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Rolex Sydney Hobart Runs Down the Coast of Australia

The 77th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart yacht race was a thriller from start to finish. About 110 boats took the start on December 26, including four 100-ft supermaxis. There was much pre-race speculation about the battle for line honors, handicap honors, and a potential course record. As well as a solid fleet of the usual suspects, this year’s Sydney Hobart included a doublehanded fleet for just the second time. It’s the first time that the typically smaller doublehanded entries have been eligible to win the Tattersall Cup for overall handicap honors.

Supermaxi Quartet

Departing Sydney Harbour on a typical glamour day under bright, sunny skies and a stiff northeasterly, the fleet wasted no time in creating the type of drama for which it has become famous. After a tacking duel that involved no shortage of protest flags, penalty turns, and colorful language, the legendary supermaxi Hamilton Island Wild Oats rounded the top mark first to begin the long run down the east coast of Australia toward Tasmania.

Once offshore, John Winning Jr.’s VPLP 100 Andoo Comanche and Christian Beck’s Juan K 100 LawConnect wasted no time in blowing past the two R/P 100s Hamilton Island Wild Oats and Black Jack. Sailing down the coast at speeds approaching 30 knots, Andoo Comanche flirted with her own record pace from 2017 in the early stages of the race, but in the end finished some 2 hours and 40 minutes behind the record with an elapsed time of 1 day, 11 hours, 56 minutes. LawConnect finished some 25 minutes astern. Peter Harburg’s Black Jack came in another 15 minutes later. Both Andoo Comanche and LawConnect finished with protest flags flying.

Rolex Sydney Hobart press conference
Bay Area sailor Chris ‘Lew’ Lewis (second from left) navigated Christian Beck’s Juan K 100 LawConnect (formerly Infotrack, Loyal, Rambler 100, Speedboat) to a second-place finish on line honors behind Andoo Comanche. While the boat he navigated did not win the race, Lew dominated the press conference with the best shirt in recent memory and ignited a Ricky Bobby fever that allegedly spread through the Hobart fleet faster than a COVID virus.
© 2022 Carlo Borlenghi / Rolex

While the 100-ft supermaxis typically dominate the media’s coverage of the race, they rarely win the Tattersall Cup. This year would be no different. With a building northerly that would be replaced by a typical southerly buster, the winning boats would likely be those that were just fast enough to make the run to Tasmania before turning the corner and romping along Storm Bay and up the River Derwent on the new southerly breeze. As is often the case in offshore yacht racing, the right horse for the course would prove to be the TP52, which would capture the top five spots in the overall rankings under IRC.

TP52 Fleet

Celestial aerial
Sam Haynes’ Celestial sailed to an overall victory in the 77th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart. None other than KKMI in Point Richmond applied the beautiful blue paint job back in 2013 when the boat was undergoing her transformation from Audi All4One to Beecom in the lead-up to the 2013 Transpac. The TP52 then went to Japan, then to Auckland, New Zealand, and then on to Australia.
© 2022 Andrea Francolini / Rolex

After many years of campaigning for the Sydney Hobart, Sam Haynes and his crew on Celestial sailed into Hobart to claim a well-earned and popular overall victory. After they finished first last year then lost that win in the protest room, this year’s victory for Celestial is extra sweet. Second place goes to Matt Donald and Chris Townsend’s TP52 Gweilo. Maximillian Klink’s brand-new TP52 Caro rounded out the podium. Chris Sheehan’s Newport, RI-based TP52 Warrior Won claimed fourth overall with a largely American crew that included the Bay Area’s Hartwell Jordan. Craig Neil’s TP52 Quest would claim fifth place overall on IRC.

Warrior Won TP52
Chris Sheehan’s TP52 Warrior Won (originally the Pac52 BadPak) off the coast of Tasmania. Sailing with Bay Area legend Hartwell Jordan onboard, Sheehan’s Newport, RI-based TP52 placed fourth overall.
© 2022 Andrea Francolini / Rolex

Still on the Course

Although the handicap winners have largely been decided, many boats remain on the course. A handful of divisions are still up for grabs. While the TP52s and faster boats were able to turn the corner and finish in the southerly, everything slower than a TP52 had to beat into the southerly and was therefore relegated to a lower overall ranking. One of the pre-race favorites, Thomas Kneen’s UK-flagged JPK1180, which won the Fastnet Race and placed second in the Middle Sea Race, is currently leading IRC Division 3, though she’s hovering in the mid-20s on IRC overall.

Currently leading the doublehanded division is Lee Condell’s brand-new Jeanneau 3300 SunFast Racing, with former stand-up paddleboard world champion Lincoln Dews as co-skipper. Veteran skipper Ed Psaltis — who won the tragic 1998 edition — is racing in his 40th Hobart race and is currently leading IRC Division 4 on his Sydney 36 Midnight Rambler. For more details, make sure to check in with


  1. Susan Ruhne 1 year ago

    The Melborne to Hobart Race (Westcoaster) is also underway – and Maritimo11 – USA 16 (Former Swiftsure II) is currently 20 miles from the finish, headed for Line Honors win!

  2. Richard Jepsen 1 year ago

    US Sailing Board Members and Californians Stan Honey and Justin Shaffer were navigators on two of the 100′ super-maxis!

  3. Caryl 1 year ago

    Always interestin to read a different perspective from the local one. Thanks for a great writeup on the Sydney to Hobart.

  4. Jen Wilks 1 year ago

    Looking forward to seeing Ocean Crusaders J-Bird TP52 cross the finish line after suffering gear failure. She is the S2H first electric powered entry. They were forced to have a deisel on board. Will be great to hear their experience as they challenge the rule makers to embrace cleaner ocean technologies.

  5. John Sutton 1 year ago

    That rock formation is The Organ Pipes

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