operations of its media communications centre and, of course, and in the standards set for yacht construction, rigging and stability of its fleet racing under the international rating rules (currently IRC). The CYCA has added even further to the stringent regulations of a Category 1 ocean race, particularly in regard to safety at sea training and the experience of the crew of each boat.

Perhaps most of all is the high standard of seamanship shown by these who skipper, navigate and crew these yachts south in the Tasman Sea to Hobart, largely amateur sailors who have successfully sailed, sometimes just survived, through some of the toughest ocean racing conditions in the world.

No yachting event in the world attracts such huge media coverage – except, of course, the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race around the world – than does the start on Sydney Harbour. And they only happen every four or five years; the Rolex Sydney Hobart is an annual event.

Ray White Koomooloo in better days at the start of 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart -  © Rolex - Carlo Borlenghi?nid=39728  

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race began in 1945 when a group of Sydney yachtsmen planned a post-World War II cruise to Hobart. A Royal Navy officer, Captain John Illingworth RN, who had been a keen racing yachtsman in Britain before the war, joined them. He was stationed in Sydney and bought the 39-foot Rani. Nine yachts started on Boxing Day, 1945 and several were 'lost' during the race, among them Rani which sailed through stormy weather to take line and handicap (corrected time) honours.

The Sydney Hobart has been held every year since, with the inaugural fleet growing to a record 371 starters in the 50th race in 1994 - the largest fleet in the world for a Category 1 ocean race. Among that remarkable fleet were two yachts that started in the inaugural race – Archina and Winston Churchill. Among the crews were two yachtsmen, Peter Luke and 'Boy' Messenger, by then in their mid to late 70s, who had sailed in 1945.

Of the fleet, 308 yachts finished and were packed gunwale to gunwale in Hobart’s historic Constitution Dock and Sullivan’s Cove.

The 628 nautical mile course starts from Sydney Harbour, a natural amphitheatre for spectators on the headlands, and takes the fleet down the East Coast of Australia, across the eastern edge of Bass Strait which divides the island State of Tasmania from the Australian mainland.

Then it’s then down the Tasmanian East Coast where, after rounding the towering perpendicular rock of Tasman Island, the fleet sails the final 30 nautical miles across Storm Bay and then 11 miles up the Derwent River to the finish off historic Battery Point in Hobart, Australia’s second oldest city.

The 'Hobart' is unique because it is one of the most challenging ocean races in the world, with uncertain weather that can range from a rollicking spinnaker run down the NSW South Coast before a 15-20 knot nor’easter to a howling southwesterly front bringing winds of up to 50-60 knots, sometimes more, and massive boat and body-breaking seas. Bass Strait is notorious for its short, steep seas due to its relative shallow depth and strong currents and the regular fronts bringing gales from the south and south-west.

There has never been a Sydney to Hobart without a significant change in the wind direction and strength, and there have been some turbulent years that have battered boats and bodies into submission.

Love and War off Merimbula, NSW south coast - 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart -  © Rolex-Daniel Forster?nid=39728  

The worst races in recent years have been in 1984, 1993 and 1998. In 1984 a fleet of 150 yachts started and 104 retired in strong to galeforce southerly winds that battered the fleet off the NSW South Coast and in Bass Strait.

In 1993 there were 110 starters but only 38 yachts (including an all-women crew) battled their way to Hobart through a series of south-westerly and southerly fronts with gusts of up 70 knots. Crews abandoned two yachts as they sank while the skipper of another yacht was washed overboard at night and spent five hours in high seas and strong winds until spotted by a searching ship and picked up another yacht. He returned to racing two years later - in a bigger boat and won his division.

Tragedy shrouded the Sydney to Hobart in 1998 when the worst storm in the history of the race struck the fleet as most of the 115 yachts entered Bass Strait. Competitors reported west and south-westerly winds of up to 80 knots and sea of 15 metres, some to 20 metres, as a 'Bass Strait Bomb' exploded in the form of an intense depression (the barometer dropped to 982 Mb in the race area) south-east of Gabo Island on December 27, maintaining much of its intensity for 36 hours.

Of the 115 yachts that started, 71 retired. In a remarkable search and rescue operation, helicopters and surface vessels rescued 55 sailors from 12 stricken yachts and in a man overboard situation. Seven boats were abandoned and five sank during the storm, most of them after having been rolled by the huge seas, as were most of the other yachts in difficulty. Sadly, six crewmembers perished at sea in the worst tragedy in the race’s long history.

