Posted By John
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

THE SYDNEY TO HOBART Yacht Race in December is an icon of Australia’s summer sport, ranking in popularity with other national events such as the Davis Cup tennis and the Melbourne Cup horse race.

No yearly yachting event in the world attracts such huge media coverage as this race. The race starts on Boxing Day in Sydney, NSW and finishes in Hobart, Tasmania. The course covers a distance of 628 nautical miles from Sydney Harbour to the east coast of Australia, Bass Strait, the Tasmanian east coast, Storm Bay, Derwent River and finally Battery Point in Hobart, Tasmania.

The race has been hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia since its beginning in 1945 and is run in cooperation with the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.

When is the winner not the winner?
The public and media often focus a lot of attention on which yacht wins Line Honours. It’s easy to understand why, because that’s the first yacht to cross the finishing line. However, that is often not the Overall Winner. The exact rules to select the Overall Winner have changed over the years. Basically, it’s a handicap race where a yacht’s finish time is adjusted based on several factors set down in the prevailing rules. In other words, the fastest boat is often not the Overall Winner.

Note: the International Offshore Rules (ORC) were superseded by the International Measurement System (IMS). This resulted in two Overall Winners in 1993, 1992 and 1991.


  • In 2012 the super-maxi Wild Oats XI claimed a 6th victory breaking its own previous record with a finish of 1 day 18 hours 23 minutes and 12 seconds.
  • 2005 saw Wild Oats XI win the treble – Line Honours, Overall Winner and a new Race Record.
    This is the first time this has been done since 1945 when Rani did it in the first Sydney to Hobart
    Yacht Race. Wild Oats XI cut over an hour off the record for the fastest race which was previously
    held by the 1999 winner Nokia.
  • The smallest fleet had only 9 starters in 1945. The largest fleet to race was 371 starters in 1994 for
    the race’s 50th Anniversary.
  • The line winner with the smallest yacht was in 1952 by the 35 ft Nocture, NSW.
  • The line winner with the largest yacht was in 2002 by the 89 ft Alfa Romeo Shockwave, AUS/NZ.
  • The worst disaster in race history was in 1998 when 6 sailors died and 5 boats sank. Only 43 yachts finished the race out of 115 who started due to an exceptionally strong storm.
  • The most successful yacht designer is Bruce Farr, NZ with 15 overall winners.

International Overall Winners

  • Hong Kong/China – Beau Geste – 1997
  • Hong Kong – Ceil III – 1973
  • Ireland – Atara – 1991
  • Germany – Raptor – 1994
  • NZ – New Zealand – 1980
  • NZ – Pathfinder – 1971
  • NZ – Rainbow II – 1969, 1967
  • USA – Kialoa II – 1977
  • USA – American Eagle – 1972

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