The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2018

Today I made my second trip to Hobart to see the yachts that had completed the race. On Friday when I was there only the four super maxi’s had arrived so I knew I would have to do a second trip. The last yachts arrived this morning, New Year’s Eve, apart from half a dozen who had retired for mechanical reasons during the race.

The Line Honours winner this year was once again “Wild Oats XI” who survived not only a very tight battle with the other three super maxi’s but a protest after the finish. Never a dull moment with Wild Oats XI.

Sydney Hobart Line Honours Race Winner 2018

She was followed in by “Black Jack”, “Commanche” and “Infotrack”.

Handicap winner was “Alive” who was the fifth yacht over the line. “Alive” is a Tasmanian owned yacht, one of three Tasmanian yachts who started the race. Unfortunately, this was one of the yachts I was not able to find.

As everyone had arrived by the time I got to the wharf this morning there was not so much frantic activity. Some crews were doing maintenance or packing up gear for the return journey, others were entertaining friends on board their yachts. Other yachts were empty and sitting quietly waiting for the return trip. There were a few empty spaces so I supposed that some of those yachts might have been out sailing as there are a few local races on the Derwent or they might even have left for the return trip although most competitors like to celebrate the New Year in Hobart. I did not spot “Wild Oats XI” today, so if she was not out on the Derwent she had probably left for her next race. You don’t often see her after the official presentation.

Even so, there were a lot of people about looking at the yachts and a lot to photograph as I wandered about looking for my favourites and for any other interesting ones. Patrice is a regular competitor I’ve come to recognise because there is always a large teddy bear on board. I noticed several other teddies on deck and when I read up on her I found that the crew of Patrice have been supporting a kids cancer charity for the past ten years.

Patrice raising money for kids with cancer.

I thought a bit about names, it’s interesting what people name their yachts. The most boring ones are those who race under a sponsors name. Some like macho names like “Gunrunner”, “Smuggler” or “Daredevil”.  Some names are traditional for their owners like “Helsal” and “Ragamuffin”. “St Jude” is probably a nod to the fates. Quetzalcoatl must have been named to annoy the race commentators who have to try and pronounce it. My favourite this year was the unfortunately named “Trumpcard”. Someone had put a piece of tape over the name and renamed it “Wild Oats XII”.

There were not many overseas entries this year but I did find a few, from the USA, China, and Germany.

I took a lot more photos of the race fleet today so I may post a few more of them another day.

Snapshot Sunday: Wild Oats XI

Sydney Hobart Line Honours Race Winner 2018

Here is the line honours winner of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race for this year. Yes, it is Wild Oats XI again. The four super maxi’s that finished the race arrived on Friday morning and this photo was taken just a few hours later on. I’ll have a full wrap up of the race in the next couple of days after I’ve been back to Hobart to take pictures of the rest of the fleet.

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2017

The Sydney Hobart yacht race has been run and won again although not without controversy. It was a speedy race this year starting as usual at lunchtime on Boxing Day  with the first yachts reaching Hobart at nightfall of the 27th. In fact I think five yachts arrived inside the record time set by Perpetual Loyal in 2016

As always Line Honours was hotly contested by the big maxi yachts including previous winners Wild Oats XI and  Infotrack   formerly Perpetual Loyal.

The controversy was over an incident between Wild Oats XI and Comanche in Sydney Harbour at the start of the race. I was watching on television when this happened and as Wild Oats XI tacked very close to Comanche the two came very close to colliding. Comanche raised a red protest flag almost at once as they were forced to change course. The race commentators explained that Comanche would have had right of way and that Wild Oats might do what they called penalty turns to avoid being given a penalty later. My understanding of this is that it is similar to where in motor racing if a car gains an advantage by cutting a corner while overtaking they must give the place back to the other car. However, as far as I know Wild Oats XI did not do this and the two big yachts raced each other all the way to the Derwent sometimes one leading and sometimes the other. In the Derwent River as often happens Comanche could not get enough wind and Wild Oats XI sailed past her to reach the finishing line twenty-six minutes ahead of her rival.

The next day there was a three hour hearing and the judges found that Wild Oats XI was at fault in the incident back in Sydney Harbour and gave her a one hour penalty. Of course that meant that Comanche now found herself the Line Honours winner. Guess Wild Oats XI should have done those penalty turns.

The initial provisional result was reversed to give Cooney a first line honours victory with his new boat in a record time of one day, nine hours, 15 minutes and 24 seconds, bettering by 4 hours 15 minutes, 56 seconds the previous benchmark set in 2016.  –

I decided to make my visit to the yachts on Friday as the weather forecast was better and many yachts had arrived by that time, several more arrived while I was there. It is always nice to see them sailing in. They drop their sails after passing the finish line and before entering Constitution Dock they do a lap of honour past the shed at Princes Wharf where they are applauded by the patrons of the Taste of Tasmania before being directed to a berth and handed the traditional slab of beer.

