The 73rd annual Sydney to Hobart yacht race kicked-off on Boxing Day 2017, with a fleet of 102 yachts entering and an excess of 1000 sailors involved. Over the years the iconic event has risen to become a flagship tradition in Australian summer sport.
The 628-nautical mile course is often referred to as the most punishing long ocean race in the world, in part, thanks to the dangerous conditions often experienced crossing the infamous Bass Strait, where the wind against the waves can whip up tremendous seas.
Competitors sail out through Sydney Heads and down the New South Wales Coast, through Bass Strait, down the East Coast of Tasmania, and finally up the Derwent River to the finish line in Battery Point, Hobart.
This race was one for the history books. It was already predicted to be a close one, particularly between maxis Wild Oats XI and Black Jack who had become stiff competition for one another, finishing neck-in-neck in past races.
This time it was maxi LDV Comanche that dominated the race, reaching the River Derwent a few minutes ahead of Wild Oats XI, who was trailing by about 20-nautical miles. Yet, due to Wild Oats XI’s light-weight design, the yacht managed to find more speed upriver and crossed the finish line first, 26 minutes and 34 seconds ahead of Comanche.
The crew of Wild Oats XI went on to celebrate their victory and record-breaking time, which proved to be four hours and forty minutes faster than the record set last year by perpetual LOYAL.