Post 2014 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

So this year marked the 70th edition of the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race (The Race). Another amazing race where the conditions as always not only tested boat and crew but created opportunities for a large range of boats to take out overall honours. One of the many reasons we love the sport, from the oldest boat racing built in 1935 (Maluka of Kermandie) to the latest straight out of the build shed in 2014 (Comanche) we had an overall IRC winner being built in 1985 (Wild Rose).

Whilst we are talking numbers, here are few more for those that love statistic from this great event over the years:

– 5,720 – number of starting yachts in the history of The Race
– 4,735 have completed The Race (82.8%)
– 985 have retired or been disqualified (17.2%)
– Estimated total crew to have compete = 54,000
– Largest fleet Size, 371 starters in 1994 50th Year
– Smallest Fleet Size, 9 starters in the inaugural year 1945
– Average Fleet size is 82
– Slowest race on Elapsed Time: Wayfarer, 1945 11 days 6 hours 20 Minutes
– Fastest race on Elapsed Time; Wild Oats XI 1 day 18 hours 23 minutes 12 seconds (2012)
– Closest Finish for line Honours 1982 Condor Beat Apollo across the line by 7 seconds
– In 2001 just 47 seconds separated the first 7 boats

In this year’s race the following was achieved:

– Ragamuffin 100 owner/skipper Syd Fischer at the age of 87 became the race’s oldest competitor
– Duende’s Tony Cable extended his record number of races to 49
– Winning skipper, Roger Hickman (Wild Rose), has taken part in the race 38 times
– Bacardi has completed the race more times than another boat: 29
– 21 years passed between Wild Rose’s two Rolex Sydney Hobart victories (the boat was called Wild Oats in 1993)
– Wild Oats XI has claimed a record 8 Rolex Sydney Hobart line honours wins

Some pretty amazing statistics coming out of this events history, so after the 70th running of this amazing event, were do we sit? Well many have opinions to which we are all entitled and I am sure you have read or heard a few already. So having competed in the 70th race and many others I would offer this; “If you love and have a passion for yacht racing, if you maintain and keep your vessel at its optimum, if the skipper/owner and the crew put in the hard yards in preparing and training and your get your optimum weather window (that little bit of luck), you have every chance to perform extremely well,” if not win your class or even take the race out overall.” How many sports can a person aged from 18yrs to 100 be offered that opportunity. Winning an event such as this does not come easy by any means only a few will ever achieve that honour, but the reality remains money alone will not buy you a win in this sport.

Yes we have some extremely wealthy people in our sport, but that is a good thing. The investment they make trickles through the industry as a whole, from boat yards, to sailmakers, riggers, shipwrights, detailers, boat hands etc. Their investment in technology works down to all kinds of improvements for us all and the youth development and sailing experiences makes us better sailors. As we proudly recognise, Australia has many of the best sailors in the world right now, in my mind there is no uncertainty that the investments made and profile created by the likes of Bondy, the Oatley’s, Syd Fischer and others has substantially contributed to that success.

There is little doubt that our sport, like all others, needs to keep looking forward and addressing the many challenges that lay ahead in order to survive and thrive. But as I write this blog post the 2014 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race, I feel proud to have been part of it and can’t wait till 26th December 2015.

– David Burt

David heads up our new YOTI Race division.