December 10, 2023 - January 20, 2024: Issue 609


Competitive fleet set for 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race: 10 local boats taking part this year from RPAYC, MYC, MHYC

photo: Start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2022.Credit: Carlo Borlenghi | Rolex

A diverse fleet, including multiple former winners, will take on the 628 nautical mile Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on Boxing Day. One hundred and thirteen boats are entered for the 78th running of Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s famous race, which begins on Sydney Harbour at 1 PM on Tuesday 26 December.

A diverse fleet, including multiple former winners, will take on the 628 nautical mile Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on Boxing Day.

One hundred and thirteen boats are entered for the 78th running of Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s (CYCA) famous race, which begins on Sydney Harbour at 1 PM on Tuesday 26 December.

There are 10 international entrants: from New Zealand (Allegresse, Caro and Niksen), Hong Kong (Antipodes and SHK Scallywag), New Caledonia (Eye Candy), USA (Lenny), France (Teasing Machine), Germany (Rockall 8), and Ireland (Cinnamon Girl). Australia is represented across all six states, with New South Wales home to 60 entries, while Queensland fields 18, Victoria 15, Tasmania 7, Western Australia 2, and South Australia 1.

Four 100-foot maxis will likely vie for Line Honours this year – four-time winner Andoo Comanche which took Line Honours in 2022 and holds the race record of 1 day, 9 hours, 15 minutes, and 24 seconds as LDV Comanche for Jim Cooney and Samantha Grant (2017), Law Connect, which placed second last year and won the John H Illingworth Challenge Cup as first across the line back in 2016 as Perpetual LOYAL, SHK Scallywag, and Wild Thing 100, the recently modified Botin 80 Stefan Racing.

On his competition, Andoo Comanche skipper John Winning Jr. said, “Scallywag [didn’t race last year] is an unknown quantity, but I believe Witty [David Witt] has the boat in the best shape ever. Law Connect broke the record in 2016 [as Perpetual LOYAL] so they have a phenomenal boat.”

“Grant Wharington’s Wild Thing is another unknown. Wharo is working around the clock to get the boat finished. He is a determine man so I’m sure he will have the boat ready to go.”

Sam Haynes and the crew of his TP52 Celestial are back to defend the coveted Tattersall Cup awarded in 2022 as Overall winner under IRC on corrected time.

On whether he can win the race again or not, Haynes said “TP52s seem to fit the race, then you need skilled sailors with the personalities to match. You need confidence too and I’m going to put my best foot forward”.

The competition for the major prize will be hotly contested this year with eight mini maxis and nine TP52s and other 52-foot racers as well as a range of smaller boats across all divisions, including two-handed, that could be up for the challenge if conditions favour them. 

Five other past Overall winners are racing this year:

Alive (2018)

Bumblebee V (2001)

Love & War (1974, 1978, 2006), one of only three yachts to have won Overall on three separate occasions (Freya, Love & War, and Ichi Ban)

Christina, winner of the 1946 Sydney Hobart

Wild Oats/Wild Rose, won in 1993 and 2014 respectively

Twenty Two-Handed entries are competing. Rupert Henry returns as the 2022 Two-Handed Division winner with his Lombard 34 Mistral.

Henry describes sailing Hobart two-handed, “We only manage around 4 hours max of sleep each. We know when each other needs to crash so we do it then.”

“I don’t prefer two-handed sailing, but I’m just enjoying trying to reach my full potential with just two people racing it.” 

Jules Hall, who won the inaugural Two-Handed Division in 2021 with Jan Scholten on Disko Trooper_Contender Sailcloth, will be campaigning the J/99 fully-crewed this year and has put together a strong team comprised of CYCA’s Youth Sailing Academy sailors – a mix of both experienced and first-timers. 

Once again, there will be a large number of women sailors competing.

Lisa Callaghan, who owns the Sydney 38 Mondo with Stephen Teudt, returns to the race in 2023 with unfinished business after retiring Mondo last year with a broken gooseneck.

Of the 113 entrants, seven were only built this year and 33 were constructed before 2000. The oldest entrant is Ena Ladd’s Christina, built in 1932. She is returning after 77 years having done just the one race in 1946.

One of the older boats, Robert Williams’ 1960-built sloop Sylph VI, makes a return to the Sydney Hobart for the first time in 51 years after having competed five times back in the 1960s and early ‘70s. 

Robert Williams owner of Sylph VI with his cat Oliver. Photo: Andrea Francollini

From the four 100-foot maxis through to the three 30-footers - Currawong, Niksen and Gun Runner, the fleet will take the line on Boxing Day to add another chapter to the race’s rich history. They will join the 6,407 boats that have competed since 1945 when nine boats took on the challenge to race to Hobart from Sydney Harbour. 

CYCA Commodore, Arthur Lane, took the opportunity to thank Rolex, Race Finishing Partner the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania and the event’s many partners for their continued support.

The Boxing Day start of the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be broadcast live on the Seven Network throughout Australia and live-and-on-demand on the 7Plus app. 

