Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Yacht Race

Updates below.
Yes, that yacht race at this time of the year. The Sydney to Hobart race (1100 odd kms) always starts on Boxing Day and I don't think St Stephen gets a look in. But I do, as my cave looks out over the final few kilometres of water to the finish line and I expect to see a great sight as the first winner takes 'Line Honours'. It is always a Big boat.

Not that it is always the overall winner as the smaller boats get handicap assistance. Those littler ones have to start a little beind the 'front line' as they would be likely run down and scattered in the first few hundred yards by the huge ones. Even smaller boats in this 102 boat fleet start even further back.

This year the start in 'light' breeze' was just a little slower than usual but the techologically advanced and enhanced big chaps moved ahead with haste. 

Here is the start. Take note of the near collision which nearly saw several million bucks go down to an early hosing. Note also that the TV cameras aboard which show the action have to be recovered pretty quickly along with their operators.  Otherwise the operators would have to go south with the crews instead of home to family. In this instance a young woman jumped of the back of one of the leaders when it was doing at least 20 knots. Brave gal.

Over the past 72 years, the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has become an icon of Australia's summer sport, ranking in public interest with such national events as the Melbourne Cup, the Australian Open tennis and the Boxing Day cricket test. No regular annual yachting event in the world attracts such huge media coverage than does the start on Sydney Harbour.

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and Cruising Yacht Club of Australia have had a marked influence on international ocean yacht racing.  The Club has influenced the world in race communications and sea safety, maintaining the highest standards for race entry.  

The Club's members have also fared well in major ocean racing events overseas, with victories in the Admiral's Cup, Kenwood Cup, One Ton Cup, the Fastnet Race, the Clipper Race and the BOC Challenge solo race around the word, not to mention the America's Cup.

As well as the eclectic on-water racing, the Sydney Hobart provides various activities and events for people of all ages to be a part of. 

Boxing Day in 2016 was also Family Day in the JANUS et Cie Sydney Race Village, which is a tradition that will continue for the 2017 Sydney Hobart and into the future.  Face painting, popcorn, live streaming of the start and everything in between can be found in the Race Village on Family Day!

The Hobart Race Village - well, known down here as the Harbour, Sullivan's Cove, comes alive even before yachts start to finish, with live music, food and drink stalls, interactive information and game screens, and many activities to keep everyone happy! We have a 'gourmet' feast here at the same time called 'The Taste'. 

That very tall glass building in the centre does not actually exist. It is an 'artist's representation', for a developer who wanted to build it there. He was told 'NO' in no uncertain terms. As you may see, Hobart is an oldish fashioned, low-rise city.

Tha harbour will be packed. Not only will the 102 boats who set out (God willing thay all arrive safely) be accomodated but also two other fleets that are on their way too. One fleet will be leaving Port Phillip, Melbourne and sailing down the west coast of Tasmania and across the southern end: while a third fleet will set out from the Tamar River in the north of the State to hug the east coast along with the Sydney mob.

They should add another hundred or so boats.

In prime position to view the New Year's Eve fireworks, the Hobart Race 'Village' provides the only outdoor festival on New Years Eve in Hobart.  So some think !! Not quite the only one, in fact, as my small cave will host an intimate dinner for three as we watch the fireworks from just a short distance away.

If you want to follow the fleet over the next few days, here is a link to the tracker.


Now, I have pints to pull for thirsty landlubbers.


Update 14.45 Wednesday.
The leader, Comanche is off Coles Bay and the Freycinet Penninsula right now going like the clappers at a tad over 20 kts. A firm nor-easterly is powering them along and they are set for arrival and a new record this evening. 107nms to go, including turning into wind for the Derwent estuary.

However, looking from my cave at a glassy water last few kilometres to the finish line with barely a breeze stirring the leaves on the trees, they may all find the last leg hard and slow going. There may be a surprise or two as several 'Maxi's vie for line honours.

Comanche and Wild Oats X1are both just off Port Arthur 30nm away and heading west for the channel. The wind has been their power for a very fast run but now they will lose it as they turn northwest.
Wild Oats X1

Outside my cave a 'light and variable' breeze has grown over the past hour and a number of small local yachts have been making some progress on the water below. Maybe there is hope for the racing boats yet.

An hour or so ago several helicopters flew over and down the channel to give the  1800 and 1900 News something to see. Sails in the distance! 

With some luck and a freshening breeze I may see them pass by, challenging one another for the lead in the late evening failing light. I could be exciting, even for a non-sailor.

The slight breeze is struggling to stay alive but when it does stir it is going against the two leading boats which are so far ahead that they are likely to be the only ones in before midnight. Those leaders have rounded the Iron Pot and are in sight of Hobart.  I expect to see a tussle and some real sailoring skills very soon. Hopefully they will still be in the evening light.

Both have 9.0 nms to run and are doing little more than 5kts. Fortunately the tide is coming in !! 


And the flotilla of somewhere around 75 - 100 boats of all modest sizes escorted Wild Oats X1 to the finish line, in the dark, just ahead of Comanche some half a mile behind. I wanted to get a photo for you but the light had gone and I was treated to something akin to chinese lanterns moving slowly past.

Fortunately a friend was waiting at the Harbour.
Photo by the Frau :)

A new and very emphatic record. Most satisfactory.

There will be partying in the Town tonight and much fizzy wine will flow.


  1. I enjoyed seeing the footage of the race as it started. Now I know what you mean about the camera crew being recovered!

    Enjoy your intimate dinner for three with fine dining views and firework celebrations. When the time comes I will raise a glass to the three of you and wish you a Happy and Peaceful New Year with my love.

    1. Thank you my dear. All the customers in the tavern can raise a glass to one another and the New Year in a giant mexican wave around the world. :)


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..