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Monday, May 20, 2024

Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Underway

Rolex Sydney Hobart/Design: John Regula

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has returned after being canceled last year due to the pandemic.

This year’s race began on Sunday with 88 boats but has already seen dozens withdraw because of “treacherous conditions.” Dubbed ocean racing’s “Everest,” the race dates back to 1945 and is so dangerous that a storm killed six people and sank five boats in the 1998 event.

The 628-mile race, which introduced a two-handed division this year, ends on Jan. 1.

  • For inexperienced sailors who want to join, they can usually buy their way in to help offset costs of keeping the boats working properly.
  • To sail on Steve Capell’s boat Eve in 2019, there was reportedly a discounted group fee of $34,000.

There is no cash prize, but winners do receive a trophy and a Rolex — the brand has been the race’s presenting sponsor since 2002. Boats range from 30 to 100 feet, with between six and 24 crew members.

The Race’s Audience

More than 400,000 spectators reportedly attend the event. Some luxury yachts offer a front-row seat to the race. For example, Silver Spirit welcomes 40 guests for a 3.5 hour, $285 all-inclusive cruise.

The Seven Network signed a deal with the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in 2019 to broadcast the event until 2023. More than 1.5 million viewers tuned in in 2018.

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