Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2023

sailboat race australia

Alive wins Rolex Sydney Hobart for a second time in 5 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.

Thank You for making the 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race – A Race for the Ages

  • 29 Jan, 2024 11:27:00 AM

Thank You for making the 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race – A Race for the Ages

Reflecting on the resounding success of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2023 fills us with gratitude. The coordination required for hosting such an iconic event was made possible by the dedicated efforts of everyone involved.

Congratulations to all the divisional winners of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2023

  • 23 Jan, 2024 10:00:00 AM

Congratulations to all the divisional winners of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2023

Congratulations to all the divisional winners of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2023.

2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - A Race for the Ages

  • 22 Jan, 2024 09:00:00 AM

2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - A Race for the Ages

The 78th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race was one of the most challenging offshore classics in years and delivered some of the tightest finishes for both Line Honours and Overall victory in the race's history.

Four boats still racing – reflections on Toecutter’s debut

  • 01 Jan, 2024 09:00:00 AM

Four boats still racing – reflections on Toecutter’s debut

This morning four yachts remain at sea in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race: Jason Bond’s Beneteau First 47.7 Enigma (NSW) and Kiwi husband and wife, Michael and Tracey Carter on Allegresse, both due to finish today.

Q & A with Charles Devanneaux – owner of US entry Lenny

  • 01 Jan, 2024 08:59:00 AM

Q & A with Charles Devanneaux – owner of US entry Lenny

**Charles Devanneaux (second from right) with crew of LENNY** Although French, with a full French crew, Charles Devanneaux represented the USA where he lives.

PHOTOS | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Official Prizegiving

PHOTOS | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Official Prizegiving

PHOTOS | Day 5 Morning - Tasman Island and Storm Bay

PHOTOS | Day 5 Morning - Tasman Island and Storm Bay

PHOTOS | Day 5 and Day 6 finishers

PHOTOS | Day 5 and Day 6 finishers

PHOTOS | Official Presentation of Tattersall Cup and Rolex Timepiece to the Overall Winner

PHOTOS | Official Presentation of Tattersall Cup and Rolex Timepiece to the Overall Winner

VIDEO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Rolex Daily Video Summary

VIDEO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Rolex Daily Video Summary

VIDEO | Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2023

VIDEO | Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2023

VIDEO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Official Prizegiving

VIDEO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Official Prizegiving

VIDEO | Race Update - 31 December Morning

VIDEO | Race Update - 31 December Morning

AUDIO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Sked 10

AUDIO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Sked 10

AUDIO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Sked 9

AUDIO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Sked 9

AUDIO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Sked 8

AUDIO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Sked 8

AUDIO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Sked 7

AUDIO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Sked 7

AUDIO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Sked 6

AUDIO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Sked 6

  • Line Honours

Full Standings available approximately three hours after the start.

Virtual Regatta. The official game

OFFICIAL ROLEX SYDNEY HOBART MERCHANDISE

Shop the official clothing range of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in person at the Club in New South Head Road, Darling Point or online below.  

From casual to technical clothing, there is something for all occasions. Be quick as stock is limited!

Sydney to Hobart yacht race — day one of the 77th edition of the bluewater classic, as it happened

Sport Sydney to Hobart yacht race — day one of the 77th edition of the bluewater classic, as it happened

Supermaxi Andoo Comanche is leading a closely bunched pack of supermaxis in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race, as the fleet heads south on day one of the contest's 77th edition.

Northerly winds helped the fleet, particularly the supermaxis, amid predictions   the leaders may have supporting winds all the way to Hobart. 

Leading into the traditional Boxing Day start, the Sydney to Hobart was seen as a race in four to be first to the finish — Andoo Comanche, last year's line honours winner Black Jack, Law Connect and Hamilton Island Wild Oats.

Big crowds were on hand on Sydney Harbour for the 1pm AEDT start — but the opening exchanges saw chaos reign, amid near-misses, protests and penalties for two of the big four.

Hamilton Island Wild Oats skipper Mark Richards let loose a number of audible obscenities on the TV coverage, as he and his crew tried to navigate their way to the Sydney Heads and out into the ocean for the trip south.

A group of people stand on the shore and look out at Sydney Harbour, as some film the Sydney to Harbour fleet.

Race favourite Andoo Comanche had a poor start, not getting enough clear wind to move ahead of its rivals, and then being jammed by other craft making it difficult to do the required tacking down the harbour.

Skipper and owner John Winning Jr and sailing master Iain Murray were not happy, and even less so when they made it to the first turning mark but misjudged the turn and hit the mark.

They had to do a penalty turn, losing ground on their rivals. However Andoo Comanche raised a protest flag, claiming they had been infringed by another boat.

On board Hamilton Island Wild Oats, a spirited conversation took place between skipper Mark Richards and navigator Stan Honey, with suggestions the boat may have infringed rejected by Richards.

Finally Richards relented, ordering crew to "Deploy the jib! Deploy the jib!" before completing a 720-degree turn.

At one point Black Jack cut back across two of its rivals, running a fine line between LawConnect and Hamilton Island Wild Oats.

