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article image2011 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race Final Preparations Special

By Val Williamson     Dec 19, 2011 in Sports
Sydney - These past weeks has seen plenty of traffic into the Sydney headquarters of the annual Christmas contest, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia at Rushcutters Bay, in preparation for the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
The Southern hemisphere is warming up in relation to the sailing calendar as well as the onset of summer. The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) have announced the final registered runners for the sixty-seventh Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. These have commenced engaging with each other in a programme of preliminary trials, providing a daily graceful spectacle for millions of tourists around Sydney Harbour and along Sydney’s Pacific coast.
Preparations for Rolex Sydney to Hobart Christmas yacht race at the jetties of the CYCA
Preparations for Rolex Sydney to Hobart Christmas yacht race at the jetties of the CYCA
As usual, the final number of one hundred boats qualified and registered for the race has dwindled down in ones and twos, until the final list looks to be 88. Providing, that is, that Laura Roper’s Natelle Two makes it in to the starting port on time following a stormy journey from home-port Hobart, including today’s stop-off at Eden for repairs and replacements, the official race website reports today.
Of the three female skippers in this year’s race, Roper is set on competing for the first time, but having encountered heavy weather on the way, her New Zealand yacht, built in 1975, seems to be having difficulty even getting to Sydney in time for a few practice runs. This will be the Natelle Two’s thirteenth Sydney to Hobart race, but it has not competed in the event since 1994, when Laura was a child.
Female crew members tackling the Christmas Day final preparations before reaching the start line
Female crew members tackling the Christmas Day final preparations before reaching the start line
2010 class winner Jazz forging ahead through typical Sydney to Hobart seas
2010 class winner Jazz forging ahead through typical Sydney to Hobart seas
Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi with permission
The final runners include the very young crew of the Ella Baché Another Challenge. Their average age is 19, but nobody is underestimating the yachtsmanship of their leader, Young Australian of the Year, Jessica Watson. Watson sailed into Sydney Harbour early last year as a national hero, having successfully completed her quest to sail around the world single-handed at the age of 16, as ABC TV reports.
Even such an experienced sailor as Watson, however, would not have been allowed to enter last year’s Rolex Sydney to Hobart, purely on age grounds. Regulations for the race were considerably tightened in the 1990s after fatal tragedies during the race reminded that this event is run in dangerous seas with unpredictable and often heavy weather.
More about Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, Jessica watson, Laura Roper
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