Hartbreaker passing the Taste of Tasmania

I was standing near the families of these guys as they passed by Elizabeth St Pier.

I always follow the same routine at the dock. I walk out on to the temporary pontoons between the lines of yachts. It is usually very crowded and there are a lot of obstacles to taking photos like people with prams, crew members moving luggage or gear,  small children with ice creams, men with cans of beer standing around near their yachts and of course other photographers. The pontoons are quite steady to walk on but I confess that I like to stand near a bollard when taking a picture because I feel more secure that way.

I like to photograph the Line Honours Winner and the overall winner on handicap if it has been decided by the time I get there. This year’s overall winner was Ichi Ban a yacht that I usually try to photograph as part of a group of familiar names that I like to look out  for. Helsal 3 is another of these.

Yachts with unusual names, interesting colour schemes or those from overseas are also ones that I like to photograph. My favourite this year was “Occasional Coarse Language”. Very appropriate on  a racing yacht I imagine.

There was quite a bit of activity on the yachts too. As many had not long arrived there was a lot of unpacking, cleaning and stowing of gear going on so I was able to get some pictures of that too.

After my walk I bought some lunch at one of the food vans set up nearby. I finished up the day by visiting the Taste of Tasmania over on Princes Wharf but I’ll write about that elsewhere.

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2016

As usual the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet set off from Sydney Harbour at around lunchtime on Boxing Day. The experts predicted a record run down to Hobart but as they say that almost every year I did not put too much faith in that happening. I watched the start of the race on television and the Formula One cars of yachting, the super maxis of course received most of the attention as eight times winner Wild Oats XI battled Perpetual Loyal for bragging rights over who would sail out of Sydney Heads first.

Later that day I was surprised to learn that Wild Oats XI retired from the race while in the lead after an equipment failure. That was the major retirement of the race, when I checked this morning there had only been four or five retirements out of the fleet of eighty-eight although the race is still in progress. I was equally surprised that the experts turned out to be right. It was a record-breaking run with not only first placed Perpetual Loyal but the second and third placed yachts all breaking Wild Oats XI’s 2012 record by more than five hours.

Perpetual Loyal
Line Honours Winner in record time. Perpetual Loyal


When I visited this morning over half the fleet had arrived. While Perpetual Loyal took line honours, the second placed yacht Giacomo was proclaimed winner on handicap. A couple of years ago this yacht was dismasted on the way to Hobart and I saw her at Constitution Dock looking a sorry sight so I was rather pleased about that.

Overall race winner Giacomo
Overall race winner Giacomo

The wet weather arrived back in Hobart about the same time as the yachts so although it was not raining while I was taking my photographs it was rather grey and I did not take as many photos as usual. I walked around the pontoons to look for my favourite yachts that compete year after year and found two of them, Ichi Ban and Ragamuffin. Here are photos of them and a couple more. I will post the rest on my Flickr page as I usually do. You can find a link in the sidebar of this page.

New Year’s Eve On The Waterfront

As I mentioned in my last post not many yachts had arrived when I went to check out the Sydney Hobart race yachts the other day so on New Year’s Eve I went back for another look. What a difference a day makes! All the yachts bar one had arrived and the dock was full of  them.

I met my friends Ally and Matt and we had fish and chips at Mure’s Lower Deck before embarking on a tour of the fleet. Most of the photos here are mine but my friends have given me permission to use some of theirs as well. My photos were taken with my Nikon Coolpix L120. Matt and Ally used iPhones to take theirs and sent them to me via Facebook this morning. I have not edited their photos except for one of Matt’s panoramas to crop out an intrusive yellow railing. Hope you don’t mind Matt.

All the yachts from the Clipper Round The World Race had arrived giving the place quite an international feel. The Sydney Hobart Race is part of Leg 4 of their race around the world. If you are interested to learn more about this race you can visit the website here. There are twelve identical 70 foot yachts which are supplied by the race organisers. The crews are made up of people from all walks of life, not necessarily experienced sailors. They are trained especially for the race. If you have always dreamed of ocean sailing this might be the way to achieve it. Here are three different takes on the subject. First mine, then Ally’s then Matt’s.
Round World Clipper Fleet -01

Round The World Race Fleet by Allyson Clark
Round The World Race Fleet by Allyson Clark – taken on an iPhone.

 Hobart Waterfront. New Year's Eve 2015 -photo by Matt Clark taken on an iPhone.
Hobart Waterfront. New Year’s Eve 2015 –  photo by Matt Clark taken on an iPhone.