Two big boats move through the water towards the Sydney Heads with sails up and a helicopter in the background.

After the frantic start, LawConnect took the lead from Black Jack, with a gap to the two boats that had done penalty turns.

As the leaders got out into the ocean to turn south, LawConnect held the lead for some time before Andoo Comanche picked up some solid winds further out from shore and hit the front, 90 minutes into the race.

For much of the afternoon, Andoo Comanche then maintained and extended its lead over LawConnect.

As of 9:20pm AEDT, Andoo Comanche led by 4.6 nautical miles (about 8.5 kilometres) over LawConnect, with Black Jack in third and Hamilton Island Wild Oats in fourth. There were 8.7 nautical miles covering first to fourth.

Andoo Comanche is close to its own record pace, which was set in 2017. 

The record is one day, nine hours, 15 minutes, 24 seconds.

On the race website, the estimated time of arrival for Andoo Comanche as of 9:20pm AEDT is 12:38am and 44 seconds AEDT just past midnight on Thursday morning — which would fall short of the existing mark by about two hours.

In the race for overall honours, NSW boat Celestial — which was in line to win overall last year before being demoted on protest — leads from New Zealand boat Caro, and American entry Warrior Won.

Only two of the 109 entries in the race have retired so far. The two-handed boat Avalanche retired early in the race, with a reported damaged bowsprit, while Yeah Baby retired early on Monday evening.

Look back at how the race unfolded on Monday on our blog.

  • 6:45 AM 6:45 AM Mon 26 Dec 2022 at 6:45am Andoo Comanche's lead increases - a race record could be on the cards!
  • 3:32 AM 3:32 AM Mon 26 Dec 2022 at 3:32am We have a battle at the top!
  • 2:21 AM 2:21 AM Mon 26 Dec 2022 at 2:21am LawConnect hits the front as Andoo Comanche protests!

Live updates

That's where we'll leave it.

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By Andrew McGarry

Andoo Comanche heads for the outside marker in the Sydney to Hobart

It's been an eventful first six hours of this year's Sydney to Hobart, with protests, near misses and a fast start that leaves Andoo Comanche in pole position for line honours and a possible race record.

But don't rule out its rival supermaxis - LawConnect,   Hamilton Island Wild Oats and Black Jack!

The wrap of the day's racing will be live shortly. Keep an eye on this article for any major updates during the evening and there will be new stories tomorrow to keep track of the leaders as they get closer to Hobart.

Thanks to everyone for joining us today on the blog -   from myself, Andrew McGarry, have a good evening.  

Change in the placings

The order of the top boats on the water has not changed for some time, but now as we get towards the evening, there is one change we can report.

Hamilton Island Wild Oats is still getting a decent wind as it sits closest to the shore of the four leaders.

The boat has moved into third spot, passing Black Jack.

Hamilton Island Wild Oats is seven nautical miles from the leader, going at 22.3 knots. Black Jack (20.4 knots) is now 8.2 nautical miles from the leader.

An example of the effect handicap has on the race for overall honours

So when we talk about overall honours, we also call it handicap honours. That is because the organisers use a "handicap" - similar to horse-racing but not based on weight carried - to make the race fair between boats of different sizes.

As said previously, as of now, Andoo Comanche is on course to break its own race record from 2017.

However, when you look at the leaderboard for overall honours, you see why it is hard for the supermaxis to win overall.

The leader, Celestial, is predicted to cross the line on Wednesday morning at about 7:33am AEDT. When the handicap of 1.390 is applied, Celestial's corrected arrival time is for 12:09:48am on the Thursday (i.e) just after midnight.

If we look at Andoo Comanche, the predicted arrival time (which changes constantly) is now 7:53:17pm AEDT tomorrow night.

Because of its size, Andoo Comanche has a handicap of 2.047 - on corrected time, it's expected finish time is 4:13:40am AEDT on December 29, more than 32 hours after it would physically finish the race.

Right now, Andoo Comanche is 14th for overall honours. We will see if the northerly winds that are due to help the supermaxis help move the boat up the list as the race goes on.

Andoo Comanche's lead increases - a race record could be on the cards!

Andoo Comanche is keeping up a solid speed on the way south, with the supermaxi still going at 25.4 knots, situated 32 nautical miles south-east of Jervis Bay - that's a lead of 5.5 nautical miles over LawConnect.

The interesting statistic right now is the estimated time of arrival - according to the race website, Andoo Comanche is due to come into Hobart at 7:52pm and 55 seconds AEDT tomorrow night.

If that happens, then the John Winning Jr-owned boat would smash the race record by more than two hours!

As things stand, LawConnect is estimated to finish at 10:16:07pm AEDT - 43 seconds outside the existing record of Comanche.

A word of caution, however. There is NO guarantee that winds will stay this strong all the way, and if there are flat spots then that estimated finish time will blow out.

Plus, of course, there is no idea what the Derwent will have in store. If the winds die down in the river tomorrow evening, then it may not matter how quickly the boats get down there.  

