Tuesday May 30, 2023
Tuesday May 30, 2023

Action-packed start to Sydney to Hobart race

2022 Dec 26, 11:49, SYDNEY

Several near collisions and two of the race favorite super maxis making penalty turns marked a dramatic start to the Sydney to Hobart yacht race on Monday.

Watched by a large spectator fleet, with tens of thousands more onlookers lining the shore of the picteresque Sydney Harbour, the action unfolded quickly just moments after the starting gun had sounded.

Line honours favorite Andoo Comanche took a penalty turn inside the first few minutes after possibly hitting a marker buoy. The boat was later seen flying a protest flag.

Hamilton Island Wild Oats took their penalty turn later but only after a debate between skipper Mark Richards and other senior crew members for a reason that was not immediately clear.

In a congested start among the fleet of 109, several boats narrowly avoided collisions as they maneuvered for advantage in favorable northerly breezes of around 15 knots.

Super maxi LawConnect took an early lead as the race settled down after a frantic start, which took place in warm sunshine after heavy early morning fog had hung over the harbor and limited visibility.

Weather forecasts indicate northeasterly winds for the early part of the race, providing the yachts with a comfortable voyage downwind off the states of New South Wales and Victoria. The faster yachts are likely to see that weather through to the finish line, but the rest of the fleet may have to contend with strong winds after the second day of racing.

The 628 nautical-mile race (1,170 kilometers, or about 720 miles) sails from Sydney down the south coast of New South Wales state and across Bass Strait to Hobart, the capital of the island state of Tasmania.

Black Jack, skippered by Mark Bradford, won last year, arriving at Constitution Dock in Hobart after two days, 12 hours, 37 minutes. Of the 88 boats that left Sydney, 36 were forced to retire due to dangerous waves and weather conditions.

Comanche set the race record in 2017, finishing in one day, nine hours, 15 minutes, 24 seconds.


Sydney collisions dramatic start Hobart yacht race protest flag skipper Mark Richards
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