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ROLEX SYDNEY HOBART YACHT RACE: TENACITY CONQUERS ALL

sydney to hobart yacht race prize money

Hobart, 31 December 2023 –  The 78th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will go down in history as a relentlessly demanding test of determination, as well as physical and mental resilience. The record will highlight a tooth and nail fight to the finish for Line Honours, and a Tasmanian boat joining the select few to have achieved two overall wins in the event’s near eight decades. Organised by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in conjunction with the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, Rolex has partnered the iconic offshore challenge since 2002.

sydney to hobart yacht race prize money

For both the overall winner, Philip Turner’s 66 ft (20-metre) Alive , and the 100 ft (30.5 m) line honours victor, Christian Beck’s LawConnect, tactical skill and awareness was a major factor alongside sheer endurance. This was especially so in the River Derwent, on the final approach to Hobart, where the fates of many fatigued crews were finally decided. The unwavering tenacity of offshore sailors and their capacity  to summon their deepest reserves all the way to the finish, has been a common theme throughout Rolex’s near 70-year relationship with yachting. A fleet of 103 yachts had signed up for the renowned 628-nautical mile undertaking, ranging from fully professional maxi racers to more Corinthian crews, and including some 18 two-handed boats. Departing Sydney Harbour on 26 December under mainly sunny skies and accompanied by the usual throng of enthusiastic onlookers, an uncertain and unsettled weather outlook ramped up the already high stakes of this notorious course. The presence of low pressure over the New South Wales coast and the ominous threat of troughs was fair warning of what was to follow. Rapidly developing thunderstorms, lightning, intense rain squalls and winds erratic in strength and direction enveloped the fleet during the first 24 hours of racing. A south westerly then moved in, leaving the bulk of the yachts heading across Bass Strait and down the coast of Tasmania in upwind conditions that would turn very heavy, with a total of 16 crews forced to retire over the course of the race.

sydney to hobart yacht race prize money

Line Honours Although four yachts were initially tipped as contenders, the battle to be first across the line in Hobart came down to a two-horse race between 100-footers LawConnect and Andoo Comanche , with LawConnect just managing to steal ahead in the final nerve-wracking seconds, after almost two full days of stalking their opponents.

“To win line honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is a dream come true, especially against Comanche because it’s such a good boat, and in a circumstance where the lead changed so much. It was an incredibly exciting experience all around.”

LawConnect ’s triumph was in fact clinched by the narrowest of margins, with the two boats just 51 seconds apart on the finish line. The second closest finish in the race’s history. The drama had commenced early for the Juan Kouyoumdjian design, as Beck explained:

“We had a great start and were first at the first mark. But when we went to furl our big masthead zero, the furling line broke and so we couldn't wrap up this massive sail. And we're coming straight towards the zone where all the spectator boats were and we couldn't tack...”

sydney to hobart yacht race prize money

The 21-strong crew, which included four Corinthian sailors, managed to avert disaster and recovered quickly to set up a veritable match race with the defending line honours champion Andoo Comanche . Entering the Derwent three miles behind Comanche, Beck looked set to add to his tally of three second-place finishes and perennial bridesmaid status. However the river is no place for the faint of heart and often rewards those that hold their nerve and take their chances. While Beck feared the race was lost, his afterguard of Tony Mutter and Chris Nicholson – two of the southern hemisphere’s finest and most experienced ocean racing sailors – had other ideas. Working with the equally talented American navigator, Chris Lewis, they reeled in Comanche, setting up an enthralling and memorable finish as the two colossi traded tacks, gybes and ultimately the lead. Beck was quick to admit that the win was very much down to the steely resolve of his capable crewmates, whose belief and motivation was inspirational for the rest of the crew:

“The determination was from Tony Mutter and Chris Nicholson, they never give up no matter how bad it gets. They are the ones that got us over the line.”

sydney to hobart yacht race prize money

Overall Winner Overall winner Alive previously claimed the Tattersall Cup in 2018, and had come tantalising close in 2019. In a serendipitous turn of events, their success this year marks the 75th anniversary of the first Tasmanian boat to secure two wins in the Rolex Sydney Hobart. George Gibson’s Westward famously achieved consecutive victories in 1947 and 1948. Long-time skipper, Duncan Hine, was also part of the winning 2018 crew.

“Tasmanian boats have a long history in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, and to be one of those Tasmanian boats to have won, and now won it twice, is phenomenal.”
“Starting with a collection of people who have memories over the 10 or 15 races they’ve done, our navigator Adrienne Cahalan was on her 31st, you’ve got a lot of stored knowledge. Everyone in this race, all the guys could not have done any more, you didn’t even have to ask, everyone was on it.”

sydney to hobart yacht race prize money

Gaining an all-important advantage over the main body, Alive swept towards the finish hard on the tail of the slightly bigger URM Group, with whom she had been sparring for two days. History has proved time and again that anything can happen on the Derwent , and it was arguably a close relationship with the fickle river that swung it for Alive , which represents the Derwent Sailing Squadron, by just 20 minutes on corrected time.

“In the end the Derwent is kind to people that know it, a little home advantage,” explained Hine, who also has a fair idea of the human qualities the race calls for: “Endurance, focus, and then endurance again.”

