Home » Explore, Featured

Sydney-to-Hobart – the finishing line

15 January 2012 No Comment

Sydney to Hobart yacht race Tasmania
Between Christmas and New Year is a great time to visit Hobart. Aside from general holiday season festivities, there’s the annual Taste Festival on Princess Wharf, an eating and drinking extravaganza featuring Tasmanian produce. And the summer weather brings people outside to relax and enjoy.

One of the post-Christmas highlights is seeing the yachts competing in the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race cross the finish line and come into the historic Constitution Dock.

On Boxing Day (26 December), a large contingent of yachts departs Sydney Harbour for one of the toughest offshore races in the world. The waters off the far south coast of New South Wales and east of Bass Strait are notoriously difficult and some yachts are forced to retire. Race participants and observers keep a close eye on the weather forecast. Those that complete the race arrive in Hobart about two days later. The race record stands at 1 day, 18 hours and 40 minutes.

The 628 nautical miles (1,170 km) Sydney to Hobart race attracts yachts from all over the world. First run in 1945, it has become an iconic fixture in Australia’s summer sporting calendar, attracting a large amount of public interest via television coverage.

Hobart’s constitution dock area comes alive when the yachts arrive. There are bars and music around the dock and the pubs around the Hobart foreshore area are packed and lively. You can track the progress of the yachts and see spectacular photos taken en-route in the race tent, where friends and families of the sailors wait for them to arrive. Out on the marina, you can get up close and personal with these amazing high-tech yachts.

The Derwent River leading into Hobart is another very unpredictable element in the race. Sometimes conditions have been so calm that yachts have made frustratingly slow progress over the last couple of miles, or remained stationary for some time, allowing those behind them to catch up.

Last year a friend of ours was on one of the yachts competing and we tracked his progress towards Hobart on the event web site. During dinner at the historic seaman’s pub The Shipwright’s Arms in Battery Point, we again checked his progress on a smartphone. We rushed down to Castray Esplanade near Salamanca in time to see him cross the finish line and then walked around to the dock to congratulate him and look at the yacht. There’s an incredible buzz of activity around each arrival.

It’s best to book your accommodation in Hobart for this period well in advance or be prepared to stay outside the centre of town. Not only are the Sydney to Hobart crews and family staying, many Tasmanians from outside Hobart book a few nights in town so they can enjoy a few drinks on New Years Eve or at the Taste Festival without having to drive home.

Susan Moore lives in the Huon Valley in southern tasmania. She shares a glimpse of daily life in Tasmania, as written by a “blow in” from the mainland, on her fascinating site Houn View. Don’t forget to subscribe to receive her regular articles.

Image: Lee Turner via Flickr

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.