The British love their Boxing Day races as do the Aussies . . . but the really special one is the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race which begins on Sydney Harbour at 1pm on Monday 26 December 2022.
This year 118 boats are entered for the 77th edition of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 628 nautical mile race.
With eight entrants travelling to Australia . . . From Germany (Axel And Peter Baumgartner’s Orione), Great Britain (Thomas Kneen’s Sunrise), Hong Kong (Geoffrey Hill’s Antipodes), Hungary (Cassiopeia 68), New Caledonia (Thierry Leseigneur’s Eye Candy and David Treguier’s Poulpito), New Zealand (Max Klink’s Caro) and from the USA (Chris Sheehan’s Warrior Won).
The four 100-foot maxis leading the charge for Line Honours are Black Jack, the 2021 Line Honours winner, Hamilton Island Wild Oats, which holds the record for most Line Honours wins with nine as Wild Oats XI.
And race record holder Andoo Comanche, now skippered by John Winning Jr, and LawConnect which was first over the line in the 2016 race as Perpetual LOYAL.
Kathy Veel and Bridget Canham are the first all-female two-handed crew to compete in the Sydney Hobart.
The pair will sail on Veel’s Currawong 30, Currawong, as one of 22 two-handed entrants, that for the first time are eligible to win the coveted Tattersall Cup, awarded to the overall winner on IRC corrected time.
Asked if she had second thoughts about taking on the race two-handed, 70-year-old Veel said: “Heaps! But sailing is something I love doing. I had a boat that was capable of it. I am in good enough health physically to be able to do it.”
At the other end of the spectrum to the 100-footers is the smallest and oldest boat in the fleet, Sean Langman’s 9-metre Ranger Maluka (built in 1932), which will be skippered by his son Peter.
“Maluka has a pretty special place in my heart,” Langman said. “Whenever I finish a race on Maluka I feel it is an accomplishment. That is what dragged me back to the race.”
The fleet of 52-foot grand prix racing yachts are expected to once again challenge for Overall honours.
But Matt Allen’s Botin 52 Ichi Ban which won three of the last four races will not be doing the race this year.
The highly competitive group of 52-foot boats in this year’s race features international entrants Caro and Warrior Won, as well as locals Celestial, Gweilo, Quest (two-time Overall winner as Quest and Balance) and Zen.
Some of the other former winners racing this year include Alive (Overall – 2018), Kialoa II (Line Honours – 1971) and Wild Oats (Overall as Wild Rose in 2014).