Last Updated on August 9, 2018
Boxing Day in Sydney, Australia will mark the beginning of one of the biggest events on the Aussie sports calendar, the iconic Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2017. Sailing fans get ready, as it’s an event not to be missed.
The 628 nautical mile race begins on December 26 in one of the most beautiful harbours in the world – the ever-impressive Sydney Harbour – where thousands of spectators line the shore cheering as media helicopters buzz overhead, filming the event for the world to see. It’s a busy time of year, and Sydney will be electric with crowds wanting to be part of the action.
The fleet of yachts contending for the title follow the course out into the Tasman Sea, down the coast of mainland Australia and across the notorious Bass Strait, where the crews are challenged physically and mentally to get through these difficult water conditions. The fleet then finally sail up the gorgeous Derwent River in Tasmania to the historic port of Hobart, where hundreds of spectators eagerly crowd the foreshore of Sullivan’s Cove to cheer the yachts through the finish line.
A treacherous journey
The Rolex Sydney Hobart yacht race has often been described as the most gruelling long ocean race in the world. Lying between the Australian states of Victoria and Tasmania, Bass Strait is a notorious stretch of water renowned for high winds and difficult seas. Despite most of the race taking place in the Tasman Sea, the race course is still at mercy to the elements of the Strait, making the Sydney-Hobart journey a blistering challenge for crew. Because of this, it’s typical for many yachts to retire before the end of the course, especially along the south coast of New South Wales.
The crew are rewarded for their hard work, particularly in the first and last days of the journey, with spectacular views of some of the most beautiful seascapes in the world. The coast of New South Wales is home to stunning beaches and impressive landscapes, and for those crews who make it through these treacherous waters, they are met with Tasmania’s rolling green hills and beautiful beaches – no sight is as welcome as the finish line in Hobart.
Both Sydney and Hobart are a hub of entertainment and festivities with something for everyone during the race. Sydney’s Race Village, located at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, boasts great views of the marina and offers a plethora of activities on Boxing Day. Family Day will keep kids of any age entertained and adults can watch the coverage of the race start on the outdoor big screen, where highlights will continue playing into the evening.
Hobart’s Race Village, located at Constitution Dock, is the ideal vantage point to watch and cheer as the yachts return. There are plenty of places to sit back and relax, and the Village Market Place offers a huge variety of food and drinks. Enjoy live entertainment on the stage and watch the race highlights on the outdoor big screen. For families, there’s a nippers-to-skippers area to keep children entertained, and an active space for adults to take part in activities such as yoga, zumba and boot camps.
The Hobart Race Village is also a great spot to welcome in the new year by watching the spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks on the picturesque Derwent River.
Did you know? Despite costing some of the major contending teams millions of dollars to get race-ready, there is no actual prize money for winning the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. There are trophies and a Rolex watch for the winners, but most contenders enter the race for the honour of being part of one of the most esteemed sailing races in the world.
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