Incomparable and iconic, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has inspired sailors since 1945. It is a contest with a global reputation that transcends the traditional boundaries of the sport of sailing.

This year’s edition commences, as is tradition, on December 26. The distinct slot in the international sporting calendar has always been a significant part of the event’s appeal. Watching the race start, whether from the shoreline, on the water, or on television, remains an integral part of the Australian holiday season.

The departure from Sydney Harbour is an epic, celebratory occasion. It is the one moment when the colourful fleet converges – yachts ranging from 30 feet (9.14m) to 100 feet (30.48m) and crews both professional and Corinthian. The spectacle provided by the front-running Maxis is compelling, as their quest to take the psychological advantage of exiting the harbour first through the Heads rapidly unfolds.

Once out in open water, the 628-nautical mile (1,163 kilometre) race soon becomes a solitary experience for all competitors, notably during the long passage down the New South Wales coast and then across the easternmost edge of the exposed Bass Strait. That is where the race has developed much of its reputation as one of the world’s most daunting and demanding. Conditions can change dramatically throughout the course, even on the final section up the Derwent River, which can be as decisive as the previous 616nm. Fickle winds on this 12nm stretch can be particularly perilous and frustrating so close to the finish, where a warm welcome to the state capital, Hobart, is ensured through the organizational support of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.


All this adds to the reputation and magnetic pull of the Rolex Sydney Hobart. Sailors are drawn by the opportunity to confront the many challenges, often returning year after year.

The most coveted prize is the Tattersall Cup, awarded to the overall winner. For the triumphant crew, passing into legend is guaranteed.


Open to all, only the most determined entrants can truly aspire to this pinnacle of yacht racing achievement. While the prevailing weather needs to be favourable, teamwork, dedication and a commitment to overcome the countless obstacles are fundamental to success.

At the front of the fleet, the modern era of the Rolex Sydney Hobart has delivered gripping, eventful battles to be first to finish, and 2022 promises to be no exception.

The race has attracted an impressive number of the world’s 100-ft (30.48m) Maxi yachts, along with their driven owners and professional crews. As well as the opportunity to outfox skilled opposition at one of the world’s most renowned races, they are drawn by the possibility of beating the race record of 33 hours, 15 minutes, 24 seconds set in 2017.

But simply finishing the Rolex Sydney Hobart is a momentous achievement. BNZ