The start of Sydney to Hobart 2011 Yacht Race was a stunning event as usual. The super maxis had the size and speed to lead the 86 yachts out of the Sydney Harbour.
The other excitment often over looked is the mahem, bravery, jockeying, and sometimes fear, is within the spectator fleet jostling
to a get a close vantage on the race, whilst avoiding each other, outside the race boundary as well as handling the white water chop and swells. The spectator fleet often numbers 5 to 10 times the number of racing yachts. Ranging from surf skis, to which the water police on the jet skis chased back to the shores, speed boats, sailing yachts, charter yachts, cruisers, ferries in all shapes and sizes. (btw – jet skis are illegal for all othe people on Sydney Harbour, except apparently the water police.)
So what is the most common yacht that sails in the annual Sydney to Hobart race? Maxis? Custom? Nope – in this year’s race Beneteau was equal first with Sydney at 9 yachts apiece. Followed by Reichel Pugh at 5 yachts, and then Maxi at 4. Within the Beneteau and Sydney yachts groups, the most common model was Beneteau 40.7 First, and Sydney 38 respectively.
With a fleet of 86 yachts, the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race will be a truely spectacular sight as usual. Of course the high profile, big dollar maxis, like Wild Oats, Lahana, Ichi Ban and Investec Loyal take the headlines as the favourites for line honours. Unfortunately, the world’s youngest solo Sailor to navigate the globe – Jessica Watson has been deemed “Too Young” to compete in Australia’s premier Yacht Racing event or else I’m sure she will be the headline among the headlines.
I’ve also discovered there is an excellent web site to track the Sydney to Hobart yachts. It has info on all yachts, realtime updates, and good chart graphics for yacht location. Visit http://rolexsydneyhobart.com and track their movements in real-time!