Record holder Wild Oats XI, owned by the Oatley family and skippered by Mark Richards, leads an intimidating array of boats, having never missed the race since launching in 2005.
Last year’s overall winner, Paul Clitheroe’s Balance, also returns. There are a dozen international entries, including the first Korean entry in the history of the race, past winners, first timers, those about to break records and more.
Four super maxis, inclusive of Scallywag from Hong Kong, Perpetual LOYAL, 2000 line honours winner Ludde Ingvall, with his yet to be named super maxi, three V70’s – Black Jack, Giacomo (NZL) and Maserati, joined by an 80 footer (Beau Geste, HKG), a 66 footer (Alive) and a 62 footer (Chinese Whisper) will have a crack at line and overall honours.
Trying to pick an overall winner in this fleet, it would be easiest to close your eyes and point. The weather, a well maintained boat, slippery crew work, the right tactics and a bit of luck all play their part.
It may be one of the big boats, an international boat such as Germany’s Varuna VI, or one like Paul Clitheroe’s TP52. There are nine TP52s entered, along with a trio of Cookson 50s, one of which won in 2013.
Joining Balance (also won as Quest in 2008) from past overall winners are: Victoire (2013); Wild Oats XI (2005 and 2012) Primitive Cool (2010 as Secret Mens Business); Two True (2009); Love & War *(1974, 1978 and 2006); *The Banshee (1995 as Terra Firma) and China Easyway (co-won as She’s Apples II in 1991) – boats from 100 feet down to 40 feet.
Smaller boats have also won and this time it could be a Sydney 38, such as TSA Management and Calibre, or the oldest boat in the fleet, Maluka of Kermandie, measuring just on 30 feet.
“It’s exciting to see a highly competitive fleet of 100 entries. While many are returning, the level of interest has increased with 12 internationals campaigning boats from China, UK, Sweden, Korea, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and the USA,” CYCA Commodore, John Markos commented today.
“Four super maxis, six other grand prix big boats and an incredibly strong field trying to win the Tattersall’s Cup, including some vintage yachts – I am sure we have an exhilarating race on our hands,” he ended.
Records will be created and history made in 2016 too. Adrienne Cahalan will become the first female to mark the 25 Hobarts milestone when she heads south on Ragamuffin.
Bruce and Drew Taylor from Victoria will join the fathers and sons who have made 25 races, but they will be the first father and son to sail all 25 together – all on ‘Chutzpahs’ owned by Bruce (who sails his 36th this year).
David and Bradshaw Kellett also join the ‘25 fathers and sons’. David has amassed 42, the last 11 leading the Radio Relay Vessel team that monitors the fleet. Bradshaw, who is 40, misses out being the youngest to achieve 25 races by three weeks, but he will be the youngest to attain 25 successive Sydney Hobarts.
The Boxing Day start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be broadcast live on the Seven Network throughout Australia.