Like Cahalan, and Beck, and the hosts of sailors who return to complete this tour-de-force year after year despite the adversity and punishing roster, it seems the pain is already a distant memory and Hine is looking to future editions of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

“It’s a tough race and you can’t even really dream you could win it twice, so now I’m starting to think maybe we’ve got a third in us.” he admitted with a smile.

sydney to hobart yacht race prize money

Former Australian yachtswoman of the year Adrienne Cahalan, navigator on Alive and now a three-time overall winner, arriving tired, cold and wet into Hobart’s Constitution Dock, did not underestimate the ingredients required for success.

“A lot has got to come together to win this race, that’s why it is so hard. The weather patterns have to be right, your equipment, your team. You get such a broad range of conditions, you have to know how hard to push or not push, and we pushed hard in this race through rough conditions.”

Having just beaten more than 100 other competitors to raise the coveted Tattersall Cup, Cahalan was clear on what an immense achievement this was.

“The Tattersall Cup is very hard to win. It took me 15 years to win it the first time. It's a really hard race because so much has to come together. So when you do win it, it does take a lot. It's something that everybody wants to do, but owners have spent years and years and never got over the line.”

sydney to hobart yacht race prize money

Internationally renowned as one of the most arduous rites of passage in ocean sailing, a historic offshore challenge that has captivated professional and Corinthian sailors alike since 1945, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race represents a cornerstone of Rolex’s association with world-class yachting endeavours. On a course so challenging that finishing is considered an achievement in itself, the pursuit of excellence, precision, and team spirit shine through, echoing the Swiss watchmaker’s enduring ethos.

sydney to hobart yacht race prize money

Contact details

Giles Pearman

Virginie Chevailler

ROLEX AND YACHTING Rolex has always associated with activities driven by passion, excellence, precision and team spirit. The Swiss watchmaker naturally gravitated towards the elite world of yachting six decades ago and the brand’s enduring partnership now encompasses the most prestigious clubs, races and regattas, as well as towering figures in the sport, including ground-breaking round-the-world yachtsman Sir Francis Chichester and the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, Sir Ben Ainslie. Today, Rolex is Title Sponsor of 15 major international events – from leading offshore races such as the annual Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race, to grand prix competition at the Rolex TP52 World Championship and spectacular gatherings at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Swan Cup. It also supports the exciting SailGP global championship in which national teams race identical supercharged F50 catamarans on some of the world’s most famous harbours. Rolex’s partnerships  with the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Royal Ocean Racing Club, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Royal Malta Yacht Club, New York Yacht Club and Royal Yacht Squadron, among others, are the foundation of its enduring relationship with this dynamic sport.

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sydney to hobart yacht race prize money

Revealed: The VERY surprising prize money Sydney to Hobart winner LawConnect will receive - and why there were so many black sails in this year's race

  • Sydney to Hobart finish was second-closest ever 
  • LawConnect claimed line honours by just 51 seconds
  • Trailed Andoo Comanche going into the River Derwent 

By James Cooney For Daily Mail Australia and Ethan James For Australian Associated Press

Published: 18:25 EDT, 27 December 2023 | Updated: 20:27 EDT, 27 December 2023

View comments

Perennial bridesmaid LawConnect has claimed Sydney to Hobart line honours in one of the great race's craziest finishes - but won't get a cent of prize money for the stunning victory.

LawConnect, runner-up in the past three events, crawled across the River Derwent finish line not long after 8am (AEDT) on Thursday just 51 seconds ahead of Andoo Comanche.

The two supermaxis, who were neck-and-neck the whole race, played cat-and-mouse in light winds as they neared the finish line.

Both performed several jibe manoeuvres as they attempted to secure the lead.

It is the second-closest finish in Sydney to Hobart history after Condor of Bermuda beat Apollo by a mere seven seconds in 1982.

LawConnect delivered one of the great comebacks to win line honours in the Sydney to Hobart on Thursday morning (pictured, skipper Christian Beck lifts the trophy)

LawConnect delivered one of the great comebacks to win line honours in the Sydney to Hobart on Thursday morning (pictured, skipper Christian Beck lifts the trophy)

The race winners will receive no prize money - but they do get to take home a trophy (pictured, LawConnect is greeted after the come-from-behind win)

The race winners will receive no prize money - but they do get to take home a trophy (pictured, LawConnect is greeted after the come-from-behind win)

The final finish time of LawConnect, skippered and owned by Christian Beck, was one day, 19 hours, three minutes and 58 seconds.

Surprisingly, there is no prize money awarded to the winner of the race, but crews aren't just competing for glory, either.

Teams compete for trophies in different categories - the two main ones being Line Honours and Overall. 

The Overall winner is decided based on handicap. 

Many yachts competing in the event had black sails this year instead of the white sails previously associated with the event.

That's because many sails are now made using carbon fibre for its strength, and the high-tech substance is black.

Running sails in that colour also helps protect against the sun's UV rays, making them more durable. 

Comanche had taken a narrow lead into the River Derwent after holding the advantage down Tasmania's east coast on Wednesday night.

LawConnect was first out of the Heads in Sydney on Boxing Day after a dramatic start to the 628-nautical mile bluewater classic and the retirement of fellow supermaxi SHK Scallywag.

Many yachts competing in the historic race now use black sails instead of the more traditional white because they incorporate carbon fibre to provide strength

Many yachts competing in the historic race now use black sails instead of the more traditional white because they incorporate carbon fibre to provide strength

Scallywag was forced to retire roughly six hours into the race after breaking her bow sprit.

