The Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race came to its conclusion on January 1st at the Royal club of Tasmania where the official prize giving took place.
The 94-boat fleet featured five 100-foot maxis, three Volvo 70s, seven former race winners and a seriously competitive line-up across the fleet. Several newly launched boats came to the race as 'dark horses', having not yet competed or only in relatively few races, and with veteran crew who had the experience to make them a threat.
The iconic 628-nautical mile offshore race is on the bucket list of offshore sailors worldwide, and this year's race was no exception as it included 22 international entries from Germany, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Cyprus.
By the Boxing Day race start on 26 December, a low pressure system had moved out to sea leaving behind picture perfect conditions: a 15-18 knot south-easterly, sunshine and blue skies. The Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge provided a stunning backdrop to an extraordinary start venue, with hundreds of thousands of spectators watching from shore, as well as live television and streaming web coverage watched by an impressive TV and on-line audience worldwide.
With their remarkable power and speed, the 100-foot maxis never fail to impress. This year's race featured five: six-time Rolex Sydney Hobart line honours and two time overall winner Bob Oatley's Wild Oats XI; Perpetual Loyal, Zerfiro 100 from Cyprus, the newly modified Rambler 100and Ragamuffin 100 with skipper, Australian yachting icon, Syd Fischer – who competed in his 46th Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
In what shaped up to be one of the most exciting Sydney to Hobart Yacht Races on record, Wild Oats XI took out line honours, with Perpetual Loyal and Ragamuffin close behind over the line.
Fischer and his team, headed by sailing master David Witt, looked at one stage capable of pulling off a major upset by beating the more favoured Wild Oats XI and Perpetual Loyal. But their luck ran out with the wind.
"Not much you can do about it. You have to play with what you've got," he said.
"This was a funny Hobart."
When asked whether he will be competing in the 70th edition of the Sydney to Hobart Race and his 46th Fischer replied "Yeah, I'll come back. Why not."
On 31 December, the final yachts trickled in with last yacht Namadgi, arriving just before 11pm AEDT. As they motored to their berth, they were cheered by tens of thousands of New Year's Eve revellers lining the shore – just in time for Hobart's brilliant fireworks display. From a total of 94 race starters, 84 yachts finished the race, and despite some of the most challenging conditions in recent years, only ten yachts retired, a testament to the depth of experience and skill of the 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet.