|SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA-(16-12-2004) A picture tells a thousand words. That is certainly the case at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia where an historical display of the last 59 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Races has officially opened.
The historical display is made up of 59 story boards featuring photos from media organisation News Limited’s archive and depicting the triumphs and tragedies of Australia’s premier bluewater ocean classic which is this year celebrating its 60th anniversary.
Work on the display began mid-way through this year with a sub-committee of the CYCA’s Archive Committee commencing the research and writing the text that accompanies each story board while News Limited started work on the photo side of the project.
The end result is a stunning display of black and white and colour photo boards which are arranged in date order from the first Sydney Hobart Race in 1945 through to last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
From the first race in 1945 to the end of the 1950s, the line honours winning yachts of that period depicted in the exhibition include Rani, Morna and Margaret Rintoul, Kurrewa, Solveig and Solo while the 1960s are marked by greats such as Astor, Ondine and Fidelis.
The 1970s was an important decade for the race with the first naming rights sponsor coming on board to assist with the enormous cost of running of the race - Hitachi in 1976 – and a new race record set by Kialoa in 1975 that was to stand for 21 years until German skipper Hasso Plattner re-wrote the history books in 1996 with Morning Glory.
The following decade features yachts such as Syd Fischer’s maxi Ragamuffin, a line honours winner in the 1988 race, Apollo, Condor and Vengeance before the 1990s delivered the likes of Andrew Strachan’s Ninety Seven, George Snow’s Brindabella, Larry Ellison’s Sayonara, Morning Glory, the stormy 1998 race in which six lives were lost and a new race record following the Danish-owned Volvo 60 Nokia’s downwind dash to Hobart in 1999.
News Limited and freelance photographer and CYCA member, Ian Mainsbridge, who is this year photographing his 40th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, played a guiding role in the photo selection.
“At nearly five hours per story board, close to 300 hours went into creating the photo montages alone,” said Mainsbridge.
News Limited photographic manager Steve Groves says his organization is proud to be a partner on this project.
“We have a rich history of covering the race both in Sydney and Hobart and the company has committed a vast amount of capital and people power to it. We recognise it as one of the truly great ocean races of the world,” he added.
The text, which includes details of the line honours and handicap winner and a synopsis of the weather and any interesting facts for each year was written by a number of Club historians including David Colfelt, Frank Sticovich and Archives Committee Chairman Rod Skellet.
The historical display also includes a continuous DVD of the 50th anniversary race with additional footage of the 2002 and 2003 Rolex Sydney Hobart races.
The Sydney display, proudly supported by The Daily Telegraph, is now open in the marquee on the CYCA’s hardstand and a duplicate of the story boards will soon travel to Hobart for an exhibition at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania’s Information Centre at the race finish, which will be proudly supported by the Hobart Mercury. Both newspapers have covered every race extensively since the inaugural race in 1945.
Entry to the exhibition at the CYCA is free and all are welcome to come down and soak up some of the history of one of Australia’s greatest sporting icons. Exhibition opening hours are from 8.30am to 6.00pm every day.