Eleven of the race's starting 103-strong fleet have pulled the pin, with some reporting damage and seasickness in challenging conditions which included a thunderstorm on the first night.

LawConnect navigator Chris Lewis described the stormy seas as 'wild' with 180-degree wind shifts.

Moneypenny, URM Group and Alive are in a bunch about 80 nautical miles behind the two duelling leaders, with the third remaining supermaxi Wild Thing 100 further back in sixth.

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Sydney to Hobart yacht race 2023 — how to watch and what to look out for

Yacht racing with Sydney Harbour Bridge in background.

The sight of big yachts tearing around Sydney Harbour's blue water with crews scrambling over the deck at the start of the annual Sydney to Hobart race, can be thrilling, if somewhat confusing, watching.

Where is the start line? Are those boats going to crash into each other? What happens if someone falls off?

Do crew members get any sleep during the race? What prizes are they racing for? What do you mean the first over the finish line is not considered the top prize?

Wait, what ... there is a boat called Imalizard?

So many questions!

Let's try and answer them.

The fleet leaves Sydney Harbour following the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

Where do they start?

This year, the 78th running of the Sydney to Hobart, has a fleet of over 100 boats ranging from supermaxis (typically boats over 21 metres) to smaller yachts.

There are two starting 'lines' with the larger yachts on the northern line just north of Shark Island, and the smaller boats on the southern line.

Two rounding marks off Sydney Heads compensate for the distance between the lines, before the fleet heads to sea on the ocean voyage to Hobart, 628 nautical miles (1,163 kilometres) away.

When does it begin?

It's already started!

At 1pm AEDT on Boxing Day (December 26) the ceremonial cannon was fired, marking the start of the race.

A ceremonial starting cannon is fired from a yacht.

How can I watch it?

Race sponsor Rolex says the start will be broadcast live on the Seven Network throughout Australia and live and on demand on the 7Plus app.

Internationally, the race will be available through YouTube on the CYCATV channel or via Rolex Sydney Hobart's Facebook page.

If you are in Sydney and on the water, spectators who wish to watch the start but not follow the fleet are advised to stick to the "western side of the harbour".

A group of people stand on the shore and look out at Sydney Harbour, as some film the Sydney to Harbour fleet.

Good vantage points for spectator boats include "Taylors Bay, Chowder Bay, Obelisk Bay and North Head on the west and Rose Bay, Watsons Bay, Camp Cove and South Head to the east".

According to organisers, the harbour will be "very crowded and traffic can be chaotic, so stay alert, follow the advice of race officials and remember to keep well clear of the exclusion zone between 12pm and 2pm".

Will there actually be some near misses?

The start is when things can get feisty, with crews trying to get their yachts into the best position before the cannon shot and on the run to get around Sydney Heads and out into the South Pacific Ocean.

This is when near misses and actual collisions can happen, with spicy language occasionally making it onto the live television broadcast thanks to cameras on the boats.

Members of the public watching from boats are told to stay in a "zone" away from race competitors, but that can still make for more potential near misses as the competitor boats weave across the water trying to find their best way into the start line at just the right time.

All in all it can look like chaos and often results in protests being lodged by crews who allege other teams of a wide range of infringements of race rules, across the entire course all the way to the finish.

Sometimes, if protested against, boats can perform "penalty turns" while at sea as punishment. Both Wild Oats XI and Comanche performed penalty turns last year following a scrape in Sydney Harbour.

A supermaxi boat races along Sydney Harbour with at least half of the hull lifted out of the water.

Decision to make — follow the coast or head out to sea

Once out of the harbour, the fleet then begins to make its way down the east coast of Australia, and are faced with a decision — to either stay close to the coast or to go further into open water where the East Australia Current can carry them. The amount of wind dictates this decision.

After navigating the NSW South Coast, it is then into Bass Strait, where the worst conditions are generally found, with strong winds and big waves.

Simply surviving is the key here. Equipment failure and breakage ends many a team's race during this stretch.

Yacht on its side on a beach with waves in foreground.

With Bass Strait successfully navigated, another choice needs to be made — sail close to the coast of Tasmania where they will find better water — or further out where winds are heavier.

Whichever the way, soon boats will be rounding "Tasman Light" and crossing Storm Bay. Then, they'll pass the Iron Pot at the mouth of the River Derwent . 

After a crawl up the often windless Derwent, boats will cross the finish line at Castray Esplanade before eventually settling in Hobart's Constitution Dock.

Sydney to Hobart trophies

What are they racing for?

There is no prize money for the winners. 

Instead, crews race for trophies in a number of categories , the main events for casual observers being Line Honours (first across the line) and Overall (winner decided based on handicap).

The first yacht across the line wins the JH Illingworth Challenge Cup, while the Overall winner on handicap wins the Tattersalls Cup.

The Overall winner is considered a truer indication of sailing skill . The boats are smaller and lighter and therefore not as naturally fast. Getting them to Hobart is tougher. Handicaps (time adjustments) are calculated by a range of factors such as the weight and length of the boat.

Crew of a supermaxi yacht on deck during yacht racing event.

Most of the time, Overall honours are won by a smaller, slower boat, which outdoes its larger opposition when time is adjusted for size and other factors.

The reigning Line Honours victor is Andoo Comanche, which won in a time of 1 day, 11 hours, and 15 minutes, the boat's 4th line honours victory.

The reigning Overall winner is Celestial, which finished 2022's race in 2 days, 16 hours, and 15 minutes.

In 2017, LDV Comanche set a new line honours record, finishing first in 1 day, 9 hours, 15 minutes and 24 seconds, beating Perpetual Loyal's record of 1 day, 13 hours, 31 minutes and 20 seconds, set the previous year.

Comanche takes the lead in the Sydney to Hobart on day one

Who can race?

The minimum age to compete in the race is 18 years of age. There is no upper age limit.

Each yacht generally carries between six and 24 crew members, the average across the fleet being 10 to 11.

The head of the crew is the skipper and often the skipper also owns the yacht. Other positions on board include the "helmsperson, navigator, tactician, trimmers and foredeck person, or for'ard hand", race organisers explain.

Two-hander boats (a category introduced in 2020) attempt the voyage with only two crew members.

A team of men surround a silver cup trophy.

After the 1998 race, in which six sailors died, five yachts sank, more than 60 yachts retired and 55 sailors had to be rescued by helicopter, at least 50 per cent of crew members in a team have to have completed a sea safety survival course.

All competitors must have completed an approved "Category 1" equivalent passage. One advertised course for Sydney to Hobart wannabe sailors offers five days of "continuously sailing" across a 500 nautical mile passage off the New South Wales coast, starting at $1,795 per person.

1955 Sydney to Hobart race start

Conditions on board can be cramped and extreme, with very rough seas often battering yachts along the way. If a crew member goes over the side, that means teams have to circle back to collect them.

Winner of the 2022 Two-Handed Division Rupert Henry said for his two-person team, "we only manage around four hours max of sleep each".

"We know when each other needs to crash so we do it then."

As for people who easily get sea sick, perhaps this is not the hobby for you.

Crew members in red jackets race a blue and white yacht at sea

How can I follow the boats online?

You can follow the race on an online tracker , which shows the positions of yachts as they move south, via a GPS device on each vessel. 

As the race goes on, you can see the course charted by crews — unless of course the boat's GPS device gets switched off, rendering it invisible to spectators and other competitors — an accusation that was levelled at Wild Oats XI in 2018 by the owner of Black Jack.

Yachts can also be tracked on the Marine Traffic website .

Sydney to Hobart yacht race tracker.

Imalizard, Eye Candy and Millennium Falcon — what's in a name?

If you are the kind who chooses a favourite yacht based on the name, there are some good ones this year, including Imalizard, Disko Trooper, Millennium Falcon, Lenny, Mister Lucky, Pacman, Toecutter, Extasea, two yachts with Yeah Baby in their names, Chutzpah, Ciao Bella and Eye Candy.

Not among 2023's starters is Huntress, which came to grief last year after breaking a rudder, with the crew abandoning the vessel and it later drifting and  washing up on a remote Tasmanian beach , leading to a dispute over the salvage rights .

A yacht saling on a river with city in background.

Main contenders for the Overall title are Alive (2018 winner, a Tasmanian boat), Chutzpah, Celestial, Smuggler and URM, as well as supermaxis LawConnect, SHK Scallywag, Andoo Comanche and Wild Thing.

Barring disaster, the Line Honours winner will almost certainly be one of the four supermaxis.

This yacht has raced under several names, previously racing as Perpetual LOYAL, Investec LOYAL and InfoTrack.

In 2016, Perpetual LOYAL became the fastest-ever boat to complete the race, setting a new race record of 1 day, 13 hours, 31 minutes, and 12 seconds. That record has since been broken by LDV Comanche in 2017. Investec LOYAL also sailed to victory in 2011.

Previous owner Anthony Bell declared after his 2016 victory that he would be selling the boat. It was picked up by tech entrepreneur Christian Beck, with the boat's name changed to InfoTrack.

Now called LawConnect, conditions haven't suited the heavier yacht in recent years. It is yet to win a Sydney to Hobart under its new name and ownership but is always among the leaders' pack. It recently defeated Comanche in the Big Boat Challenge, a traditional lead-up event to the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

Andoo Comanche

John Winning Junior took over from Jim Cooney as skipper of the newly named 'Andoo' Comanche last year, and had instant success, beating its rivals to a 4th Line Honours victory. In 2017, it defeated Wild Oats for Line Honours, setting a race record in the process, but only after a controversial protest. It also claimed Line Honours in 2019.

Andoo Comanche will enter as hot favourite for Line Honours this year after installing a brand new million-dollar sails package and winning the Cabbage Tree Island race – it did however finish second to LawConnect in this month's Big Boat Challenge .

SHK Scallywag

Scallywag looms as a wild card in this year's race, and on its day can challenge the likes of Comanche. Scallywag is lighter and narrower than Comanche, and is better suited to lighter wind conditions.

It has undergone modifications during the winter and will have a pair of Americas Cup sailors on board in Luke Payne and Luke Parkinson. Scallywag has never won a Line Honours victory.

Wild Thing 100

Wild Thing 100 will be the newest supermaxi to be launched when it makes its debut in this year's race.

Owner Grant Wharrington has modified Stefan Racing, a Botin 80, which he sailed to fourth over the line in 2021 and 6th last year. Under the extension, the yacht has been rebranded as Wild Thing 100. Wharrington took Line Honours in 2003 with his previous Wild Thing, but the following year, whilst leading the fleet to Hobart, she lost her canting keel and capsized in Bass Strait.

Some other Sydney to Hobart race facts:

Thirteen of the last 17 Line Honours victories have been claimed by Comanche or Wild Oats Wild Oats XI is not participating this year, the second time in three years the nine-time Line Honours winner has not raced. Skipper mark Richards said he'd be spending the time "relaxing somewhere with a beer in my hand" There are 21 two-handed crews (two-person team) competing The smallest boats in the fleet are a pair of 30-footers, Currawong and Niksen. Both are two-handers and Currawong is crewed by two women, Kathy Veel and Bridget Canham The oldest boat to enter this year's race is Christina, built in 1932 There are 10 international crews competing in this year's event It is tradition that the skipper of the boat first in to Hobart jumps into the chilly water of the Derwent

Supermaxi LawConnect sails down Sydney Harbour toward the finish line of the Big Boat Challenge.

When does the race finish?

The Line Honours winner is likely to come in around 48 hours after the start, but this is very much dependent on the weather —  especially in the 22.2-kilometre final stretch up the Derwent River to the finish line.

This is when the wind can drop away and it becomes a crawl , with every trick in the book pulled out to make headway.

Yachts can finish at any time of the day or night.

In 2021, Black Jack crossed the line at 1:37am on December 29, followed by LawConnect at 4:11am and SHK Scallywag about 20 minutes after that.

In 2019, Comanche came in at a more reasonable time of 7:30am on December 28, with InfoTrack about 45 minutes later.

"It matters not whether it is in the wee hours of the morning or the middle of the day — a boisterous and enthusiastic crowd is on hand to clap and cheer the winning yacht to its berth," organisers say.

But the cheering was not just reserved for the first finishers.

In the 2022 race, the final yacht — Currawong — timed its finish impeccably, coming in just before midnight on December 31 , to be met with rousing applause from crowds at Hobart's wharf for New Year's Eve celebrations and an accompanying fireworks display.

Four men in black overalls stand on a yacht with arms around each other or clapping.

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sydney to hobart yacht race prize money

Considered one of the most difficult yacht races in the world, this is one of Australia’s most beloved and anticipated events.

What Is It?

The yacht race starts in Sydney, Australia and takes racers all the way to the Tassie capital of Hobart , taking place over several days. The winner often reaches the finish line in less than two. With over 100 contestants, this is an extremely challenging and competitive race.

What Can You Expect

sydney to hobart yacht race prize money

Interested in catching the end of the race? Go to Hobart’s Constitution Dock where the fleet will arrive after finishing the race and witness local new year festivities.

The race is held by both the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania and the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (Sydney). The winner receives a Rolex watch--hence the festival’s name. It is extremely difficult to win and the crews of the yachts compete at the most professional level.

When and Where?

sydney to hobart yacht race prize money

Not sure where to go? If you want to celebrate with the yacht’s captain’s and enjoy champagne, then you will want to go to Hobart.To get there, fly into Hobart’s international airport .

Go to the Royal Botanical Gardens for the best view of the competing yachts. For a fun time, bring food and snacks for a picnic. If you want to see the boats cross the finish line, then you will need to stay in Hobart beforehand. Most boats start to arrive 2 or 3 days after the race begins.

The race started in 1945. Since that time, its taken place every single year without missing a beat. Yacht racing can find its origins in England.

Luckily for spectators, the event only costs money for those yachts that register to compete.

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Sydney To Hobart Yacht Race

Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is a huge sporting event in Australia that is held on Boxing Day each year.

Attracting some of the best sailing crews in the world, the race travels from Sydney, 630 nautical miles (1,100km) south to Tasmania.

Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2024, Dates, Times, Course Route & Tracker

The race record is around one day, 9 hours and 15 minutes. Each boat’s time is adjusted according to its size and expected speed, adopting a handicap system. The power-to-weight ratio is the most crucial factor in speed, and most boats competing in the race are ‘sloops’ – single-mast yachts.

For visitors wanting to view the race whilst they are in Sydney , head to Sydney Harbour as the fleet sails out to the Tasman Sea before heading south down the coast and over the Bass Strait. Head over to Nielsen Park, where the cannons will signal the start of the race, usually around 1pm. For those wanting to get up close to the action, head over to Middle Head Lookout or Headland Park.

The Seven Network, through 7Mate, will once again broadcast the start of the race live around Australia. ABC TV will also follow the fleet down the eastern seaboard and provide all the in-race news footage used by the various Australian and International news networks.

Seven West Media will webcast the program for those who can’t watch the live broadcast of the start of the Race on the Seven Network across Australia. You can also watch a live webcast on the home page of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race website.

The Yacht Tracker page lets viewers track the entire fleet or a particular boat from start to finish. Yacht Tracker uses a specially designed tool that calculates the predicted results for every boat in the fleet so you can see how each boat is performing. Each yacht will be fitted with a tracker that will obtain a position using the GPS satellite network and transmit that position back to HQ.

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sydney to hobart yacht race prize money

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At the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Women Are Making Their Mark

The event is attracting more female skippers than in previous years, and many own the boats.

Two women, both wearing black T-shirts with the word "Katana1," adjust ropes on a boat docked at a marina.

By David Schmidt

The skippers competing in the annual Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race dream of winning a top trophy in this challenging offshore race. This year, 10 of them will be women.

While a female-skippered team has not won the Tattersall Cup, which is awarded to the race’s overall winner, more women have been competing in the race as skippers the last few years. It reflects the expanding ranks in sailing of experienced women, the creation of the race’s two-handed class and an uptick in the number of female boat owners.