A clip of LawConnect in the Sydney to Hobart

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LawConnect has had a good day so far, taking the lead for a section of the afternoon before giving up the top spot to Andoo Comanche.

The boat's team have released a clip of them in action on the harbour.

You can also follow them in action on the water with their livestream here .

Still a clear top four at the top

Back to line honours again, and the top four is clear, four hours into the race.

As the leaders approach Jervis Bay, Andoo Comanche leads by four nautical miles from LawConnect, then Black Jack trails the leader by 6.2 nautical miles, and Hamilton Island Wild Oats is fourth, 6.5 nautical miles back.

There is a gap of more than seven nautical miles from Wild Oats to the rest of the fleet, led by Stefan Racing, with Willow just behind further out from shore.

An early update on the race for overall honours

While the focus is on the four at the front, let's take a quick look at the race for the overall win.

As we said previously, the weather may well affect this more than most years. If it's true that the top four could make it to Hobart (or at least the Derwent) on just one set of northerly winds, while the smaller boats could be hit by one or two changes on the way south, then even the handicap may not be enough to even things out.

As of the latest update at 4:30pm AEDT, the American-owned Warrior Won is 21 nautical miles east of Kiama, and is going at 17.7 knots.

It's estimated finish on corrected time is 3:26:38am (AEDT).

It's nearest competitor is New Zealand boat Caro, which is at the same spot - 21 nautical miles east of Kiama - but whose estimated finish is five minutes 26 seconds behind Warrior Won.

In third is the NSW boat Gweilo, a further two minutes 45 seconds behind on estimated time.

Next is Celestial - which won overall line honours before being demoted on protest.

As they say in the (bluewater) classics, this is VERY early days, and will change a fair bit depending on events, the weather patterns and how clear a run the big four get.

Andoo Comanche is ripping along

Things are going well on board the leader Andoo Comanche.

The supermaxi is passing Nowra and has picked up speed again, to be running at 28.4 knots (52.6 kmh).

Clearly the further out you go, the better the wind - at least for them.

The winds are stronger again, with all three of Comanche's rivals going at a minimum of 22 knots (40.7 kmh).

One boat out of the race so far

We have confirmation that the two-handed boat Avalanche is the first entry out of this year's Sydney to Hobart.

It is understood that the James Murchison-owned Hick 40 boat went back to port with a damaged bow sprit.

It is the second time that the boat has been forced to retire from the race - in 2015 Avalanche was launched and contested the race, before retiring with hull damage.

Decent winds predicted for tomorrow evening

It's early days ... but having a look on Windy , the predictions are for 40 to 50km an hour northerly winds blowing the fleet due south through late tomorrow afternoon into the evening and night, which means if it's not going to be a race record, it might not be far off it.

The idea of the leaders being downwind the whole way to the Iron Pot will do their chances no harm - the big question is, what will the River Derwent have in store? Many a contender has slowed down or come to a standstill and watched their chances go out the window in the final stages.

We will have to wait and see.  

The leaders have passed Wollongong

The head of the fleet is going past Port Kembla, two and a half hours after the start.

Andoo Comanche is still getting the best of the wind, furthest out from shore. The leader is picking up speed and going at 24.5 knots, extending the lead over Law Connect to 2.1 nautical miles.

Black Jack is going at 20 knots and is 3.2 nautical miles back, while Hamilton Island Wild Oats is 4.0 nautical miles back, at 21 knots.

Will this be a race of two races?

As we settle in for the run down the coast, the question is what the weather will do and how it will affect the fleet.

So far, the winds are solid but not spectacular. The leading four boats are all travelling at between 19 and 21.5 knots (35.2 - 39.8 kmh).

The expectation is that the winds will remain northerly (i.e. pushing the boats south towards Hobart) and will increase in strength as the afternoon goes on.

The overall forecast is that the winds will stay northerly all the way to Hobart - at least for the leading bunch of boats.

The first real change will come on Wednesday, when a trough is expected to shift the winds to southerly, making it harder for boats to keep speed up.

By the time that trough comes, however, the leading chances may well have finished the race!

Just remember, the race record is one day, nine hours, 15 minutes and 24 seconds - so to set a new mark, boats will have to reach Hobart before 10:15pm AEDT tomorrow night.

It's getting tasty up the front

We are getting a sense of the different plans at play for the leading chances as we head towards the two-hour mark.

There is an arrayed line of four, outside to inside (out to sea to closest to shore).

Andoo Comanche leads on the wide line, with just under 600 nautical miles to go to the finish.

Inside her and a little further astern is LawConnect, which is still travelling well, 0.7 nautical miles behind.

Next is Black Jack, a little further in to shore and 1.5 nautical miles behind.

In fourth is Hamilton Island Wild Oats, but after all the swearing and penalties and lost ground earlier, Mark Richards and his crew are hitting the mark now. The boat is picking up speed on an inside line, and is going at 19.2 knots, just 2.3 nautical miles behind.

Some photographers will do ANYTHING for a Sydney to Hobart picture

Stefan Racing sails out of the Heads during the Sydney to Hobart.