SKANDIA, AUS M10 SKIPPER: Grant Wharington MAXI 98 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2006 -  © Rolex - Carlo Borlenghi?nid=39728  

In the past 62 races (to 2006) a total of 4,976 yachts carrying an estimated total 44,600 crew, have started in the Sydney Hobart. Of that number 3,928 boats completed the race, 910 retired for various reasons.

Then, what is the attraction? It is the challenge of the wind and the sea, the comradeship of this adventure, the competitive boat-for-boat, tactical encounters and, not the least, the remarkable hospitality that Tasmanians show the crews who have reached their island State. No other similar passage yacht race in the world is accorded such a magnificent start from Sydney Harbour nor such a huge welcome as the first yacht berths at Hobart’s historic Constitution Dock. The Hobartians and visitors from around the world are there in thousands, no matter the time of day or night.

Ocean yacht racing is also a sport for young and old. Although the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia now insists that at least 50% of the crew of each yacht must be experienced and trained in sea safety and aged 18 years or more.

Since that small group of intrepid sailors headed south to Tasmania in the inaugural race in 1945, 74 yachtsmen have been recorded by the CYCA’s Quiet Little Drink ‘committee’ as having sailed in 25 of the annual blue water classics. Like the winning yachts, their names are on an honour board in the Clubhouse.

The late Tasmanian yachtsman John Bennetto holds the record with 44 individual races, but Victorian Lou Abrahams and New South Welshman Tony Cable will equal it this year.

Abrahams is one of three octogenarians who will be skippering their yachts to Hobart in the 63rd race. Abrahams, 80, will skipper his Sydney 38 Challenge, while Sydney yachtsmen John Walker, 85, is heading south again in his Peterson 34 Impeccable and 81-year-old Syd Fischer is skippering his latest Ragamuffin, a Transpac 52 in his 39th Hobart Race. Walker will be become the oldest competitor in the history of the ocean classic.

The Rolex Sydney Hobar




by Peter Campbell

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=39728

10:23 AM Fri 7 Dec 2007 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on


Related News Stories:

18 Jun 2013  Sail the Northwest Passage on your iPad
17 Jun 2012  IRC National Championship - Ballistic conditions on Day 2 + Video
28 Mar 2012  Solo Offshore Racing - Truant wins first race
19 Jun 2011  Audi Melges 32 Sailing Series overall
08 Apr 2011  Audi Sydney to Newcastle images by Andrea Francolini
06 Apr 2011  RORC Easter Challenge ­- A golden opportunity for sailors
26 Feb 2011  RORC Caribbean 600 coming of age
14 Nov 2010  OPA Offshore Racing Series 2010 - Versus to broadcast series
15 Oct 2009  Rolex Middle Sea warm up Race
21 Jun 2009  Spain's Calima - Javier Pujol winner of the Giraglia Race
MORE STORIES ...

News - USA and the World

Team Vestas Wind has been recovered from a reef off the Cargados Carajos Shoals, 200nm from Mauritius. Shane Smart was sent to cover the recovery operation and filed these images ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Team Vestas Wind recovered from reef by Sail-World.com/nz and Volvo OR Media
The Volvo65, Team Vestas Wind has been recovered from a reef off St Brandon, on the Cargados Carajos Shoals, 200nm from Mauritius. the yacht has been hoisted aboard a Maersk shipping line vessel, after being dragged over the reef and into the lagoon on the Cargados Carajos Shoals, 200nm from Mauritius. ... [more]  

Andrea Francolini was on the water with the US supermaxi, RIO 100 during offshore training session before the Boxing Day Rolex Sydney to Hobart race, and provided this gallery of images. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - A bashing, crashing and punishing first night at sea could well decide the outcome in the race for line honours in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart race. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - The 117 yachts in the Rolex Sydney Hobart will face an early test this year, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecasting a sharp 20 to 25 knot southerly change on Boxing Day afternoon not long after the start. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - There’s no doubt the returned soldiers aboard Spirit of Mateship and Southern Excellence II are the kind of blokes you want around if things went horribly wrong – and for that matter, you want them for the good stuff too – because they are top blokes. ... [more]  

Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series: This event, which kick starts the Caribbean race season, is proving to be a huge attraction for overseas entries with over 20 already signed and more than 50 boats expected overall. One of the biggest draws is the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race (21 January), a 60 nautical mile ocean race round the island. There are currently 14 established records in this race. ... [more]  

Barcelona World Race: The challenges of racing as a duo, not just seeking to perform at the highest level over a period of 90 to 100 days but actually co-habiting in a small, confined space whilst also experiencing extremes of discomfort – wet, damp, tired, hot, cold, emotional and physical. Here Ken Way gives an insight into how he helps the relationship between the two skippers work. ... [more]  