Women have been participating in the Sydney Hobart race since 1946, with Jane Tate aboard the Active and Dagmar O’Brien on the Connella. The first all-women’s team, skippered by Vicki Willman, raced in 1975 aboard Barbarian, a 38-foot yacht.

This year, 10 women plan to compete as skippers and co-skippers. This follows an upward trend: nine women raced in 2022 as skippers and co-skippers, and seven competed in 2021. In 2019, this number was six, while three competed in the 2017 and 2018 events.

“It is a changed world for the better,” said Adrienne Cahalan , a two-time Tattersall Cup-winning navigator. She plans to start her 31st race — a record for women — as navigator aboard the 66-foot yacht Alive this year.

“Women are accepted as equal players and leaders,” Cahalan said of the race, noting that women are underrepresented in the Sydney Hobart only among the professional and big-boat crews.

The race, which starts on Tuesday, began in 1945 and is a serious affair. Six sailors died and five yachts sank in the 1998 event. Veterans call it one of the world’s greatest, and hardest , offshore races.

The 628-nautical-mile course begins in Sydney Harbor . After exiting protected waters, teams turn south-southwest and race down the New South Wales coastline, before crossing Bass Strait. This shallow-water swath separates Australia from Tasmania and can sometimes create boat-breaking waves.

Then, navigators approach Tasman Island before the boats make the final 40-mile push across Storm Bay and up the River Derwent to Hobart.

For women, a big part of their overall increase as skippers, sailors said, was because of an inclusive and welcoming community that helped create opportunities.

“There’s a women’s sailing network in Sydney where there’s a lot of engagement from females,” said Lt. Tori Costello, who plans to co-skipper the Royal Australian Navy’s 40-foot Navy One this year. “There’s been so many more females just being involved, being given opportunities to get out there and race.”

Sailors said this change was helped by the creation of women’s sailing events, including the Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta and the Sydney Harbour Women’s Keelboat Series. They also cite SheSails, an Australian organization that encourages female participation in sailing, and several active women’s-sailing Facebook groups and clubs, as contributing factors.

Internationally, they point to the Magenta Project, which works to create better equity and inclusion within sailing, as another important element.

“Just about every sailing club I know of has a women’s group actively educating and providing opportunities for women” said Kathy Veel, the owner and a skipper of the 30-foot Currawong and a three-time race veteran. “There are now many very skilled, experienced yachtswomen who seek the challenge of being in charge.”

Another catalyst, sailors say, was the creation of the race’s two-handed class, which debuted in 2021. While most boats racing to Hobart have a full crew, two-handed teams race with just two people.

“Even if you don’t own the boat, the second person in most cases is a co-skipper,” said Wendy Tuck, the first woman to win an around-the-world race as skipper and a two-time two-handed class veteran. “It is a great opportunity.”

While two-handed sailing doubles the number of skipper roles, it requires, and breeds, a high level of competency and trust.

“Two-handed racing is a great format for fast-tracking skills in all aspects of sailing and seamanship,” Veel said.

After all, one skipper often sleeps while the other stands watch.

Many yachts that compete in the two-handed class are about 30 to 40 feet long. This matters, as their smaller sails generate less load than the bigger yachts.

“The smaller size of most two-handed boats makes them very manageable for female sailors,” Bridget Canham said. In 2022, she and Veel became the first all-women’s two-handed team to complete the race; they plan to compete together again this year.

Annika Thomson, skipper and an owner of the 52-foot Ocean Crusaders J-Bird, said that it was not as daunting to race two-handed aboard the smaller boats. She would know: In 2022, Thomson and her husband, Ian, raced their 52-footer two-handed to Hobart.

She was skipper.

“It’s not recommended,” she said as a joke, of racing a big, powerful boat double-handed to Hobart. “We did it, now we forgot all about it.”

This year, Thomson plans to skipper her boat with a crew of 11, including her husband, who will navigate.

While professionally-run yachts often hire professional skippers, many amateur teams are led by owner-skippers.

“Sometimes to take on a leadership role a person needs to create their own opportunities,” Cahalan said. “For example, by buying or chartering your own boat and putting your own team together.”

She isn’t alone in this thinking: Seven of the nine female-led boats are racing with full crews.

“My thought is always, and always has been, if I want to skipper a yacht, I probably need to own it,” Thomson said. “The more women that own yachts, the more women who are encouraged to buy their own yachts.”

Case in point: Of the nine female-led yachts, seven are owned or co-owned by women. These include Thomson’s 52-footer, Hilary Arthure’s 35-foot Wyuna, and Jiang Lin’s 34-foot Min River.

There’s more than pride in vessel ownership at stake. The Sydney Hobart race can award dozens of trophies. Of these, three are specifically reserved for women

For some skippers, these aren’t enough.

“While these trophies are great in that they acknowledge the women who were pioneers and role models in the sport, the prize women really want to win now is the Tattersall Cup,” Veel said.

“I think it’s much more likely a female two-handed boat could win a division,” she said, pointing to the costs and complexities of campaigning a competitive yacht. “But I don’t want to rule anything out.”

Thomson was more optimistic. “It would be really cool if someone took it up this year,” she said, referring to the Tattersall Cup.

Still, she was realistic.

“How long is a piece of string?” she asked, using an Australian phrase meaning that something is only finished when it’s finished.

