8 things you need to know about the 2016 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

Jessica Watson
Posted December 8 2016

Photo: Andrea Francolini

As Christmas rapidly approaches, the sailing community is also counting down the sleeps before Australia’s most iconic offshore race—the Rolex Sydney to Hobart. With the race in its 72nd edition, there’s plenty of things that remain consistent year after year: the media headlines will warn of wild weather; the cameras will be pointed in the direction of Wild Oats as the fleet leaves the harbour; and Hobart pub Customs House will open for a marathon four days, serving hundreds of bottles of rum to thirsty sailors. But here—in no particular order—are a few unique things you need to know about this year’s race;

1. Adrienne Cahalan sailing for her 25-year medallion

Well‑known sailor and navigator Adrienne Cahalan will this year be setting off on her 25th Hobart, a feat that will see her receive the prestigious 25-year medallion, becoming the first female to do so. She will navigate the TP52 Ragamuffin, a boat skippered by Brenton Fischer, grandson of the famous Syd Fischer.

You can read about how Adrienne likes prepares for the big race here.

2. Super-maxi CQS described as the dark horse

CQS, a super-maxi owned by Scandinavian Ludde Ingvall, is being described as the dark horse of this year’s race. Since the boat won the 2004 edition of the race (then called Nicorette) it has been radically redesigned with a new bowsprit, a longer reverse curve bow and a hydrofoil that works in sync with its canting keel. CQS is a contender that promises to keep the pointy end of the fleet on its toes.

3. Close competition among the nine TP52s entered

Some of the closest racing plays out in the middle of the fleet, and this year that competition is shaping up to be particularly tough with nine TP52s entered. As the TPs are designed for speed rather than strength, the crews will have their work cut out just nursing their boats to the finish line if conditions turn nasty. Chinese Whisper, Ichi Ban and last year’s overall race winner Balance are all tipped to do well.

4. Wild Oats XI back again with Bob’s grandson joining the crew

Okay, maybe this one doesn’t need to be listed. Of course, 8-time (line honours) winner Wild Oats will be back again. In preparation for this year’s race, Wild Oats XI has undone major work giving her a new bow, allowing for the removal of the boat’s retractable horizontal wing and saving 300kg in weight. After the passing of Bob Oatley AO, his grandson Daniel, a merchant sailor, will fittingly be joining the crew.

5. Winning Comanche crew jump ship to join Loyal

With last year’s line honours winner Comanche choosing not to return and defend her title, a number of the winning crew members are reported to instead be joining Anthony Bell’s Perpetual Loyal which will again be raising funds for children’s charities.

6. Sean Langman enters the smallest, oldest yacht

Sean Langman is better known for his high speed sailing on maxis, skiffs and most recently a foiling GC32, but he’ll be entering the fleet’s smallest, oldest and mostly likely slowest yacht. Wooden Maluka is 84 years old and just 30ft long, but she’s reportedly been tuned up and fitted with performance sails.

7. 12 international entries join the fleet

This year’s fleet will include 12 international entries from as far afield as Germany, Sweden, Russia and Korea. The Chinese entry UBOX is skippered by Charles Caudrelier who led Dongfeng Race Team to their third place finish in the 2015 Volvo Ocean Race, and is part of a push to develop offshore sailing in China.

8. 76ft luxury yacht Charlotte promises a civilised ride to Hobart

76ft CNB Charlotte is without a doubt the most comfortable boat in the fleet. Kitted out with all the luxuries you’d expect on a small superyacht, the elegant boat will give her crew a very civilised ride to Hobart—a world away from the damp, hard bunks crews will endure on-board the majority of contenders.  

4 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson


Write your reply...
Mike McKiernan
Posted December 8 2016
Apologies, Andrea. We've fixed this up for you, and included a link to your Facebook page!
3 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Mike McKiernan
Posted December 8 2016
please credit the picture with my name since you did not even ask permission to use it. thanks
1 person found this helpful. Do you?Thank Andrea
Mike McKiernan
Posted December 8 2016
Hey Captain Cray! The official website of the race has a tracker system which you can keep an eye on here:


Better yet, I know the team behind Boatbook Sailing Log app are working on having a few yachts use the app during the race, which means you can not only follow their course, but also see photos that they share at various stages of the journey.
1 person found this helpful. Do you?Thank Mike McKiernan
Philip Brown
Posted December 12 2016

Jessica -Your readers should know about Nigel Stoke's "Fidelis" 60 footer which is entered in this year's race. Fidelis won line honours in 1966 and she will be the first boat to compete in the Sydney Hobart Race 50 years after wining. That is a fantastic challenge being taken up by Nigel and his well drilled and practised crew. Give them some air space too please and look out for Fidelis on the tracker. She is a downwind flyer of the Classic boat fleet.
Was this helpful?Thank Philip Brown
Captain Crayfish
Posted December 8 2016
Thanks for the infoJess.

Will there going to be a Tracker site that we can watch the race from afar?
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