Sails : Sails 29 December January 2015
rolexsydneyhobartyachtrace2014 70th Rolex Sydney hobaRt yacht Race pReview 026 coast until we got to montagu island when a southerly buster hit us. We reefed down and nursed our ship along in a very conservative fashion, and hove-to through the gale. some of the boats actually put into south coast ports. the crews of Saltair and Abermerle are supposed to have spent time ashore shooting rabbits and going to the movies.” from this moment there was no turning back. the sydney to Hobart yacht race was destined to become a high profile annual event on the australian sporting calendar, and it would soon be recognised as one of the world’s three classic ocean races: the others being the Newport- Bermuda race out of america, and the fastnet race out of england. advance 70 years, and what is now the rolex sydney Hobart race is a Boxing Day ritual, one that enthrals sport-loving australians and the public in general. it has always delivered remarkable contests, colour and controversy, and at times tragedy – none more so than in 1998 when a savage southerly gale and mountainous seas caused catastrophic conditions. the mayhem that followed led to the largest peacetime search and rescue effort australia had ever seen. sadly, six sailors perished. of the 115 starters, only 44 yachts reached Hobart. five yachts sank and 55 sailors were winched to safety in miraculous circumstances. as terrible as this episode was in the race’s history, considerable benefits for the sport and search and rescue organisations worldwide resulted from it. the advancements in the sport over the past 70 years are well reflected in the performance of the yachts. in 1945, Rani took 6 days 14 hours and 22 minutes to cover the 628 nautical miles to Hobart. since then, the numbers have told the story about how ocean racing has grown both in the size of competing yachts and in their performance. in 1975, the american maxi ketch Kialoa (Jim kilroy) covered the distance in 2 days 14 hours 36 minutes and 56 seconds – a record that stood for 21 years! Probably the most powerful indication of change is seen in comparisons between Rani and the current race record holder, Bob oatley’s 30-metre long supermaxi, Wild Oats XI. Rani measured just 10.6 metres overall, while Wild Oats XI wooden waRRioRS No composites or canting keels on the startline for the 1952 Hobart. a spectacular start in the natural amphitheatre of the world’s greatest harbour, a test in all conditions along coasts and across open water, then the incomparable finish up the Derwent river to the city of Hobart.
Sails 28 October November 2014
Sails 30 February March 2015