There are camera crews on board various boats in the harbour for the start of the race, and they then have to make a hasty exit - unless they want to take the long route to Hobart!

But it's not just the TV folks who brave the water. Getty Images' Mark Evans got up close and personal to the water to get this amazing shot of Stefan Racing . Hopefully he's dry now...

We have a battle at the top!

With the leaders well and truly out in the open going down the coast, the supermaxis are able to take advantage of the winds from the north.

Andoo Comanche has found its sea-legs, so to speak, and is absolutely flying! Right now the John Winning Jr-owned entry is the furthest out to sea, going at just under 25 knots.

Comanche has caught up with LawConnect and is officially level, but   has a 3.9 knot wind advantage over its rival.

A little further back is last year's line honours winner Black Jack, travelling at 20.1 knots. Hamilton Island Wild Oats is sticking closer to shore, but isn't getting the big wind. Wild Oats is 1.6 nautical miles behind the two leaders, going at 17.9 knots.

Get ready, this could be a four-way race all the way down the coast!

Big crowds watch the start

Spectators watch on and take photos of the fleet in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

The rest of the top 10

We've been focused on the big four, because they are the ones likely to fight it out for line honours.

But the rest of the top 10 has some interesting names there.

In fifth is the Botin 80 boats Stefan Racing, owned and skippered by Grant Wharington.

Next is the Reichel Pugh Maxi 72 URM Group, followed by Willow, whose best finish was fourth for line honours in 2016.

Then we have Moneypenny, owned and skippered by Sean Langman, and then Tasmanian boat Alive, which won the race overall in 2018. Rounding out the top 10 is Whisper, owned by Phillip Turner and skippered by Duncan Hine.  

What's the wind doing?

At the moment, the winds seem to be northerly / north-easterly, which will assist the boats in going down the coast.

The forecast says the leaders could well get all the way to Hobart with helping winds, which is why the tip is that the race record could be in danger.

The record is held by Comanche - in 2017 the race was won in one day, nine hours, 15 minutes and 24 seconds.

Just to show you how things can change, depending on the winds ... last year, Black Jack took line honours, crossing the line in two days, 12 hours, 37 minutes and 17 seconds.    

LawConnect still the one to catch

LawConnect is going nicely in the lead, the supermaxi has clear air in front.

Black Jack is second, and then there is a fair gap back to the other two leaders. Wild Oats is sticking closer to the coast, while Andoo Comanche is further out to sea in search of the best wind.

Another view from Sydney Harbour

Various ABC reporters have been out and about on the harbour for the start, and Nick Sas has posted this beautiful clip of the boats against a gorgeous blue sky.

‘Thought we had lost it’: Australia wins SailGP grand final despite late blunder

Australia SailGP Team with driver Tom Slingsby celebrates with Champagne and the trophy after winning the Mubadala SailGP Season 3 Grand Final in San Francisco, California, on May 7, 2023. (Photo by Josh Edelson / AFP)

Australia has secured a three-peat in the SailGP championship, bettering New Zealand and Great Britain in Monday morning’s winner-takes-all grand final in San Francisco.

It was a resounding victory from the Aussies, led by Tom Slingsby, who pocket AU$1.4 million in prizemoney after dominating the weekend with three wins in five fleet races.

Watch SailGP LIVE and FREE on Kayo Freebies. Join now and start streaming instantly >

Great Britain and New Zealand were no match for the sheer pace of Slingsby’s F50 foiling catamaran, but a late mistake in the grand final almost brought the Kiwis back into the race.

Australia’s 150-metre lead disappeared in a flash when they stumbled and lost speed before the last corner, with Slingsby’s catamaran falling off its foils — but the Aussies recovered before a dramatic dash towards the finish line, defeating New Zealand by just six seconds.

“I thought this could be the greatest choke of all time,” Slingsby said.

“That was not the plan, I thought we had lost it. We had it the whole way.

“That was crazy. I was very scared.

“You can win everything and lose the last race. What a race, what a team.”

Slingsby and his crew celebrated by showering each other in campagne while unfurling an Australian flag.

“We’re in the peak of our career and in the best moments,” Slingsby continued.

“When I’m retired in the future, I’m going to look back on this and just think this is best time of my life.”

“We know our purple patch, this run that we’re on is going to come to an end.

“We’ve just got to really enjoy this moment because our reign will come to an end and we’re going to be sitting there beating ourselves up saying ‘we used to be so good’.

“We continue to improve. We continue to find ways to beat our competitors. We’re going to go through some dark days ahead. I have no plans on leaving SailGP and I know I’m not going to retire undefeated.”

The Sail GP’s expanded fourth season gets underway in Chicago on June 18.

Sail GP Season 3 Standings

1st — Australia (104 points)

2nd — New Zealand (87 points)

3rd — Great Britain (85 points)

4th — France (75 points)

5th — Canada (67 points)

6th – Denmark (67 points)

7th — USA (56 points)

8th — Switzerland (33 points)

9th — Spain (31 points)

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51 seconds apart after 628 nautical miles: LawConnect edges Comanche in Sydney to Hobart race

Comanche heads down Sydney Harbour during the start of the Sydney Hobart yacht race in Sydney, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023. The 630-nautical mile race has more than 100 yachts starting in the race to the island state of Tasmania. (Salty Dog/CYCA via AP)

Comanche heads down Sydney Harbour during the start of the Sydney Hobart yacht race in Sydney, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023. The 630-nautical mile race has more than 100 yachts starting in the race to the island state of Tasmania. (Salty Dog/CYCA via AP)

Skallywag, left, and Comanche sail close during the start of the Sydney Hobart yacht race in Sydney, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023. The 630-nautical mile race has more than 100 yachts starting in the race to the island state of Tasmania. (Salty Dog/CYCA via AP)

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HOBART, Australia (AP) — LawConnect won line honors in the 78th edition of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race on Thursday, holding off defending champion Andoo Comanche by less than a minute in an exciting finish between the super maxis.

The pair of 100-foot yachts had dueled for much of the race and were well ahead of the rest of the fleet of 103 yachts that started the race on Tuesday in Sydney harbor.

LawConnect, which was runner-up in the last three editions of the race, finished in 1 day, 19 hours, 3 minutes, 58 seconds. Comanche’s time was 1 day, 19 hours, 4 minutes, 49 seconds — a margin of just 51 seconds.

It was the second-closest finish in Sydney to Hobart history after Condor of Bermuda beat Apollo by seven seconds in 1982.

Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic hits a return to Novak Djokovic of Serbia during the United Cup tennis tournament in Perth, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Trevor Collens)

Both yachts performed several late jibes as they attempted to secure the lead.

“I can’t believe that result. Honestly, it is a dream come true,” LawConnect’s skipper and owner Christian Beck said. “They took the lead pretty close to the line and we thought there was no way we could get it back.

“A wind gust came around. It was a complete surprise. There were guys who couldn’t watch. It was very nerve wracking.”

Comanche holds the race record of 1 day, 9 hours, 15 minutes, 24 seconds, set when it won the race in 2017.

“It is pretty painful, we’ve got an amazing boat that should have won,” Comanche skipper and owner John Winning Jr. said of Thursday’s result. “The other guys sailed their guts out and left nothing on the table. They beat us with an underdog boat, those guys deserve all the praise they get.”

“It was one of the most epic finishes in probably any sailing race I know. In the last three minutes I think the lead changed three times.”

Comanche and LawConnect were clear front-runners from just out of Sydney harbor. The pair began the trip down the New South Wales south coast at a fast clip but fell off the race record pace. The finish was at Constitution Dock in Hobart, the capital of the island state of Tasmania.

The highest-profile retirement of 11 race withdrawals was SHK Scallywag, one of four 100-foot super maxis which sustained a broken bow sprit and withdrew on the first evening of the race.

LawConnect was the first yacht out of the harbor.

AP sports: https://apnews.com/sports

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You, Too, Could Be Sailing in the Sydney Hobart

Nonprofessional sailors, with some training, can land berths. Or pay for them.

sailboat race australia

By Kimball Livingston

Sailing in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race might seem like an impossible dream to novices. It’s not. It’s a dangerous event for experienced sailors, but rookies who want the adventure and who are willing to undergo the training can buy their way onto a boat.

Worldwide, there are distance races free of crew-experience requirements, but today’s Sydney Hobart was forged in 1998, when a storm killed six people and sank five boats . The standards for participation are now considered the most rigorous anywhere. What you need to know is this: There are people eager to welcome you into the game. Some of them want your money. Others just want to share the sport they love. If you want in, you can get there.

“I have models of boats in my office,” said Dr. Raymond Schwartz, a Sydney neurologist, who was a harbor, not open-water, sailor. “Guys would come in and remark that I must like sailing. I would say yes. Then they’d ask if I’d ever done a Hobart. I’d say no. Their eyes would glaze over, and they’d change the topic. Apparently, I wasn’t a real sailor.”

Dr. Schwartz become “a real sailor” in the 2019 race with his two sons on the Eve, a ketch-rigged Swan 65 with a crew that trains aspiring ocean sailors for a fee. When three friends joined, the skipper capped the nonprofessional crew at that, and Eve became their boat for the race. With a group discount, the fee was 48,000 Australian dollars, or about $34,000.

Eve is owned by Steve Capell, a lifetime sailor who bought the boat to sail it around the world and who manages it as a business, Swanning Around . For this year’s Hobart race, Capell offered nine positions to crew members who would pay, alongside seven professionals. “We’re all looking after each other out there,” he said.

Anyone who doesn’t measure up in Eve’s regimen of skills training, safety training and team-fitness evaluation is not aboard for the race, and no amount of waving money in Capell’s face will change that. But most candidates pass muster, and it’s not all about the money.

Paying-crew positions partly offset the cost of keeping a big yacht ocean ready, but along with the revenue comes the satisfaction of watching people grow.

