Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
This year will mark the 70th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, in which intrepid sailors from around the globe test their mettle on notoriously rocky seas racing from Sydney, Australia to Hobart, Tasmania. The Sydney Hobart Yacht race is considered one of the most difficult, challenging, and important yacht races in the world, attracting racing yachts from around the world to the 1170 km course. The race is named for its starting and finishing ports –participants set out from Sydney, New South Wales; the race finishes in Hobart, Tasmania, and begins on Boxing Day. Major organizers are the Cruising Yacht Club Of Australia, and the Royal Yacht Club Of Tasmania.
Tuning in for the beginning on Boxing Day has become a national tradition, effectively bringing the nation to a standstill. Many of the participating yachts are so-called “maxi yachts” –at least 21 meters long; and typically high winds and seas make for significant challenges for participating yachts and yachtsmen. So challenging are conditions during the race that it is not unusual for a significant percentage of participants to be unable to finish –the race is a true test of the mettle of both the sailors and their vessels and equipment.
Rolex’s partnership with the race began in 2002, and is based on similarities in spirit.
The brand has a history of supporting competitions that demand attributes reflective of its raison d’être: bravery, adventure, determination, discovery. These are the same principles that informed Rolex’s designs when, in 1926, the manufacture debuted the world’s first waterproof watch, the Oyster, then backed up its innovation by strapping it to the wrist of a champion swimmer before she swam the English Channel. And in 1960, when a Rolex traveled to the bottom of the ocean at Challenger Deep. This race is another example of the brand championing competition that challenges human endeavour.
The race attracts many repeat entrants, professional and amateur, who captain a diverse field ranging from 30- to 100-foot vessels. Awaiting them are southerlys bringing Antarctic winds and choppy waters. But many view the race as a rite of passage, and are drawn back by the desire to again test their limits and relive the adventure.
It’s that spirit Rolex admire–and shares, in its participation in one of the most intensely competitive, high-performance oriented yachting events in the world.