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Home > Daily News > 10 Wacky Facts About The Famous Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
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10 Wacky Facts About The Famous Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht is annual event held by the Cruising Yacht Club of
Australia, which starts in Sydney, New South Wales on Boxing Day and finishes in Hobart, Tasmania. The race is approximately 630 nautical miles (1,170km). The race is also run conjunction with the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is the most difficult yachting races in the world.

However, there are also some weird and wonderful facts about this yearly race that most people don’t know about. Here are the top 10 weird facts about The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

  1. The race was planned originally as a cruise.

Peter Luke and some friends had initially formed the club for those who enjoyed cruising rather than racing. “The idea was to cruise to Hobart together, not race there” explains Latasha Hall, a travel writer at 1Day2Write and Write My X. Enter Captain John Illingworth, who suggested they do it as a race instead. They all agreed and the rest, as they say, is history.

  1. 2020 was the first time the race has ever been cancelled.

The pandemic didn’t just stop things on land. It also impacted things at sea. For the first time ever in the race’s 75- year history, it had to be cancelled. It was too much of risk with Covid-19. 

  1. The course completion record is shorter than you think.

The race is long gruelling race and takes a lot of endurance. As yachts are being built differently and becoming more streamlined, the speeds at which race is being completed are becoming faster. The course record is not two days or even three days. The course record was set in 2017 by the supermaxi Comanche. The record was a stunning 1 day, 9 hours, 15 minutes and 24 seconds.

  1. The smallest fleet was the first race in 1945

It might not surprise you that the first race was the smallest. However, it might surprise you just how small it was.  There was only a grand total of 9 participants.  The man responsible for turning the cruise into a race, British Royal Naval Officer, Captain John Illingworth, was the first winner.

  1. The 50th anniversary race had the largest fleet.

Not surprisingly, the race quickly gained popularity and by the 50th anniversary in 1994 everyone who sailed yachts wanted to race. In 1994, 371 yachts entered the race, and a whopping 309 finished.

  1. The 1998 Sydney Hobart race changed the course of ocean racing forever.

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race of 1998 is infamous. On that day, a hurricane-force storm hit the fleet, causing absolute chaos. 5 boats sank and 6 people lost their lives. A resulting report recommended changes to preparations as well as sea survival training. This led to a step change in ocean racing across the global.

  1. Women have participated in the race since the 1940’s.

“The first woman to participate in The Sydney Hobart Race was Jane Tate on her boat, Active, in 1946” says David Spencer, a journalist at Britstudent and Nextcoursework. She was the only one to reach Hobart in 1946. To commemorate this achievement, the Jane Tate Memorial Trophy is awarded each year to the first female skipper to complete the race.

  1. The youngest participant was a four-year-old.

Children and teenagers do occasionally participate in the race. In 2011, Jessica Watson and Mike Perham, both 19, sailed with the youngest crew ever.  However, in 1970’s, Perth yachtsman Rolly Tasker’s 4-year-old daughter, got taken along in his maxi, Siska.

  1. The oldest skipper raced a whopping 25 Sydney Hobarts.

Conversely, the oldest skipper to ever race in the Sydney Hobart was John Walker, who raced at a surprising 86 years old in the 2008 race. That race also gave him is 25th Sydney Hobart race. He retired after this race.

  1. The most successful boat designer has designed over 15 winners.

Bruce Farr and Farr Associates are responsible with more overall winners than any other yacht design. Bruce is credited with 16 overall winners.

These are the top 10 weird and wonderful facts about the Sydney Hobart race.

Michael Dehoyos

Michael Dehoyos is a writer and editor at PhD Kingdom and Academic Brits. He assists companies in their marketing strategy concepts, contributing to numerous sites and publications. Also, Michael writes for Coursework Help.




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