Please select your home edition
Edition
Armstrong 728x90 - HA Foil Range - TOP

2018 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race: Inspiring and rewarding

by Quinag 23 Nov 2018 15:35 PST 26 December 2018
Comanche - 2018 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race © Carlo Borlenghi

Like all the most challenging offshore races, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race requires determination, courage and commitment. The 74th edition of this annual institution starts on Wednesday, 26 December 2018. Some 92 yachts, ranging from 9.2 metres to 30.48 metres (30.5 feet to 100 feet), will compete for the most sought-after prizes, including the coveted Rolex timepieces awarded for line honours and to the overall winner, determined on International Rating Certificate (IRC) handicap.

Rolex has maintained a commitment to yachting that now spans six decades. Uniting the world's finest yacht clubs, most revered regattas and demanding races, this continued association helps perpetuate the spirit of races such as Rolex Sydney Hobart. The 628-nm voyage from Sydney Harbour to Hobart, Tasmania, was first organised by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) in 1945 and the Rolex partnership dates back to 2002, when the Swiss watchmaker became Title Sponsor.

Line Honours: Accomplishment and Reward

There is no other race of this distance or calibre that gathers so many of the world's most powerful 100-ft monohull yachts. The rivalry between these seaborne goliaths is intense, each craft crewed by highly skilled professional sailors from around the world. To prevail in such a talented field is a major accomplishment.

Five 100-ft Maxis will contest line honours in 2018. Wild Oats XI, owned by the Oatley family and skippered by Mark Richards, will aim to extend her record of successes to nine. Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant's Comanche will hope to repeat the success of last year which led to a new race record time of one day, nine hours, 15 minutes and 24 seconds. Christian Beck's InfoTrack and Peter Harburg's Black Jack may not appear as favoured in the pre-race title claims, but both have tasted victory under previous names and owners. Completing the line-up is Seng Huang Lee's Scallywag from Hong Kong, one of 13 overseas entrants

While this select group has more advanced equipment and technology at its disposal than the nine entrants in the original race, the commitment required of the 2018 frontrunners remains true to John Illingworth's founding idea to "make a race of it".

Overall Victory: Aspiration and Realization

Taking on a 628-nm race demands preparation and planning, along with a willingness to confront all possible adversities. The course's critical points include the mass start from Sydney Harbour, the eastern edge of the formidable Bass Strait and the notoriously fickle Derwent River on the approach to Hobart.

Experience and skill matter, as does perseverance, but there is no single guarantee for success in such a complex race, especially when so much relies on the weather. It took 28 attempts for Matt Allen, a past Commodore of the CYCA and current president of the Australian sailing federation, to skipper a yacht to overall victory and receive the famous Tattersall Cup and Rolex timepiece. "The Rolex Sydney Hobart is the premier event. Everyone follows it and everyone knows the winners of this race," said Allen, after winning with Ichi Ban in 2017. "This has been a lifetime effort. It's every sailor's dream to win it."

Among the 92 entrants are yachts from the six Australian states, China, France, Germany, Hungary, Hong Kong, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Yachtsman Tony Ellis, from Australia, is set to equal the existing record of 51 "trips south" when he takes part on Triton.

An Essential Challenge

Fifty years ago, in November 1968, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston crossed Bass Strait midway through his pioneering solo non-stop navigation around the globe. By the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart that year, he was well on his way to Cape Horn. Some aspects of sailing have evolved considerably since that epic voyage, when one of Knox-Johnston's navigational aids was a Rolex timepiece. Innovation in technology and materials has transformed yacht racing, yet elements remain the same. Before taking part in his third Rolex Sydney Hobart in 2017, Knox-Johnston expressed how races like this one and the Rolex Fastnet help preserve the essential spirit of the sport: "This is how yacht racing should be – challenging for the offshore yachtsman, combining an attractive mix of professionals and Corinthians."