Internationally, the race will be available through YouTube on CYCATV or Rolex Sydney Hobart Facebook. 

For the full list of entries and more information about the race, visit  

Local boats in the 2023 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race: RPAYC, mYC, mHYC

RPAYC yachts in 2023 Sydney to Hobart:

XS Moment BNMH; Ray Hudson

Ray Hudson’s XS Moment BNMH, an XP44, debuted in the 2017 Rolex Sydney Hobart and is a regular competitor in both their home Club's Blue Water Series at The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, as well as the CYCA’s Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore.  The team finished 8th in IRC Division 1 in this year's Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race and will compete in the Cabbage Tree Island Race in the lead up to the Great Race on Boxing Day. 

Wings; Ian Edwards

Ian Edwards heads into the Rolex Sydney Hobart with over 3000mn already sailed so far this year.  The yacht competed in the 2023 Transpac race as one of only two Australian entries, finishing 5th in Division 7.  The Dehler 46 was first launched 2017 and over the year's owners Lindy and Ian Edwards have competed in multiple CYCA events, including the Rolex Sydney Hobart, PONANT Sydney Noumea and Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Races. 

Sticky; Richard Harris

Richard Harris' Cookson 50 Sticky heads into the Hobart in great form, having finished third on IRC in the Flinders Islet Race this year and currently sits 4th overall in the Audi Centre Sydney Bluewater Pointscore.  Harris, on his previous Sticky, competed in the Ponant Sydney Noumea Yacht Race in 2018, finishing second in IRC Division 2.  This will be Richard's third Rolex Sydney Hobart. 

Pretty Woman; Richard Hudson

Richard Hudson leads his Farr 45 Pretty Woman’s fifth tilt at the Rolex Sydney Hobart.  As CYCA’s 2023 Ocean Veteran of the Year, Richard and his crew racked up some impressive results in 2022, claiming the PHS Corinthian Division in last year’s race and 3rd under PHS Corinthian in the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast.  Hudson again blends experience with younger sailors from his home Club, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, allowing many young sailors to experience offshore racing at its toughest. 

Lifetime achievement award: Richard Hudson of RPAYC:  In the Rolex Sydney Hobart Divisional winner was Pretty Woman - Corinthian PHS. Richard Hudson steered his Farr 45, Pretty Woman, to Corinthian PHS honours in the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. 

Luna Blue; John Turnbull, David Watson, Steve Kellaway

Luna Blue will return for its second Rolex Sydney Hobart under the leadership of owners John Turnbull, David Watson and Steve Kellaway.  The syndicate from the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club will be strong contenders amongst their division, having demonstrated the ability to win when they claimed the RPAYC Bluewater Championship in 2013/14 and were also runners up the following season.  So far this season the team has only raced in the Flinders Islet Race, placing 10th in PHS Division 2. 

Insomnia; Marcus Grimes

Based in Pittwater, Marcus Grimes J/V 42 is immersed in Club racing at Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club whilst regularly competing in offshore events such as the Pittwater to Paradise and Rolex Sydney Hobart.  Purchased ahead of the 2019 75th Rolex Sydney Hobart, the teams top result came last year, finishing 10th in IRC Division 2.

Manly Yacht Club:

Enigma; Jason Bond

Jason Bond bought Enigma in 2008 and sails out of Manly Yacht Club, where he is a past Commodore.  This will be the yacht’s first Hobart since 2019, where it finished 19th in its division.  A regular in the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore, the crew won the 2018 Flinders Islet Race Division 2 on PHS.

Middle Harbor Yacht Club:

Flying Cloud; David Myers

Flying Cloud has been owned by David Myers since 2020.  She took part in the 2021 Blue Water Point Score series and the 2021 and 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart races, skippered by George Martin.  In the 2021 race she was 28th across the line.  In 2022 she finished in just over four days, despite breaking her boom in two shortly after entering the Bass Strait.  The crew aims to improve on their 2021 result and to cross the line ahead of all other Beneteau First 40s entered the race.

Flying Fish Arctos; Flying Fish Online

A training vessel for both international competitors and locals, this will be Flying Fish Arctos' 17th appearance in the Sydney Hobart.  Originally designed to race around the world, the yacht is one of the flagship vessels in the Flying Fish offshore training fleet.  The yacht should be well placed as a contender in the PHS division, having previously posted a flurry of podium places in previous editions. 

Georgia Express; Owner: Sebastian Hultin, Navigator: Andrew Forbes

Sebastian Hultin purchased the Mumm 36 in April this year and will be heading south with several Hobart first timers.  Andrew Forbes, the previous owner of Georgia Express will join the crew as navigator and tactician, bringing a wealth of knowledge about the yacht but also extensive experience from his previous Rolex Sydney Hobart and Rolex Fastnet races.  Last season, the crew onboard their previous yacht, had some solid results, winning the CYCA’s Short Ocean Pointscore PHS division as well as the G Carter Trophy and Chaos Cup.