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.

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.

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is over for another year and I have been meaning to write something about it for a couple of weeks but haven’t had the opportunity to do so until now. A little late I know.

The first race was sailed in 1945 making this year’s race the 70th anniversary. Back in 1945 there were just ten entrants listed; the winning yacht was Rani which won both handicap and line honours. This year’s race had 119 entrants I believe. A couple of years ago I went to look at a display of newspaper headlines for each race and took a couple of photos there. Here is The Mercury headline  in 1945 where it says that there were 9 entrants.

Rani wins the first Sydney Hobart Race
Rani wins the first Sydney Hobart Race

The first race
The first race

Traditionally the race begins on 26th December and these days the start is televised. We usually switch over from the Boxing Day Test Match to watch the start. I love to see all the yachts making their way out of Sydney Harbour especially when conditions require them to use their spinnakers.  This year I watched a segment showing how they retrieve the TV camera operators who travel out of the harbour onboard some of the yachts. They pack up their cameras in waterproof bags and literally jump off the moving yacht into the sea to be picked up by a chase boat. Not a job I would fancy at all.

I was in Sydney a couple of years ago and found myself at Rushcutter’s Bay Park, the closest I’ve come to seeing where the race begins. In Sydney it is possible to view the yachts leaving the harbour from various vantage points on land or from the water in a ferry or charter boat or from your own boat if you are lucky enough to have one. Spectator boats have become so numerous that there is practically a traffic jam on the water as they all jostle for the best views. Strict guidelines have had to be made to prevent spectator boats from interfering with the race fleet.

The race begins in Rushcutter's Bay, Sydney on Boxing Day
The race begins in Rushcutter’s Bay, Sydney on Boxing Day

The trip to Hobart is rarely uneventful. There are nearly always a few yachts that have to turn back due to problems with gear or sails. Sometimes there is rough weather and smaller yachts turn back or take shelter along the New South Wales coast.  Then comes Bass Strait. According to the official website Bass Strait can be dead calm or spectacularly grand. One terrible year, 1998, wild weather caused havoc with the race fleet. Five boats sank and six sailors died. Of a fleet of 115 only 44 yachts made it to Hobart. Sadly this year was also marred by tragedy of a different kind. A small plane carrying a pilot and photographer crashed near Port Arthur in southeastern Tasmania, both were killed. Several yachts stopped to help with the search for the plane after it was reported as going down.

Normally although the race is hard the majority of yachts arrive safely in Hobart. The first to arrive are always the big maxi yachts competing for Line Honours and there is always much speculation about whether the race record time will be broken. This year the win went to Wild Oats XI in a time of 4 days, 2 hours 1 minute and 34 seconds. This was the eighth time Wild Oats had taken Line Honours, also a record. The first yachts over the line often arrive in Hobart at night or the early hours of the morning. This year for the first time in several years the winning yachts arrived on a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon. I wasn’t there but my friend Bruce who was visiting from Melbourne was and took this photo which he has allowed me to use.

Wild Oats XI arrives in Hobart 30 Dec 2014. Photo by Bruce Laughton
Wild Oats XI arrives in Hobart 30 Dec 2014. Photo by Bruce Laughton

A couple of hours after Wild Oats arrived the American maxi yacht Comanche arrived. The rest of the fleet arrived over the next three days and I managed to get to Hobart to see them later in the week by which time the weather had changed of course. Tired but happy crews are always greeted enthusiastically by the crowd and give a welcome gift of a carton of beer by race officials. By New Year’s Even most of the yachts have arrived as well as those competing in the Melbourne Hobart  and Launceston to Hobart races. Here are a few pictures taken in previous years. The overall winner is calculated using adjusted times and speeds according to each yacht’s handicap. Wild Rose was declared the winner. An interesting point about that is that Wild Rose was the first Wild Oats.

Constitution Dock Hobart is where the race ends.
Constitution Dock Hobart is where the race ends.

Ponton's at Constitution Dock
Pontoon’s at Constitution Dock

Yachts moored at Constitution Dock
Yachts moored at Constitution Dock

The day that my sister and I went to see them the weather was truly horrible. It rained nearly all day but when it slowed to a drizzle I managed to take a few pictures anyway. There were a few yachts arriving and we walked around the pontoons to see those that had already arrived. Giacomo was one that suffered damage on the last leg of the journey and was forced to motor in to Hobart after being dismasted in rough weather.

Giacomo was dismasted
Giacomo was dismasted

The broken mast
The broken mast

Here are some of the yachts we looked at.


 Further Reading:

Photo Thursday – Wild Oats XI – Maxi yacht

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

Boxing Day means the start of two important sporting events in Australia, the Boxing Day Test  at the MCG and the start of the Sydney Hobart yacht race.  When I lived in Adelaide I used to think it would be interesting to visit Sydney at Christmas and see  the start of the race but for the past 11 years I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to see many of the yachts arrive in Hobart. Every year I try to get into the city so I can visit the waterfront and see the yachts. I’ve not yet been able to be present when the first one arrives but there are yachts arriving right up until New Year’s Eve so there is always something to see.

The most successful yacht in recent years has been Wild Oats XI. Wild Oats, built in 2005 is a maxi yacht and it is hard to believe just how big this type of yacht is. Hobart is a fairly low-rise city, no skyscrapers, so the maxi’s tower above many of the buildings.

Wild Oats XI
Wild Oats XI

Wild Oats 2005
Wild Oats 2005

Wild Oats
Wild Oats