Five super maxis join 75th fleet
Of the six super maxis in the world capable of contesting the gruelling 628 nautical mile bluewater classic, five have entered the Rolex 75th Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, among an expected fleet of 150 boats.
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Commodore Paul Billingham announced the super maxi line-up and confirmed the huge fleet at the launch of the Rolex 75th Sydney Hobart Yacht Race at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania on Monday, the first time the main launch has been held in Hobart.
“With entries open for another couple of weeks, we currently have received 144 entries….and are planning a three-line start from Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day,” Commodore Billingham said, adding and that the 2019 fleet included many of the fastest ocean racing yachts in the world, past line honours and overall winners, and some fine vintage vessels.
The five super maxis entered are Wild Oats XI, Black Jack, Comanche and Infotrack, which crossed the finish in that order last year, along with SHK Scallywag 100 which retired in the 2018 race. Overall race winner Alive is lining up again, along with strong line and handicap contenders from France, Poland, Hong Kong and the USA.
Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman officially launched the 75th race against a backdrop of the only Tasmanian yacht to have twice won the Sydney Hobart, the famous cutter Westward which took handicap honours in 1947 and 1948. Westward came out of her Constitution Dock museum berth to lead the Opening Day parade on Saturday and yesterday was moored off the RYCT ‘dressed ship.’
Describing the Sydney Hobart Race as a ‘world class event…that brings the best sailors in the world to Hobart’, the Premier said massive worldwide media coverage highlighted not only the great race but to the beauties of Tasmania, adding that the Government would continue and expand its support of the race.
It is understood this will include striking a special commemorative medal or plaque to be presented to each crew member, estimated at totalling more than 1300 men and women.
Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania Commodore Tracy Matthews said the Tasmanian contingent would be the biggest since the 50th Sydney Hobart, also drawing attention to the club’s participation as host for the finish.
“We will have more than one hundred volunteers on duty 24/7, on the radios and computers, manning finish boats, the liaison centre and as members of the race committee,” Commodore Matthews added.
The Tasmanian entry list has been boosted in the past week by the entry of Hummingbird, She’s Apples II and Take 5, joining early entries 2Unlimited, Alive, Black Sheep, Filepro, Magic Miles, Midnight Rambler, Natelle Two, Oskana, Willie Smith’s Philosopher and Winrose.
Several of the skippers of Tasmanian entrants were at the launch including Jo Breen and David Alpin (Team Runaway), Laura Roper (Natelle Two), Ed Psaltis (Midnight Rambler) while Luke Watkins represented Duncan Hine, skipper of Alive.
Words and photos: Peter Campbell
8 October 2019