The 73rd edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart race is drawing to a close as the remaining yachts are currently sailing down the coast of Tasmania and making their final approaches to Hobart. For the biggest yachts in the fleet however — the 100-ft supermaxis that have made the event a sensation with throngs of Australian and international spectators — their race has been over for days, as they reached Hobart in record time thanks to a nuking nor’easter. It took the Oatley family’s R/P 100 Wild Oats XI just 1 day, 8 hours and 48 minutes to sail the 628-mile course this year, nearly five hours quicker than Perpetual Loyal’s record-setting run from last year’s race. While Oats crossed the line first after a protracted back-and-forth battle with her main rival, LDV Comanche, she was eventually stripped of her line honors victory — and the course record — after losing a protest to Comanche. The new official course record, held by Jim Cooney’s VPLP-designed LDV Comanche, sits at 1 day, 9 hours, 15 minutes.
While all eyes were focused on the 100-footers that were on record pace, and the pending protest against Wild Oats XI, it was once again a TP52 that came in and walked off with the overall victory and the prestigious Tattersall Cup that comes along with it. Longtime contender and prominent Australian sailor Matt Allen and his Ichi Ban team sailed Allen’s brand-new Botin-designed TP52 to a victory of just 20 minutes over Paul Clitheroe and Bob Steel’s Farr-designed TP52 Quest, which won this race overall in both 2008 and 2015. Crossing the line in just 1 day, 19 hours and 10 minutes, the ‘little’ 52-footer also set a course record as the quickest ‘conventionally ballasted’ yacht in race history, an incredible feat. Rounding out the podium for overall honors is Tony Kirby’s Ker 46 Patrice.
While it was a trio of 50-odd-foot downwind flyers that filled out the podium for overall honors, we’re ultra-stoked to see David and Peter Askew’s Volvo 70 Wizard come home in fourth place overall on IRC and claim victory in the premiere IRC Division 0. Wizard was formerly named Giacomo and won last year’s Sydney Hobart race overall.
When she was new, she was known as Groupama 4 and was the winner of the 2011-’12 Volvo Ocean Race in the last edition that was sailed in Volvo 70s. The venerable 70-ft canting-keel yacht will now be shipped to the States where she will campaign all the major races. StFYC member Matt Brooks’ classic 1930 S&S yawl Dorade sailed to a second-place finish in IRC Division 4, navigating the course in an incredible 3 days, 6 hours, 37 minutes.