Comanche’s owner, Jim Clark concedes that a Rolex Sydney Hobart isn’t the ideal first race for such a big, complex machine, but: 'I am married to an Australian, and I’ve seen the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart a number of times. ... [more]  

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Organizers of the St. Thomas International Regatta are proud to announce that Cruzan Rum and Presidente beer, distributed by Glazer’s Premier Distributors, LLC, will provide major sponsorship in support for the 2015 regatta. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Warwick Sherman never really wanted to do the Rolex Sydney Hobart, he’d done plenty of ocean racing, but bashing his way across Bass Strait to get to Tasmania just didn't grab him. Perversely, all that changed when he was diagnosed with cancer. ... [more]  

The second stage of the Soto 40 South American Tour is coming up next and will be held in Algarrobo, Chile from 24 - 31 January. More than eight yachts are expected to take part in the Chille Sailing Week, a competition noted for its level of competition and close racing, where success is characterized by consistency, precision and teamwork. ... [more]  

The Flying Dutchman, regarded as one of the finest and fastest one-design dinghy classes ever designed, will return to Sydney Harbour en masse when the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron conducts the Australian and World championships, starting next week. ... [more]  

The International Moth Class isn't exactly a new sailing class, yet the learning curve would have to be one of the steepest out there. Moths have been on foils for almost 10 years, yet besides talking to fellow moth sailors, there isn't a lot of information out there to help you master the skills and techniques needed to fly ... [more]  

America's Cup: Full CAS report finds both ISAF and de Ridder at fault *Feature by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz
The Decision of the Court for Arbitration of Sport over the suspension of Dutch sailor Dirk de Ridder has been circulated. The report, which was earlier reported in summary form as to the decision, confirms a 18month suspension on de Ridder, one of the Netherlands' top sailors ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Australia’s premier ocean race has always had an international flavour; Captain Illingworth, who started the whole Sydney Hobart thing was, after all, an Englishman. ... [more]  

An initiative by the SuperYacht Racing Association (SYRA) led to collaboration with the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) and ultimately the creation of a new superyacht handicapping rule - the ORC SuperYacht Rule (ORCsy). ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Ocean sailors are daft; why else would you think it a good idea to take a modern ocean racing yacht around the world on her own bottom to compete in lots and lots of races, some thousands of miles long? ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - The island is off the NSW south coast, 155 nautical miles south of Sydney’s South Head and about 6 nm south-east of Narooma. Its lighthouse, built of granite quarried on the island, began operating in 1881. The island is a protected nature reserve. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Hundreds of Australian sailors spend their lives trying to win the Tattersall’s Cup; year after year they declare in Hobart that this was their last Rolex Sydney Hobart - definitely - for sure. But 12 months later you spot them again at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, tinkering with their pride and joy and nervously eying off Boxing Day ... [more]  

America's Cup: Lawsuit against Oracle Racing lodged in San Francisco *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
In further legal fallout from the 34th America's Cup one of the New Zealand sailors named in an action bought by the International Sailing Federation has in turn lodged a lawsuit in a California Court against his former racing team, Oracle Racing Inc over boat fixing in America's Cup World Series ... [more]  

Antigua Sailing Week 2015 by Antigua Sailing Week
If you haven't been to Antigua Sailing Week for some years Antigua Sailing Week have a quick overview for you of what has changed and what makes it worth the journey along with information on bareboat and race charters, multihulls and challenges for 2015. ... [more]  

RORC Transatlantic Race: The three-man team on Sérénade was the final yacht to complete the inaugural race. Having spent over 18 days at sea, the crew were understandably tired but Denis Villotte, Alain Houchard and Pit Porta were smiling from ear to ear in Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina. A large welcoming party had gathered to greet them. ... [more]  

2017 J/80 World Championships: The Royal Southern Yacht Club (RSrnYC) has an active J/80 fleet and attracts many more of the class to its summer series of regattas run annually from May through to September, in addition to match racing J/80s in the annual Grade 2 Match Cup. ... [more]  

Spectacular fire on Sydney Harbour captured on video *Feature by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz
Sydney sailing sports photographer, Beth Morley was on Sydney Harbour, capturing images of the Friday night racing, when a luxury launch caught fire nearby. I was out photographing the Ransa Sailing yacht race this evening when I saw smoke coming from the back of a large cruise boat around the back of Sow and Pigs (reef) area towards Middle Head. ... [more]  

