|SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA-(14-10-2004) The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, an icon of Australia’s summer and long recognised as one of the three major ocean passage races in the world, turns 60 on 26 December 2004.
The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA), established in 1944, expects a large international fleet, including boats from all states of Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, Germany, the USA and Spain, to contest the 628 nautical mile ocean classic.
The Club held its first Sydney Hobart Race in 1945, when a fleet of nine wooden boats set sail on Boxing Day, 26 December. The 60th race will again start on Boxing Day, with thousands expected to turn out to watch the spectacular start on Sydney Harbour.
In recognition of the CYCA’s and the race’s beginnings, the 60th event will see the introduction of a cruising rally for those who wish to participate in a cruise to Hobart as part of the race.
“The anticipated fleet this year is likely to be more than double the number of boats that have competed over the past four years, indicating not only a resurgence in ocean racing in Australia but widespread interest by both racing and cruising sailors in celebrating 60 years of this event,” says CYCA Commodore Martin James.
“The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is unique because of its mass start from within the harbour, the huge media and public interest throughout the race, and the rugged and demanding nature of the course down the Australian east coast, across Bass Strait and then down the east coast of the island state of Tasmania,” he added. “To “do a Hobart” is a must for every ocean racing sailor.”
Commodore James said the CYCA, located in Rushcutters Bay on the southern shores of Sydney Harbour, was in itself unique being only 10 minutes from the CBD of Australia’s largest and most beautiful city.
“Many of the world’s most famous yachtsmen, and business and government leaders, have contested the Sydney Hobart at some stage in their career, including former British Prime Minister Edward Heath, former Australian Chief Justice Sir Garfield Barwick, former New South Wales State Governor Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair, current and former America’s Cup skippers Ted Turner, Jock Sturrock and Russell Coutts, media magnates Rupert Murdoch and his son, Lachlan, computer software giant Larry Ellison, just to name a few,” he said.
“Yet it is a race for everyone, whether they own a super maxi or are sailing their first race as crew on a club racer,” the Commodore added.
Commodore James said the CYCA had already received more than 50 applications to enter the 60th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, including nominations from Germany, Britain and the USA. Of these, 20 boats were competing for the first time or had not taken part for several years.
“This augers well for a great fleet setting sail on Boxing Day,” the Commodore said.
60TH ROLEX SYDNEY HOBART YACHT RACE
Official name: 60th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Course: From the start on Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, 628 nautical miles south in the Tasman Sea, down the South-East Coast of Australia, crossing Eastern Bass Strait to sail down the East Coast of the island State of Tasmania to the finish line Hobart, on the Derwent River.
Start: 1300 hours on Sunday, 26 December 2004.
Race record: 1 day 19 hours 48 minutes 2 seconds set by Nokia (Den/Aus) in 1999.
Handicap systems: IRC (International Rule Club) and PHS (Performance Handicap System). A Cruising division is also being conducted.
Official web site: Notice of Race and other information available on official web site – www.rolexsydneyhobart.com.au or in printed format from the CYCA. During the Race, the award-winning web site also include Yacht Tracker, a satellite system plotting the progress of each yacht in real time, as well as up-to-date news reports, interviews and photographs.