There were even two entries from South Australia, Clipper Ventures 5 and 10. Clipper Ventures Australia has recently been set up to offer training and experience to amateur sailors in Australia through corporate events and taking part in races such as the Sydney to Hobart Race.Clipper Ventures 10Clipper Ventures 5

There were other international entries. Two from UK Armed Forces Sailing; Discoverer of Hornet and Adventure of Hornet were berthed side by side. Adventure of Hornet-UK

Discoverer of Hornet - UK

I mentioned French yacht Teasing Machine and Italian yacht Maserati but there was also a German entrant, Haspa Hamburg. I thought that this yacht had retired due to the bad weather but she turned up in Hobart after all I was pleased to see. Another French yacht  Courrier Leon took out second place on handicap. There was also a Chinese entrant Shuguang Haiyang which means Dawn Sailing. I think I did see this yacht but don’t seem to have an individual photo of it.

Haspa Hamburg

On New Year’s Eve the Hobart Waterfront becomes one big party zone with a ticketed party at the Taste of Tasmania and two lots of public fireworks, an early one at 9:30pm and the main one at midnight. I’ve always wanted to see the fireworks but due to living 60km away I have never been able to go to see them. However, Ally and Matt who live closer to the city, did go to the early fireworks and have sent me their best photos.

Hobart Waterfront. New Year's Eve 2015 -photo by Matt Clark taken on an iPhone.
Sunset on the Hobart Waterfront. New Year’s Eve 2015 – photo by Matt Clark taken on an iPhone.

The early fireworks display on the Hobart Waterfront- Photo by Allyson Clark on an iPhone.
The early fireworks display on the Hobart waterfront –  Photo by Allyson Clark on an iPhone.

The early fireworks display on the Hobart Waterfront- Photo by Allyson Clark on an iPhone.
The early fireworks display on the Hobart waterfront – Photo by Allyson Clark on an iPhone.


I hope you have enjoyed reading about this year’s race. For those interested in statistics here is a link to the race results. I can tell you that the overall race winner on handicap was Paul Clitheroe’s Balance, remember him from the other day?

Finally here is a montage of photos from Ally, Matt and me. Happy New Year!



The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2015

It’s that time of year again, Hobart’s waterfront is abuzz with the excitement of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The first yacht over the line was the American owned yacht Comanche who arrived late on Monday evening. It was one of the toughest races for several years. Rough weather on the first night caused carnage at sea as yachts retired with damage to  either mainsail or rudders. Thankfully there were no deaths or serious injuries this year but about 30 yachts retired from the race including multiple winner Wild Oats XI and rival maxi yacht Perpetual Loyal who were both out within hours of leaving Sydney Harbour. Comanche was also damaged and retired from the race but then having made running repairs the skipper changed his mind and decided that as they were still within the allowed time they would continue to race after all.
Line Honours Winner ComancheComanche

Second and third over the line were Ragamuffin 100 whose owner Syd Fisher was the oldest sailor in the fleet at 88 years old. They just beat American yacht Rambler as the two came up the Derwent on Tuesday morning. Rambler was also damaged and when I first saw her she was sitting at a very odd angle in the water.  It looked as if the damage to the rudder was being inspected as she was shortly returned to a more normal looking position.  Rambler Rambler Line Honours-3rd Place Rambler

I went looking for familiar names amongst the early arrivals on Wednesday morning and found Ichi Ban and Primitive Cool which I would have recognised as Secret Men’s Business even if I hadn’t read of the change on the race website.  Ichi Ban

Primitive Cool

I spotted financial guru Paul Clitheroe aboard his yacht Balance. He was on the phone so perhaps he was checking his investments.  I would like to have told David about that. He used to enjoy his television show “Money” that was screened a few years ago.Balance

France and Italy were represented by Teasing Machine and Maserati. The latter yacht had a right royal crew member Pierre Casiraghi, younger  son of  Princess Caroline of Hanover and grandson of the late Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco. Royalty are everywhere at present as the Danish Royals have been on a private visit to Australia too. Princess Mary of course is a Tasmanian girl.

Teasing MachineMaserati

The weather today was almost perfect, warm and sunny with just a bit of breeze which grew stronger around lunchtime. Not many yachts had arrived, many will arrive in the next day and a half so I may make another visit if the weather holds. I always enjoy seeing the yachts and trying to photograph them. It’s often difficult to photograph the maxi yachts because of their sheer size. I read that the masts of the tallest maxi yachts barely fit under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The deck of Commanche is probably larger than my living room by several metres.

Later in the week I’ll try to photograph the small yachts and other latecomers. I have pictures of race yachts taken over several years in my Flickr Photostream. You can see them here.

Snapshot Sunday – Comanche – Maxi Yacht

US yacht Commanche in Hobart after the 2014 race.
US yacht Comanche in Hobart after the 2014 race.

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is underway again. Weather conditions have been tough and up to tonight about 27 yachts have retired from the fleet of 102 including maxi yachts Wild Oats XI, and Perpetual Loyal. Currently in the lead although damaged is US yacht Comanche whose skipper vows she will finish the race if they have to paddle here. Here is Comanche pictured in Hobart after last year’s race.