Clipper Round the World: The award is in recognition of the way he directed his crew during a dramatic man overboard rescue in the harsh northern Pacific Ocean last March. The Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship is an internationally renowned trophy awarded annually for an act of seamanship which significantly contributes to the safety of a yacht, or one or more individuals at sea. ... [more]  

OK Dinghy Worlds: Some sailors will even be in transit over the festive period, so thoughts of overindulgence will be a long way from their minds as they focus on the challenge ahead – overcoming the strong Australian team and preparing for the conditions on Port Phillip Bay. However, if the event is true to form - there will be overindulgence in competitive and fun racing. ... [more]  

The Decision of the Court for Arbitration of Sport over the suspension of Dutch sailor Dirk de Ridder has been circulated. The report, which was earlier reported in summary form as to the decision, confirms a 18month suspension on de Ridder, one of the Netherlands' top sailors ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - With the early weather outlook for next week’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Race indicating it will be a sometimes torrid all-round test over the 628 nautical miles, the highly experienced crew of race record holder Wild Oats XI is feeling comfortable but not over-confident. ... [more]  

Hanohano Outrigger Canoe Club, Huki Outrigger, and Hoven Vision present the 19th Annual Hanohano Huki Ocean Challenge to be held in Mission Bay, San Diego, Ca. on January 24th, 2015. ... [more]  

Photographer Andrea Francolini was on the water to provided this gallery of images of Comanche. ... [more]  

Images from Mauritius as the Team Vestas Wind recovery crew prepare to depart for the Cargados Carajos Shoals, over 200nm away. The team have acquired some salvage equipment and will live aboard a chartered boat and attempt to float the boat over the reef and into the lagoon. ... [more]  

The skipper of Mapfre, Iker Martinez will leave the Campos managed Volvo Ocean Race entry for the third Leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. The team cites a conflict between Martinez's Olympic commitments in the Nacra 17 and the Volvo Ocean Race, as the reason for the departure which the team says was a planned move. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Nicholson back on the atoll to retrieve Vestas Wind
America's Cup: Iain Murray appointed as Regatta Director again
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - Clipper Race to enter 12-strong fleet
Adventures of a Sailor Girl: News and interviews from December 16 show
Pogo 40, Bingo completes RORC Transatlantic Race 2014
Volvo Ocean Race: Chris Nicholson Interview - Part 3 - On the Atoll *Feature
Bell's Beer Bayview Mackinac Race - Safety Requirements published
Int'l 14 World Championships - Defending champion expects tight racing
WWA Wake Park World Series - Daniel Grant and Aaron Gunn make history
US Sailing’s Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Awards
Sailing World Cup Melbourne: Highlights video from Port Philip
Bart’s Bash raises huge total for international sailing charity
Optim'X (FRA) completes RORC Transatlantic Race 2014
Perpetual Loyal unveils 1120 square metre A2 for Rolex Sydney Hobart
ISAF SWC Melbourne – Girls’ Day Out *Feature
Website for the 2015 Finn Gold Cup in Takapuna is launched
Great signed Limited Edition sailing books by Bob Fisher for Christmas
Clipper Race - Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to mentor young South African
IFDS Worlds 2014 New Video Memories - Halifax is just a click away!
McDougall + McConaghy Moth Worlds 2015 - Must see, seriously fun event
Volvo Ocean Race: Chris Nicholson Interview - Part 2 - On the Rocks *Feature   
Successful St. Maarten Regatta Beach Clean-Up at Kim Sha Beach   
US Sailing releases Rio 2016 Olympic Trials System   
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Oldies return   
Volvo Ocean Race sets up independent inquiry into Vestas Wind disaster   
Volvo Ocean Race: Team Brunel: sweet victory   
RORC Transatlantic Race - Apollo 7 touch down   
2014 OK Dinghy Worlds Preview one - Last but not least   
Melges 24 Christmas Sprint Series - Christmas comes early for Red Mist   
Extreme Sailing Series 2014 Act 8 - Superb podium finish for Realteam   
Volvo Ocean Race: Chris Nicholson on the Team Vestas Wind disaster - 1 *Feature   
USA 4 Windsurfing campaign   
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - One last modification to Wild Oats XI   
Sydney-Hobart: Wacky Races 2 - Frosty, Hoonigan and Wilbo *Feature   
RORC Transatlantic Race 2014 - Big adventure comes to an end   
ISAF World Sailing Rankings – 15 December 2014   
Comanche; Supermaxi Showdown VIDEO   
Miami Star Winter Series - Commodores Cup Final day   
2014/15 Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series - Jason Michas wins   
2014 RORC Transatlantic Race - Yacana crosses finish line   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT