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.

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.

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:

Share Your World 2014 – Week 36

Share Your World 2014 – Week 36

Do you prefer reading coffee table books (picture), biographies, fiction, non-fiction, educational?

Sometimes I’ll look at a coffee table book but I really like something with more text than most of them have. I find myself reading old favourite novels more often than the latest releases. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read Pride and Prejudice. Today I was re-reading another old favourite novel by Nevil Shute called “Beyond the Black Stump”. I do enjoy a good story but these days I read more non fiction than fiction. For example I’ve just finished reading a book about life in medieval England and my current library book is about paper dolls.

I’m an armchair traveller, I love to read travel books especially if they are the quirky humorous kind like “A Right Good Crew” and others by Emily Kimbrough. Paul Theroux writes interesting travel books for a train lover like me but I’d hate to go anywhere with him.  I like biographies as well and  have a few on my shelves about movie stars, royalty and cricketers.

BeyondTheBlackStump” by Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

What is your biggest fear or phobia? (no photos please)

In a word it is falling. I can’t climb ladders, more than two steps up a step-ladder and I get really jittery.

What is your favorite cheese?

Call me a cheese philistine, I’m quite happy with a mild cheddar.

Somerset-Cheddar” by J.P.LonOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

What is your favorite month of the year?

I’d have to say December, such a lot of things I enjoy happen in December. Christmas of course and all the things associated with it like decorating the tree, buying presents, making Christmas food. December is the one month of the year when I watch a lot of sports too. The Boxing Day (cricket) Test is something I follow keenly on television and there is usually at least one visit to Bellerive Oval to watch our local team The Hobart Hurricanes play. The week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day is a lively one in Hobart. On Boxing Day the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race begins and the first yachts arrive in Hobart two or three days later so the waterfront is a busy place. The Taste of Tasmania festival is on so as you can see December is a busy and fun month for me.

image yachts
Sydney Hobart Race yachts at Constitution Dock.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week we had some gorgeous, warm, sunny days and I spent a lot of time outside. I also found a Barbie I’d wanted for ages at a great price.  This week is my week to visit my sister and I always look forward to that.

I've wanted this Barbie for ages.
I’ve wanted this Barbie for ages.