Trophies aside, sailors said the real rewards of skippering a yacht in this race were camaraderie, teamwork and the chance to lead a team through a demanding test.

Half of the race is “not the best times, and you’re questioning why you’re doing it,” said Costello of the often-rough conditions. “It comes back down to those moments where you’re wide-eyed and it’s a bit crazy out there, and everyone has that knowing look like, ‘OK, we’re going to get through this.’”

And, with more women taking on this leadership challenge, sailors said the race’s future had never looked more inclusive.

“Women are a big part of the population, so we aren’t going anywhere,” said Tuck, who plans to start her 16th race this year as a watch captain aboard Disko Trooper, a 32-footer. “Well, yes,” she corrected, “we are going to Hobart.”

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2024

sydney to hobart yacht race prize money

2024 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race | Entries Open

  • 14 Jun, 2024 02:15:00 PM

2024 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race | Entries Open

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) is pleased to invite eligible boats to enter 2024 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

The 79 th   edition of the historic 628-nautical mile blue water classic will start on Sydney Harbour at 1300 hrs AEDT on Thursday 26 December 2024. The 2024 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Notice of Race (NoR) includes a few significant changes to the previous NoR. Most notably, to promote crew diversity and encourage more female and youth participation, IRC Rule 22.4 Crew Number/Weight will allow the addition of one additional crew to a boat's IRC crew number should the boat have any of the following on board for the race: two female crew, two youth (under 23 years old) crew, one youth and one female. This will only be applied once.  The 2023 edition saw 103 starters and 85 finishers in Hobart, including a highly-contested fight for Line Honours.

sydney to hobart yacht race prize money

The maxi LawConnect won the John H. Illingworth Challenge Cup for Line Honours after beating defending champion Andoo Comanche by 51 seconds, becoming the second closest Line Honour finish in Rolex Sydney Hobart history.    Phillip Turner’s Alive, led by Duncan Hine, was the Overall Winner of the Tattersall Cup, becoming the second Tasmanian yacht to win the Tattersall Cup twice. Skipper Duncan Hine confirms Alive's commitment to race in the 2024 edition, saying "We're looking forward to coming back for another crack at the Tattersall Cup. We're in it to win it. Phillip and the whole team are very excited."    Professional sailor Adrienne Cahalan navigated Alive to victory, earning her third Tattersall Cup. Cahalan currently holds the record for number of Rolex Sydney Hobarts sailed by a yachtswoman at 31 races. The Rolex Sydney Hobart is witnessing an upward trend of women sailors in the race, including professional sailors. The 2023 race saw a record 10 entrants owned/skippered by women.  Eight international yachts competed in the 78th running, including Caro (winner of the 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race) and Teasing Machine (2017 and 2023 winners of the RORC Transatlantic Race).  Eighteen double-handers took on the maritime challenge with Rupert Henry's Lombard 34 Mistral taking IRC honours for the second consecutive year and an impressive sixth IRC Overall.  Arthur Lane, Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, said: "It is my great pleasure to announce that entries are open for the 2024 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. We anticipate a strong fleet for the 79th running where our local Australian teams will be complemented by esteemed international competition."  "The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia once again extends its gratitude to Rolex for the ongoing support of the Race and the sport of sailing globally as well as our many valued race partners including our good friends at Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania as Race Finishing Partner."  Visit the Rolex Sydney Hobart website to   view entrants .  Entries for the 2024 race will close on Friday 25 October 2024. 

Congratulations to all the divisional winners of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2023

Congratulations to all the divisional winners of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2023

PHOTOS | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Official Prizegiving

PHOTOS | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Official Prizegiving

PHOTOS | Day 5 Morning - Tasman Island and Storm Bay

PHOTOS | Day 5 Morning - Tasman Island and Storm Bay

PHOTOS | Day 5 and Day 6 finishers

PHOTOS | Day 5 and Day 6 finishers

PHOTOS | Official Presentation of Tattersall Cup and Rolex Timepiece to the Overall Winner

PHOTOS | Official Presentation of Tattersall Cup and Rolex Timepiece to the Overall Winner

2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - A Race for the Ages

2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - A Race for the Ages

VIDEO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Rolex Daily Video Summary

VIDEO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Rolex Daily Video Summary

VIDEO | Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2023

VIDEO | Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2023

VIDEO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Official Prizegiving

VIDEO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Official Prizegiving

VIDEO | Race Update - 31 December Morning

VIDEO | Race Update - 31 December Morning

AUDIO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Sked 10

AUDIO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Sked 10

AUDIO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Sked 9

AUDIO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Sked 9

AUDIO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Sked 8

AUDIO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Sked 8

AUDIO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Sked 7

AUDIO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Sked 7

AUDIO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Sked 6

AUDIO | 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Sked 6

Official rolex sydney hobart merchandise.

Shop the official clothing range of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in person at the Club in New South Head Road, Darling Point or online below.  

From casual to technical clothing, there is something for all occasions. Be quick as stock is limited!

IMAGES

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  6. Sydney to Hobart yacht race 2021 ultimate guide: start time, when is it

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COMMENTS

  1. Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

    The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is an annual event hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, starting in Sydney, New South Wales, ... It generally costs each of the major contenders for line honors millions of dollars to equip themselves for the race, however there is no prize money. The only award is a Rolex watch from the race ...

  2. Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2024

    All three boats shall be entered in the IRC category of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2023. At least one boat must must be two-handed. At least one boat must be fully crewed. To represent a country the owners of the three boats must be permanent residents of that Country. To represent a State the owners of the three boats must be permanent ...