“Few people recognize at the time how they’re developing as a team,” said Benjamin Roulant, the skipper of Eve. “By the end, after outdoing themselves and pushing each other out of the comfort zone, they’ve formed bonds, and those bonds endure.”

On the fully amateur side, that dimension is dear to Ted Tooher, who is known around the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, which organizes the race, for welcoming qualified first-time Hobart racers aboard his 40-foot Chancellor and for helping others develop the skills that might eventually make them qualified.

“I get a kick out of watching people sail into Hobart with tears in their eyes,” he said. “They’ve achieved something. Maybe the race was a bucket-list item, and for some people it strikes even deeper chords.”

Being female might be an advantage to landing a position, Tooher said. “As a teacher and project manager, and as a skipper, I find that mixed-gender teams work best. The language is cleaner, and there is a flow of positive attitude and respect.”

One woman who is racing in her first Hobart race on Sunday is Greta Quealy, a website editor who is stepping beyond her old habit of “going out to South Head above the harbor to catch the view of the fleet setting off.”

Quealy was an accomplished sailor, so when she approached the yacht club’s sailing concierge, which matches people, even novices, with boats, she was connected to Les Goodridge, skipper of the 50-foot Wax Lyrical. Newcomers are generally introduced to boat owners for the more casual races of the off season, giving seasoned sailors and novices an opportunity to prove themselves and develop. Goodridge tested Quealy in short races, liked what he saw, and kept her on for the Sydney Hobart.

“The introduction between a prospective crew member and a boat owner might be all it takes to build a lasting relationship,” said Noel Cornish, the commodore of the yacht club. “Many crew members have gone on to progress to offshore racing.”

Looking further into commercial products, there is Flying Fish Sailing , a Sydney-based sailing and adventure company that can shape up a beginner and build the experience to qualify for a Sydney Hobart crew. The company provides berths aboard its 55-foot Arctos, a veteran of 13 Hobart races, including two wins in its division.

Flying Fish offers a fuller curriculum than Eve, which plans to soon leave Australia to circle the globe, taking paying crew through ocean crossings and the Northwest Passage.

There can be more to the training than racing. For Dean Jagger, who trained on Eve but never raced, time on the water once meant fishing from a small boat. A crossing aboard Eve, from Australia to New Zealand, galvanized him. Now he explores the coastline of New Zealand on a boat of his own.

For Kate Troup, the normal path to a Sydney Hobart berth would have meant working hard to become an experienced offshore sailor “committed to a lot of racing beforehand, and I was never going to do it,” she said. “Then I learned that Eve is racing this year, and I could bypass most of that effort and sail on that very safe boat that will be comfortable, or as close to comfortable as it comes on the ocean.” She is sailing aboard Eve in Sunday’s race.

Dr. Schwartz and company had a lot to learn before the 2019 race. They did the requisite man-overboard drills, life-raft training, 1,000-offshore miles and the 24-hour overnight passage within six months of the race. They ate salt spray practicing in bad weather, then in the race had a relatively easy trip down the coast. They passed towering rock spires and crossed the exposed waters of Bass Strait to a morning finish in wisps of wind.

Before the race, Dr. Schwartz had asked to steer Eve across the finish line, but the thrill was more than he had imagined, even though Eve finished last in its division.

“There were people everywhere,” he said. “Crowds were cheering. Our families were waving welcome banners. It was loud. It was emotional.”

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How Australia’s SailGP Team Won a Nail-Biting Championship in San Francisco

The $1-million finale in sailing's fastest, most exciting league was australia's to lose. it almost did., michael verdon, michael verdon's most recent stories.

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Australia won the SailGP Grand Finale Cup and $1 million prize in San Francisco.

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But he didn’t: The Australians kept a narrow lead—a matter of seconds—and squeaked across the finish line in front of the Kiwis, with Great Britain finishing a distant third.

Australia won the SailGP Grand Finale Cup and $1 million prize in San Francisco.

Yesterday’s racing completed the third season of SailGP , a performance-based race league styled after Formula One, with teams from nine countries competing last season in 11 venues around the world.

The circuit traveled from Bermuda to Great Britain, Dubai, Australia and New Zealand and six other locations, playing to large crowds in each venue—but more importantly to the television and online audiences that founders Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison and SailGP CEO Russell Coutts, who led multiple America’s Cup campaigns for Ellison, hope will become a successful business model for sailing.

“It’s all about the eyeballs,” Jimmy Spithill, CEO and lead driver of the US team, told Robb Report, referring to developing a global fan base large enough to attract sponsors, advertisers and franchise owners for each team.

“This really does give us confidence in the property we are creating and shows the importance of developing a fan-centric broadcast offer with innovative technology,” said Coutts after the event.

But as it moves towards the season 4 opener in Chicago on June 16, the fledgling league will be facing a pivotal year. Ellison made a five-season commitment to bankroll SailGP’s original teams for about $5 million each per year, with the understanding that they be financially independent.

That means the teams will need to become profitable in the next two seasons—which could be a challenge, since billionaires typically finance sailing’s largest races like the America’s Cup. For the first time ever, the captains are also chief executives, responsible not only for racing but also the business side of each team.

