Boxing Day Bash - Sail Magazine

Boxing Day Bash

For Australia’s hard-core sailors, the question isn’t whether you’re going, but how many you’ve sailed (so far). Even among the most hardcore of this decidedly hardcore country, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, or “The Hobart” as it’s known, represents a serious challenge. The brochure goes something like this: start on Boxing Day (December 26) on one of the world’s most brilliant starting
Author:
Publish date:
0912_NL_Hobart

For Australia’s hard-core sailors, the question isn’t whether you’re going, but how many you’ve sailed (so far). Even among the most hardcore of this decidedly hardcore country, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, or “The Hobart” as it’s known, represents a serious challenge. The brochure goes something like this: start on Boxing Day (December 26) on one of the world’s most brilliant starting lines, head out of Sydney Harbor, bang a right and keep going for some 600 miles. When you reach the Island of Tasmania, or “Tazzy,” hang a right, sail up the Derwent River and arrive in Hobart for the best party of your life. (Hint: most Aussies like to drink as hard as they sail). Easy, mate.

Not so quick.

First, after banging that right, you sail south through the Tasman Sea along Australia’s eastern coast, which is known for having all sorts of interesting currents and seas. After that you enter Bass Straight, a spot where the earth’s floor spikes upward from off-soundings to an average depth of roughly 165 feet. Since storms in the Southern Ocean have been traveling for thousands of open miles—think infinite fetch— seas tend to get frightfully large here. (To see the course, click here.) Stir in some large currents and things can get downright dangerous, as they did in the epic 1998 Hobart, when five boats sank and six sailors lost their lives.

Still interested? While many sailors would likely think twice before having a go at what the locals refer to as a “proper s#&t fight,” plenty of Aussies (not to mention a healthy contingent of foreign nationals) wouldn’t miss this Boxing Day bash for anything. In fact, a number of raceboats sit mothballed all season just waiting for the series of races that serves as a shakedown to this long-held classic, which dates back to 1945 when it featured nine starters.

For 2009, 100 boats have signed up, including three 100-foot super-maxis—ICAP Leopard, Alfa Romeo, and Wild Oats. A fourth super-maxi, Grant Wharington’s Etihad Stadium (formerly Wild Thing), was dismasted on the delivery to Sydney, and the crew has been racing to step a new mast ever since. There will also be a handful of “standard” maxis, TP52’s, a Volvo Open 70, and many 30 and 40 footers.

As in 2008, Hobart fans will be able to follow the boats on-line via the race’s Yacht Tracker. You can also receive live race positions on your mobile phone or watch a webcast of the start while tucking into those holiday leftovers. For details, including competitor profiles, go to http://rolexsydneyhobart.com.

Related

ElanGT5-a

Boat Review: Elan GT5

Aboard many modern yachts, it can be hard to remember exactly what boat you’re on until your eye happens to light upon a logo. However, this is most definitely not the case with the Elan GT5, a performance cruiser with a look all its own and style to burn.Design & ...read more

01-Lead-P1060210

Handheld VHF Radios

For many sailors, cell phones have become their primary means of both ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship communication. Even the Coast Guard will often ask for a cell number after it receives a distress call. None of this, however, makes a VHF radio any less important—and this goes ...read more

Seascape24

Boat Review: Seascape 24

Since its inception in 2008, Slovenian builder Seascape, founded by a pair of Mini Transat sailors, has focused solely on creating boats that are both simple and loads of fun to sail. With their 18-footer and then a 27-footer they succeeded in putting out a pair of trailerable ...read more

01-Trash-Tiki_in-partnership-with-Subtch-Sports_starting

The Adventurers Aboard Trash-Tiki

If you were in Gotland, a popular island vacation destination off the coast of Sweden, on the morning of July 3, your holiday might have been interrupted by a startling sight: a tiny island of trash approaching shore with people aboard. It was, in fact, a sailboat made from ...read more

atlantic-cup-trailer

2018 Atlantic Cup Video Mini-Series

Atlantic Cup 2018: TrailerThis past spring, SAIL magazine was on-hand to document the 2018 Atlantic Cup, a two-week-long Class 40 regatta spanning the U.S. East Coast and one of the toughest events in all of North America. The preview above will give you a taste of the four-video ...read more

hardangerfjord

Cruising: Holland to Norway

In 2015, we cruised to Norway’s Lofoten Islands on our Nordic 40, Juanona, which we’d sailed transatlantic from Maine to England. Our 2016 plan was to cruise through the Netherlands to the Kiel Canal, sail into the Baltic as far as Stockholm, then cruise the western coast of ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comThe Watch-keeper’s Nightmare The commercial watchkeeper’s most awkward decisions come with a vessel converging from abaft the starboard beam showing a red light. If he’s more than 2 points, or around 22 ...read more

cosair760R

Boat Review: Corsair 760R

We’d only been out on Miami’s Biscayne Bay aboard the Corsair 760R a few minutes when Corsair Marine marketing manager Shane Grover and I began bemoaning the fact neither of us had a GPS with us to determine our boatspeed. Moments later, though, we both came to the same ...read more