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Boxing Day Tradition Down Under

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Assa Abloy Volvo 60 on its way up the Derwent River on its way to victory

There are many things that are great about Boxing Day down under.

It’s the day after Christmas so there is always lots of food left over, it’s a public holiday, if you didn’t drink enough on Christmas Day then you still have another day of enjoying your choice of alcohol, those who like shopping can enjoy the Boxing Day sales and oh, the Boxing Day Cricket Test starts .
While these are all good, the best and most interesting thing to happen on Boxing Day is the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

Considered one of the toughest yacht races in the world, this annual event  starting in Sydney on Boxing Day and finishing in Hobart, Tasmania. The race distance is approximately 630 nautical miles (1,170 km). 

The event was first run in 1945 and had nine starters. The Yacht Rani, was the winner, taking 6 days, 14 hours and 22 minutes.

The race records for the fastest (elapsed) time have dropped over the years but it was the race record that was set by Kialoa in 1975, of 2 days 14 hours 36 minutes and 56 seconds, that stood for 21 years.

It was broken by the German yacht Morning Glory in 1996, and then only by a dramatic 29 minutes.

I was living in Tasmania at the time and stayed up to see Morning Glory cross the finish line. As it was in the early hours of a Saturday morning all of the people from the pubs along the Hobart waterfront came out to welcome Morning Glory into the docks.

In 1999 Denmark’s Nokia sailed the course in 1 day, 19 hours, 48 minutes and 2 seconds, a record which stood until 2005 when Wild Oats XI  won line and handicap honours in 1 day 18 hours 40 minutes 10 seconds.

In 2001 the Volvo Ocean Yachts joined in on the Sydney to Hobart race as part of one of their race legs. That year was my first year of covering the event as a Photographer. After many years of watching it on TV and then watching the boats come up the river it was great to get out on the water and see the boats come in.

That year it was Swedish Yacht Assa Abloy that crossed the line first. Below is a selection of my images captured during its run to the finish line.

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The Sydney to Hobart Trophy

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In 2002 I was again back in Tasmania for Christmas and covered the finish of the race.
Below are image from the race finish where Alfa Romeo crossed the line first.

Alfa Romeo - Line Honours Winner - 2003 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
Alfa Romeo 01

I haven’t had a chance to go back and photograph the event again in recent years.

But when the race start today at lunch time I will be watching the start of the race and enjoying watching one of the best ocean races in the world.


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