“We’re focused right now on growth,” says Ben Johnson, SailGP’s commercial director for the Americas when asked about profitability. “We see a lot of promise. There’s nothing like SailGP from an experiential or family-friendly brand—and we’re tapping into America’s growing love of race sports. We see tremendous potential in our fan base here.”

Whether the league can grow the US fan base fast enough to turn the numbers into sponsors and revenue remains to be seen. The US team currently has Red Bull as a sponsor, and SailGP recently signed a ten-year agreement with Rolex as a league sponsor. SailGP has also added Los Angeles to New York, Chicago and San Francisco as a season-4 venue, giving the US the largest number of races. Canada will also have a race weekend, giving North America five out of 12 global events.

Australia won the SailGP Grand Finale Cup and $1 million prize in San Francisco.

“We basically built the brand from the ground up that year,” he says. But since then, the team has been “rotating through athletes” mostly because of injuries. That has led to inconsistent performance, says Spithill, especially considering training is limited to a single session before each race weekend. The team had only 20 total hours to train together last season. Such a limited time makes it challenging for any new sailor trying to learn these fast, technical raceboats. “Our future plans have to involve some sort of a training program,” says Spithill.

That’s echoed by new teams like Spain and Canada. “It’s actually really difficult to get quality time on the water,” says Phil Robertson, Canada’s driver and CEO, who has nonetheless had a decent season.

The league has coalesced into three to four teams at the top, mostly from countries with strong sailing cultures, with the newer, less experienced teams like Switzerland and Spain stuck at the bottom. A team from a new country will be announced later this year, according to SailGP officials, bringing the total to ten.

Since SailGP started, the roster has been fluid. Teams from Japan and China have dropped out, while others have signed on. At Friday’s press conference, the driver/CEOs from Spain and Canada were asked if they will have the financial means to continue next season. (Both politely dodged the question, saying they were focusing on this season.)

Despite the internal growth pains, the season finale in San Francisco was electric. The near-shore racing played to full bleachers of cheering crowds along the Golden Gate Yacht Club’s waterfront, while on large video screens, SailGP used a fast-paced feed of live shots from helicopters, photo boats and cameras on the raceboats, along with speed statistics, to capture the action. The league excels in presenting the racing visually, gearing it to a younger audience.

Over the weekend, there was also the drama that came with the racing: Great Britain’s Ainsley, arguably the most accomplished sailor in the league, versus France’s upstart driver Quentin Delapierre, both trying to secure a spot in the final.

Then there were Team USA’s struggles, New Zealand’s lackluster performance until the last day of racing and Australia’s dominance over the rest of the league. Along the way came crashes, near-misses and plenty of tactical maneuvering on the fast, flying raceboats. “The level of aggressiveness has really stepped up,” noted one commentator.

In the final, winner-takes-all $1 million race, it came down to the nail-biter finish between New Zealand and Australia. At one point, the Aussies had a 200-yard lead over New Zealand. “They just kept gaining and gaining,” recalled Australia’s Slingsby.

But in the end, with not much open water between them, Australia crossed the finish line ahead of New Zealand, setting up next season’s rivalry.

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  5. LOOK: Dramatic scenes in Sydney to Hobart sailing race

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  6. LOOK: Dramatic scenes in Sydney to Hobart sailing race

    sailboat race australia

VIDEO

  1. Picking Up The Pace

  2. The Sailors Keep Themselves Entertained

  3. The Intensity Is Picking Up!

  4. @AustraliaSailGPTeam couldn’t kelp themselves 🌊🙈 #sailgp #racing #sailing #poweredbynature

  5. Dramatic video: British sailor goes overboard during race in Australia

  6. Locked Into A Battle

COMMENTS

  1. Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2023

    This morning four yachts remain at sea in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race: Jason Bond's Beneteau First 47.7 Enigma (NSW) and Kiwi husband and wife, Michael and Tracey Carter on Allegresse, both due to finish today. Read Full Story 01 Jan, 2024 08:59:00 AM

  2. SailGP

    SailGP is the most exciting racing on water - Powered By Nature. Meet the teams See the calendar SailGP Explained LEADERBOARD VIEW FULL RANKINGS SCORING EXPLAINED BOOK TICKETS Events Add to Calendar Event 1 Chicago 16 - 17 Jun 2023

  3. Australia Sail Grand Prix: Sydney Information, Tickets, Live Stream and

    All you need to know about the 2024 Australia Sail Grand Prix: Sydney, including Ticket Information, Live Stream and Broadcast Details ... intense races at iconic stadium-style venues across the globe. The high-tech, high-speed action features sailing's best athletes racing in identical hydrofoiling F50 catamarans, flying at speeds ...

  4. Sydney to Hobart yacht race

    7Mate will broadcast the start of the race live around Australia. Their coverage starts at 12:30pm (AEDT). ABC TV will also provide updates throughout the event. For those who can't watch the live broadcast of the start of the race on their TV, Seven will have a stream of the race.

