On Boxing Day, a few yachts set off from Sydney for an annual race to Hobart.
Most sport events have a set time frame. A game of tennis can drag on, a cricket match can finish early, perhaps extra time at football. Yachting has it’s own timing, dependent on the weather conditions.
Hobart doesn’t sleep for several days as the city awaits the arrival of the yachts.
The race originated in 1945 with nine yachts when the fastest boat took 6 days 14 hours 22 minutes to complete the course of 628 nautical miles.
The current race record is 1 day 18 hours 23 minutes set by “Wild Oats XI” in 2012.
This year’s race has been the toughest in over a decade. Three start lines in Sydney Harbour saw 108 yachts set off but a southerly storm on the first night resulted in 31 boats having to retire due to damage. Broken mast, mainsails, rudders and dagger boards (whatever they are).
The fastest boat, “Comanche”, was expected at dusk on Monday. We watched, we waited, we checked the RSHYR website, tv news and Twitter for updates.
As dusk settled into darkness, the dark silhouette of this 100 foot yacht with it’s 295 foot mast appeared around the final headland, approaching Hobart city. An entourage of red lights surrounded the super maxi yacht. Locals out on small yachts, motor boats, jet ski, to welcome them to the finish line. A wonderful spectacle (although no photos). Thousands of people lined the waterfront, cheering as the yacht finally moored.
Although “Comanche” took “line honours” there are other trophies at stake. A detailed handicap system based on yacht class, size, age etc calculates an overall winner of the Tattersall Cup.
Several hours passed before the next boat arrived. After 2 days 19 hours and 45 minutes at sea, two boats appeared with just a few yards separating them as they vied for second and third place. We watched this early morning race within a race, cheering on the Aussie boat that separated the American’s in the top three. As the day progressed, a few more yachts arrived, each welcomed on the water and on land. Others will arrive over the coming days.
To add to the mix, a separate Tassie race began in Launceston on Sunday. 285 nautical miles around the north and east coast of the island, finishing in Hobart along with the Sydney boats.
The race for 2nd and 3rd position as “Rambler” unfurls it’s spinnaker. “Ragamuffin 100” in the background.
“Comanche” at the waterfront. Along with other finishers.
This is Hobart now.