Whether they win or simply complete the course, every participant will uphold the traditions and values of a sport that continues to inspire and to offer opportunity for individuals to test themselves, physically and mentally. In this regard, the Rolex Sydney Hobart is more than just a yacht race. One of the greatest offshore contests, it is a perpetual guardian of the traditions and time-honoured values of the sport.

A Natural and Supportive Partner

Rolex has always sought to associate with activities driven by passion, excellence, precision and team spirit, naturally gravitating towards the elite world of yachting and forming an alliance that dates to the late 1950s. Today, Rolex is Title Sponsor of 15 major international events; from leading offshore races, such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Rolex Middle Sea Race and the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race, through to the highest-level grand prix competition at the Rolex TP52 World Championship and spectacular gatherings at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Swan Cup. The Swiss watchmaker's close partnerships with the most prestigious yacht clubs around the world, including the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (Italy), New York Yacht Club (United States) and the Royal Yacht Squadron (Cowes, United Kingdom), are the foundation of its enduring relationship with this spectacular sport.

Related Articles

Rolex renews support of Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
CYCA renew sponsorship for a further ten years The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA), is delighted to announce that Rolex, the Title Partner of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, has recently confirmed a continuation of its twenty-year relationship with the iconic Australian sporting event Posted on 11 Mar
Oldest videos from the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
A look back into our video archive We delve into the past, and round-up all the videos which show sailing in the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Australia, which has run every December since 1945. Posted on 14 Jan
Wild and wet and windy... and so happy to finish
Last night at sea - bitterly cold temperatures, rough seas and plenty of wind O'Neill's J99 Blue Planet, is a two-handed entry, co-skippered by Michael Johnston. O'Neill reflected after their fifth night pitted them against bitterly cold temperatures, rough seas and plenty of wind. Posted on 31 Dec 2023
RSHYR 2023 | Bow Caddy Media Day Six Wrap
Final report from quayside in Hobart Final report from quayside in Hobart Posted on 31 Dec 2023
RSHYR 2023 | Bow Caddy Media D5 arrivals videos
Video Interviews with some of the arrivals on Day Five of the 2023 Sydney Hobart race Video Interviews with some of the arrivals on Day Five of the 2023 Sydney Hobart race Posted on 30 Dec 2023
Sydney Hobart – Magnificent Results
71 finished at the time of writing, leaving 14 racing with four of those not getting in today 18 retirements, all tucked up safe and sound, except for the amazing octogenarian David Henry, whose Sydney 36CR, Philosopher, is still at sea. Rig damage has ended the campaign for Henry and co-Skipper Stephen Prince. 71 finished at the time of writing Posted on 30 Dec 2023
Unfinished business settled for Eye Candy
Finish sweetens bitter taste of last year's retirement in the Rolex Sydney Hobart It was all about settling unfinished business for the New Caledonia entry, Eye Candy, in the 78th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, after a disappointing retirement on debut last year. Posted on 30 Dec 2023
Mistral has what it takes to win race
The first two-handed entry to finish the 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race Rupert Henry believes his two-handed boat, Mistral, can one day win the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race overall after he sailed the Lombard 34 to an impressive finish today. Posted on 30 Dec 2023
RSHYR 2023 | Bow Caddy Media arrivals videos
Teasing Machine, Mistral, Alive gets the chocolates finally, daily wrap with guests and more Teasing Machine, Mistral, Alive gets the chocolates finally, daily wrap with guests and more Posted on 30 Dec 2023
Sydney Hobart: Alive wins overall
Tasmanian entry wins Rolex Sydney Hobart for a second time in five years Alive, skippered by Duncan Hine, has been declared the overall winner of the 78th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, securing the Tasmanian boat its second victory in five years. Posted on 30 Dec 2023
Henri-Lloyd - For the Obsessed2024 fill-in (bottom)SOUTHERN-SPARS-OFFICIAL-SUPPLIER-52-SS728-X-90 Bottom