Please select your home edition
Edition
Rooster GETSEASMART 728x90

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

Sydney to Hobart - Tribal Warriors Battle Through
There were many great stories in this year's race to Hobart but one of the best marks the end... There were many great stories in this year's race to Hobart but one of the most inspiring and emotional was saved ‘til the end. Posted on 2 Jan
The Rolex Sydney Hobart package
The race was easy physically, but hard mentally As the tail end of fleet worked their way in we took to the docks to ask them how their individual races went and their story about the 75th running of the blue water classic, including the incredible sightings of sea life. Posted on 1 Jan
Achievers crowned at 2019 RSHYR Prizegiving
The event's Official Prizegiving ceremony The 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and its highest achievers have been celebrated by competitors, partners and dignitaries in Hobart at the event's Official Prizegiving ceremony. Posted on 1 Jan
Winners celebrated at RSHYR Prizegiving
Congratulations to the winners of all the trophies, prizes and medals Congratulations to the winners of all the trophies, prizes and medals from the historic 75th Sydney Hobart. The 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has been celebrated by competitors, partners and dignitaries in Hobart at the event's Official Prizegiving Posted on 1 Jan
Australia Yellow wins Southern Cross Cup in RSHYR
The return of the Southern Cross Cup The return of the Southern Cross Cup in conjunction with the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has seen victory go to the Australian Yellow team made up of Ichi Ban, Gweilo and St Jude. Posted on 1 Jan
Final boat finishes 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart
Take Five has arrived at Constitution Dock The final boat to finish the 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, local Tasmanian boat Take Five, has arrived at Constitution Dock. Posted on 1 Jan
Sydney Hobart - Wrap of Day Six
Wrap up coverage of the 75th Rolex Sydney Hobart with a selection of the race's highlights Wrap up coverage of the 75th Rolex Sydney Hobart with a selection of the race's highlights... Posted on 31 Dec 2019
2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race concludes
Celebrating the past, present and future For the past three quarters of a century, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has been an icon in the world of sailing. A race that captivates yachtsmen and women the world over, as well as the wider public. Posted on 31 Dec 2019
Tribal Warrior make history in 2019 RSHYR
The first indigenous team to compete in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Wayne Jones and his team on Tribal Warrior, the first indigenous team to compete in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, have achieved the dream of a lifetime - to start and finish the race Posted on 31 Dec 2019
RSHYR: Ten left at sea surviving tough conditions
10 yachts left racing in the 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race There are 10 yachts left racing in the 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race this morning, with the much followed Wayne Jones-skippered Tribal Warrior the next yacht due into Hobart, currently estimated to arrive after 2pm this afternoon Posted on 31 Dec 2019
Henri-Lloyd 2020 FOOTERRS Sailing 2019 - FooterVaikobi 2019AUG - Footer 2