Please select your home edition
Edition
KZRaceFurlers

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

Entries open for Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
The 77th edition of ocean racing's 'Everest' Excitement is building for the return of the historic Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, with entries now open for the 77th edition of ocean racing's 'Everest'. Posted on 15 Jun
Virtual Rolex Sydney Hobart victors
166,000 competitors register and take part in the 628-nautical-mile race The 2020 online Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race conducted by Virtual Regatta was one for the record book. Posted on 4 Jan
Boxing Kangaroos win the Virtual Sydney Hobart
International team of virtual racers beat 549 teams In a tightly fought race The Boxing Kangaroos, an international team of virtual yacht racers, beat 549 teams in the Virtual Rolex Sydney Hobart late Monday night claiming first place in the Team standings. Posted on 29 Dec 2020
Rolex Sydney Hobart Flashback Montage
17 years of the Bow Caddy Team's coverage In the context of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race's unbroken record of 75 consecutive races, the 17 years of the Bow Caddy Team's coverage of the event makes us relative rookies on scene still! Posted on 27 Dec 2020
2020 RSHYR continues in Virtual Regatta
Sailors can still take part in the great race online Whilst the 2020 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has unfortunately been cancelled, sailors and fans alike can still take part in the Great Race through Virtual Regatta. Posted on 23 Dec 2020
Sydney Hobart: Rupert Henry on 2-handed sailing
Prior to the race's cancellation due to Covid-19, this video gives a detailed look into this class Filmed before the event's cancellation, Rupert Henry, an experienced two-handed sailor gives some insights into what it takes to campaign a short handed off-shore race, in preparing the for the 76th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Posted on 20 Dec 2020
2020 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race cancelled
Amid COVID-19 concerns arising from the Northern Beaches area It is with great regret that the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia announces that the 76th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will not be proceeding in 2020. Posted on 19 Dec 2020
Stacey Jackson's grand vision for Women in RSHYR
Stacey Jackson has a grand vision for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Stacey Jackson has a grand vision for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - that being, the day when there is parity in numbers between male and female sailors entered. Posted on 17 Dec 2020
Grinders Coffee SOLAS Big Boat Challenge
InfoTrack beats Black Jack in near perfect performance Christian Beck and his crew continue to firm as the ones to beat for line honours in this year's Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race after they produced a near-perfect performance to win the 2020 Grinders Coffee SOLAS Big Boat Challenge on Tuesday. Posted on 8 Dec 2020
Black Jack returns for the Rolex Sydney Hobart
Black Jack is still the boat to beat in lighter wind Ever wonder how much work goes into preparing a yacht for the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - never mind a big boat that has just returned from Europe amid the COVID-19 pandemic? Posted on 1 Dec 2020
Sea Sure 2020 - FOOTERHella Dual Colour Floodlights - 728 x 90px - 6 jpg BottomCyclops 2020 - SmartlinkNano - FOOTER