Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
A strong fleet featuring former winners, diverse international entries and a highly competitive two-handed division is already building for the 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, with just 99 days to go until the 78th edition of the historic race on Boxing Day.
The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, organiser of the 628 nautical mile classic, has welcomed 66 entrants to date.
The fleet features six international boats – from Hong Kong (Antipodes and SHK Scallywag), New Caledonia (Eye Candy), New Zealand (Niksen), Germany (Rockall 8) and the USA (Lenny). Of the 60 Australian entrants, 28 are from NSW, twelve from Victoria, thirteen from Queensland, four from Tasmania, one from South Australia and two from Western Australia.
Sam Hayne’s TP52 Celestial, Overall Winner of the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart and 2nd in 2021, is also expected back to contest for one of the most prestigious trophies in offshore racing – the Tattersall Cup.
Four 100-foot maxis have signed on. John Winning Jr returns to defend his 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Line Honours victory on four-time winner and race record holder Andoo Comanche. Christian Beck’s JK 100 LawConnect has been runner-up in the past three races (2019 as InfoTrack/2021/2022) and was Line Honours winner as Perpetual LOYAL in 2016. Sun Hung Kai’s RHKYC entry SHK Scallywag is back after finishing 3rd under David Witt in 2021, and Grant Wharington’s Wild Thing 100 (formerly Stefan Racing 80) has had 20 feet added and will race for the first time as a 100-footer. It is shaping up to be a hotly contested John H Illingworth Challenge Cup.
Two-handed entrants once again look to make up around 20% of the fleet with ten entries already received. The likes of Chris O’Neill’s J/99 Blue Planet, Peter Elkington’s Young 11 Pacman and Anthony Hammond’s Jeanneau Sun Fast 3600 Maverick, (2018 Melbourne-Osaka winner under Rod Smallman), return to the Rolex Sydney Hobart to join a varied list of newcomers.
Some of the notable boats competing in the 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart are:
- Andoo Comanche: John Winning Jr’s chartered VPLP/Verdier 100 has won Line Honours four times (2015/2017/2019/2022) and holds the current race record.
- Alive: Phillip Turner’s Reichel Pugh 66 holds the current monohull race record for the Rolex China Sea Race and was the Overall winner of the 2018 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
- LawConnect: Christian Beck’s 100-footer was second over the line in 2022 for the third consecutive time and won Line Honours for Anthony Bell as Perpetual LOYAL in 2016.
- Love & War: Simon Kurts’ perennial S&S 47 has won the Sydney Hobart race Overall on three occasions (1974/1978/2006) and is always in consideration when the conditions favour smaller boats.
- Pacman: Peter Elkington’s Young 11 from Queensland was 3rd in the Two-Handed IRC Division in 2022 and 2nd in Division 3 Overall.
- SHK Scallywag: Sun Hung Kai’s Hong-Kon based maxi was 3rd on Line Honours in 2021.
- Smuggler: Sebastian Bohm’s TP52 placed 6th Overall in 2021 and 9th in 2022 and won the 2018 Ponant Sydney Noumea Race. One of several TP52s expected to feature.
- URM Group: Anthony Johnston’s Reichel Pugh 72 recently won the 2023 Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race and finished 3rd in IRC Division 0 in the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart