30 October 2023
Entries for the 78th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race closed on Friday and the lineup of 120 boats is one of the most open and diverse fleets in years.
The 628nm classic which starts on Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day, 26 December, has attracted entries from around the globe and features ten international teams – representing New Zealand (3), Hong Kong (2), New Caledonia, USA, France, Germany and Ireland.
There are 110 Australian boats hailing from six states – NSW (64), QLD (20), VIC (16), TAS (7), SA (1) and WA (2).
Boats range in size from the smallest – two diminutive 30-foot two-handed entries, Kathy Veel and Bridget Canham’s Currawong 30 Currawong and Marc Michel and Logan Fraser’s Dehler 30 Niksen from New Zealand – all the way up to the four maxi 100-footers: Andoo Comanche, Law Connect, SHK Scallywag and Wild Thing 100 (formerly the Botin 80 Stefan Racing).
The John H Illingworth Challenge Cup for Line Honours victory will be hotly contested by these larger boats who have all featured in recent years.
The oldest boat in the fleet is Ena Ladd’s Colin Archer-designed double-ender Christina, built in 1932. Robert Williams is campaigning Sylph VI, built in 1960, which competed in the Sydney Hobart five times up until 1972 and is making its return to the Great Race after having circumnavigated the globe and spending the past five decades cruising.
Four boats were built in the 1970s: the ubiquitous Victorian entry Bacardi, first all-female two-handed entrant in 2022, Currawong, three-time Overall winner Love & War and Queensland’s Son of a Son. A further 27 were launched in the last century.
21 boats will be competing two-handed – 17.5 percent of the fleet. This number is testament to the growing interest and standard of competition in the division across Australia and around the world.
There are 96 boats competing under IRC for the prestigious Tattersall Cup and 24 under PHS Handicap.
With only two more races scheduled in the 2023/24 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore and the 2023 Australian Maxi Championship (1 to 5 December) ahead of Boxing Day, it will be a busy two months of training and fine-tuning of boats and crews to prepare for what is traditionally one of the most challenging yacht races in the world.
“The 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart promises to deliver another enthralling spectacle for both sailing afficionados and general public alike,” CYCA Commodore Arthur Lane said.
“As one of the most watched sports over the Australian Summer and with worldwide interest and coverage of the race continuing to grow each year through the support of media and broadcast partners, the race is truly one of the highlights of the international sailing calendar.”
View the Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet here.