Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
When I decided to travel to Hobart, one of the things I was most excited about was watching the yachts come in to cross the finishing line, at the end of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Even if you are not a sailor or a water person, it is hard to grow up in Australia without knowing about this race. It’s held annually on Boxing Day, and usually the world is in a post Christmas food coma, so somewhere there is a tv on, and it will be tuned to the cricket or the yacht race coverage.
I planned my arrival into Hobart for the 27th December, because on a “good year”, a year of fast winds and clear sailing, the first yacht could sail into Hobart. 2015 was no such year. It would become known as the most treacherous race in the history of the race. Some yachts didn’t even get out of Sydney harbour due to the wind conditions. So when I arrived into Hobart, there were no yachts to be seen. The forecast was that they would not be in before late that evening. So I explored the city instead.
When I woke up the next morning the yachts had still not arrived! So we continued to explore and watched social media and returned to the race area for updates on when the yachts were expected. By four in the afternoon we decided to stay put, lest we return to the hotel and miss the action. There was live music, and the sun was warm, so we settled in for the evening.
After a couple of glasses of wine, I became restless, and started to stake out my position for the evening, in order to be able to photograph the yachts. The marina had been cleared, and people were starting to move in.
I watched the media carefully, and made note of where they were standing for their live broadcasts. An official confirmed that the spot that I was standing in would be prime position, as the winner would make their way into the marina, and come to a complete stop in front of me! However, the wind was not being kind, and Comanche was barely moving.
Finally, I observed some action! The Comanche support crew were heading out on the water.
But it was to be hours…
It got darker and darker, and I bemoaned not having my tripod.
And then suddenly, in the darkness, the winning yacht limped into the marina.
Comanche had won, and although it was an American yacht, it’s owner was an Australian- Kristy Hinze-Clark. Not only is she an Aussie, but a Queenslander, and by this time I was like a sardine- squashed by other supporters, all who turned out to be from Queensland! This was our first real glimpse of Kirsty and her husband Jim Clark (of Netscape fame).
I can’t tell you how relieved and elated she was. It was written over her face, and her crew and the support team went wild. The feeling was contagious.
This was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I highly recommend adding to your bucket list!