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The Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race – Fun Facts & Forgotten History!

The 76th edition of the Rolex Sydney to Hobart yacht race has been called off due to the recent Covid outbreak in New South Wales.

It is particularly disappointing because it is the first-ever disruption to the tradition since the race began in 1945.

It was a big bummer for Tasmanians, after the quiet year we have had on the island with Dark Mofo, Taste of Tasmania, and every other important event being canceled because of the covid situation.

There is no doubt that the race has built a long and proud legacy, and perhaps it shall be back next year.

To take this moment to have a look back at its rich history, there is a lot to discuss.

  • Although Rolex has become almost synonymous with the event as the title sponsor of the race since 2002, Telstra was the one who began the title sponsorship in 1996. In 2001, after Telstra dropped the deal, Cruising Yacht Club (CYC) of Australia claimed that the race might get canceled because of the withdrawal of its biggest sponsor.
  • Supermaxi Wild Oats XI has set a course record of 1 day, 08 hours, 48 minutes, and 50 seconds in 2017 but will never be acknowledged for it as she has received a 1-hour penalty for her role in a near-miss collision at the beginning of the race. The incident left the official record to LDV Comanche who finished the race in 1 day, 9 hours, 15 minutes, and 24 seconds.
  • Yachts designed by Bruce Farr has won the most races and was deemed to be the luckiest to sailors. He has around 17 overall wins to his name.
  • The largest ever fleet to participate in the race was 371 yachts in 1994, on its 50th-anniversary edition. Only 309 finished the race, and it still holds the record.
  • According to the race statistics, on average, at least 15 to 18% of the fleet retires, and only 80-85% complete the race every year.
  • The youngest participant ever was Rolly Tasker’s four-year-old daughter, whom he took along in his maxi, Siska, in the 1970s.
  • As much as joy the Sydney-Hobart race has spread over the years, it has a dark past too. The wild weather hammered the race in 1998 on its 54th edition when six lives were taken, and five boats were lost. 55 sailors were rescued in the largest peacetime search and rescue effort ever seen in Australia.

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