  3. Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2022: Celestial wins Tattersall Cup after

    Anthony Segaert. Celestial has been crowned the overall winner of the 2022 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, winning the bluewater classic's Tattersall Cup in an adjusted time of 2 days, 16 hours, 35 ...

  4. Sydney to Hobart yacht race: LawConnect wins Sydney to Hobart line

    In a finish for the ages, LawConnect has sensationally overtaken Andoo Comanche in the final moments to snatch line honours in the 2023 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

  5. Andoo Comanche wins Sydney to Hobart yacht race 2022 line honours after

    Favourable weather led to a speedy race this year but it was still not enough to pip Comanche's 2017 line honours win with skipper Jim Cooney, which set the race record of 1 day, 9 hours, 15 ...

  6. Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2023: Live updates, results, retirements

    Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2023 as it happened: LawConnect wins line honours in thrilling finish against Andoo Comanche By Billie Eder Updated December 28, 2023 — 10.32am first published at 5.46am

  7. Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2024

    The major prize winners and milestone achievers were celebrated at the Official Prizegiving for the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Take a look at the full honour roll for the race. Celestial. 1st IRC Overall. - George Adams Tattersall Cup. - CYCA Trophy. - RORC Plaque. - Government of Tasmania Trophy. - Rolex Yacht Master timepiece.

  8. 2021 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

    The 2021 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race was the 76th annual running of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, hosted by Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and sponsored by Rolex. It began on Sydney Harbour at 13:00 on 26 December 2021, before heading south for 628 nautical miles (1,163 km) via the Tasman Sea, Bass Strait, Storm Bay and up the River Derwent, to cross the finish line in Hobart, Tasmania.

  9. Sydney to Hobart yacht race

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  10. Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2021

    Winning the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race overall after time correction and securing the coveted Tattersall Cup guarantees a place in yachting folklore. Matt Allen's Ichi Ban has won two of the past three editions, in 2017 and 2019. Should the Australian boat emerge victorious again, ...

  11. Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2023

    PHOTOS | Prizegiving - 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. NEWS; 02 Jan, 2022 09:14:00 AM ...

  12. News Story

    Hobart, 31 December 2023 - The 78th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will go down in history as a relentlessly demanding test of determination, as well as physical and mental resilience. The record will highlight a tooth and nail fight to the finish for Line Honours, and a Tasmanian boat joining the select few to have achieved two overall wins in the event's near eight decades.

  13. Revealed: The VERY surprising prize money Sydney to Hobart winner

    Perennial bridesmaid LawConnect has claimed Sydney to Hobart line honours in one of the great race's craziest finishes - but won't get a cent of prize money for the stunning victory. LawConnect ...

  14. Sydney to Hobart yacht race 2023

    Spectators watch the start of the 2022 Sydney to Hobart race. (Getty Images: Jenny Evans) Good vantage points for spectator boats include "Taylors Bay, Chowder Bay, Obelisk Bay and North Head on ...

  15. 2023 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

    The 2023 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, sponsored by Rolex and hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Sydney, was the 78th annual running of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.It began on Sydney Harbour at 1 pm on Boxing Day (26 December 2023), before heading south for 628 nautical miles (1,163 km) through the Tasman Sea, Bass Strait, Storm Bay and up the River Derwent, to cross the ...

  16. Sydney to Hobart yacht race 2023 finish order, retirement list, line

    Sydney to Hobart yacht race 2023 finish order, retirement list, line and overall winners, 2024 boats. Sylph - with Oli the cat watching on - was the 85th and last boat to finish the 2023 Sydney to ...

  17. Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2024

    Over the past 77 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 ...

  18. Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

    Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Once a year, Sydney's harbour is overtaken by yachts in every direction by the Sydney Hobart race. The grand prize is the Tattersall Cup, which gives boats handicaps given size and speed. The real race, though, is for 'line honours,' the reward given to the first yacht that makes it to the finishing line.

  19. Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

    Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2024, Dates, Times, Course Route & Tracker. Considered one of the most challenging sailing events in the world, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race takes around 1.5 days to complete. Interestingly, there is no prize money for winning the race; instead, participants take part for the prestige associated with winning such ...

  20. Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2024

    14 Jun, 2024 02:15:00 PM; 2024 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race | Entries Open. The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) is pleased to invite eligible boats to enter 2024 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

  21. Sydney to Hobart race 2022: Two-person crews 'excited' to finally get a

    Anthony Segaert. Sailors of two-handed boats say they are "very excited" to be competing for the overall prize in the Sydney to Hobart race after being declared ineligible last year due to ...

  22. At the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Women Are Making Their Mark

    The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race follows a 628-nautical-mile course that begins in Sydney Harbor on Dec. 26. ... the prize women really want to win now is the Tattersall Cup," Veel said.

  23. Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2024

    The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) is pleased to invite eligible boats to enter 2024 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The 79th edition of the historic 628-nautical mile blue water classic will start on Sydney Harbour at 1300 hrs AEDT on Thursday 26 December 2024. Full Story.

  24. Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2024

    The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) is pleased to invite eligible boats to enter 2024 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The 79 th edition of the historic 628-nautical mile blue water classic will start on Sydney Harbour at 1300 hrs AEDT on Thursday 26 December 2024. The 2024 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Notice of Race (NoR) includes a few significant changes to the previous NoR.