  5. Sydney to Hobart yacht race

    Race record holder Andoo Comanche holds the lead on the Sydney to Hobart yacht race — and favourable winds have it close to beating its own record pace from 2017. Look back at how the race ...

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  7. The Sydney Hobart Race Is a Dream to Win and Formidable to Navigate

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  8. On Some Boats for the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Three's a Crowd

    There's a beautiful simplicity to two-handed offshore sailboat racing: two sailors, one boat and a lot of blue. ... In 2019, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, which organizes the race ...

  9. Two super maxis continue to lead the Sydney to Hobart race as storms

    Updated 12:41 PM PST, December 26, 2023. SYDNEY (AP) — The Sydney to Hobart fleet was reduced to 98 boats after overall honors contender Maritimo 52 was one of two retirements on a stormy first night of racing. Rival super maxis Andoo Comanche and LawConnect remained neck-and-neck in the early hours of Wednesday as the fleet began to pass ...

  10. Sailing milestone: A half-century of starts for a competitor in the

    Lindsay May will notch a first in the 78-year history of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race when he becomes the only sailor to start it 50 times — all of them consecutively — when it begins Tuesday in Sydney harbor. ... Australia China U.S. Election 2024. Politics. Joe Biden Election 2024 Congress Sports. AP Top 25 College Football Poll NFL ...

  11. Australia Wins SailGP, the F1 of Yacht Racing, in Dramatic Fashion

    Australia Wins SailGP, the Formula 1 of Yacht Racing, in Dramatic Fashion. Boat collisions, brutal winds and a whale wandering into the racecourse. In the end, the Aussies won SailGP glory and the ...

  12. Sail GP Grand Final 2023: Australia wins despite late blunder, video

    The Sail GP's expanded fourth season gets underway in Chicago on June 18. Sail GP Season 3 Standings. 1st — Australia (104 points) 2nd — New Zealand (87 points) 3rd — Great Britain (85 points)

  13. 51 seconds apart after 628 nautical miles: LawConnect edges Comanche in

    HOBART, Australia (AP) — LawConnect won line honors in the 78th edition of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race on Thursday, holding off defending champion Andoo Comanche by less than a minute in an exciting finish between the super maxis.

  14. Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

    The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is an annual event hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, starting in Sydney, New South Wales, on Boxing Day and finishing in Hobart, Tasmania. The race distance is approximately 630 nautical miles (1,170 km). [1] The race is run in conjunction with the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, and is widely ...

  15. You, Too, Could Be Sailing in the Sydney Hobart

    Dec. 24, 2021. Sailing in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race might seem like an impossible dream to novices. It's not. It's a dangerous event for experienced sailors, but rookies who want the ...

  16. Live Stream

    The final race in the 2023 Raymarine Australian Maxi Championship is the much-loved SOLAS Big Boat Challenge on Sydney Harbour.Nine of the best performance r...

  17. LIVE: 2021 Australia SailGP

    Live coverage of the first day of the 2021 Australia Sail Grand Prix. SailGP racing returns to Sydney Harbour, where points are close and it is all to play f...

  18. Australia Beats New Zealand in SailGP Grand Prix Final in Tight Finish

    In the final, winner-takes-all $1 million race, it came down to the nail-biter finish between New Zealand and Australia. At one point, the Aussies had a 200-yard lead over New Zealand. "They ...

  19. Brisbane Race Week returns in 2024

    Related Articles OK Dinghy fleet prepares for world title World Championship is being hosted by the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron The biggest OK Dinghy world championship to ever be held in Australia starts in Brisbane in just over a week's time, preceded by the Australian National Championship, which starts on Monday. Posted on 15 Feb 51st Australian Hobie Cat National Championships

  20. Third SailGP Season Title For Team Australia

    Third SailGP Season Title For Team Australia. Skipper Tom Slingsby and his squad do it again in San Fran, nailing the season title with precision sailing when it counts. By SailGP Media. May 9 ...

  21. Racing

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  22. WATCH: The best SailGP racing moments from Sydney

    Ahead of SailGP's Season 4 return to Sydney, we round up the best SailGP racing moments from the city, including crashes and close calls to fleet race domination and supercharged starts. Season 4's visit to Sydney will mark the league's 4th event in the iconic Australian city, including Season 1-3's visits and a standalone event in 2020.

  23. Australia

    25/12/2024 OffShore Races Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2025 Sydney Harbour 25/12/2025 Australia. Our Australian sailing calendar is a combination of races, regattas and ocean passages around Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

  24. Mysailing

    Andoo Race 6 Australian Championship - Sunday, 18 February 2024 Despite finishing in fourth place today, the Yandoo 18ft skiff team of Micah Lane (skipper), Fang Warren (sheet) and Lewis Brake (bow) officially became the 2023-24 Australian champions following the… Outteridge to drive for New Zealand in Sydney with Burling on parental leave

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    The Ultimate Prize Annapolis' Team Mirage emerged victorious in the BVI Championship, outperforming six other winning teams. Enright and Wolfe Awarded Rolex Honors Two ocean-racing champions earn...