Sydney to Hobart yacht race — how to watch and what to look for – ABC News

Sydney to Hobart yacht race — how to watch and what to look for
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Since its beginning in 1945, the Sydney to Hobart yacht race has become one of the pinnacles for sailing competitors, with the event being a test of skill, teamwork, nautical engineering and tactics — with weather providing the wild card.
If you know what to look for, the race can be an enjoyable experience.
Here are some tips for getting the best out of it.
About 111 boats ranging from the supermaxis (longer than 20 metres) to smaller 30-footers (9 metres) will be ready to go at 1pm AEDT Boxing Day on Sydney Harbour.
The start is arguably one of the greatest spectacles in modern sport.
Once the starting cannon is fired, all teams will be gunning for The Heads and into the open water of the South Pacific, with competitors surrounded by all manner of craft.
Watch as boats come perilously close to the supermaxis.
The fleet then begins to make its way down the east coast of Australia to Hobart, a distance of approximately 630 nautical miles (1,166 kilometres).
It isn't money. Yes, you read that correctly — there is no prize money for the winners. 
Instead, they race for trophies in a number of categories, the main events for casual observers being Line Honours and Overall.
The Iron Pot has been greeting sailors to the River Derwent for almost 190 years, and this small, craggy island was once home to 15 people.
The first yacht across the line wins the JH Illingworth Trophy, but the overall winner on handicap wins the Tattersalls Cup.
The overall victory is considered the major prize for sailors and a testament to skill and tactics.
Most of the time, handicap honours are won by a smaller, slower boat, which outdoes its larger opposition when time is adjusted for size and other factors.
The reigning overall winner is Ichi Ban. It finished in 4 days, 10 hours, and 17 minutes.
This was after a protest against Celestial was upheld. Celestial was handed a 40-minute time penalty for not manning their radio for a 90-minute period, during which officials were trying to contact the team.
The reigning line honours winner is Black Jack, winning in two days, 12 hours, and 37 minutes in 2021. 
Race sponsor Rolex says the race can be watched on the Seven Network. 
7Mate will broadcast the start of the race live around Australia. Their coverage starts at 12:30pm (AEDT).
ABC TV will also provide updates throughout the event.
For those who can't watch the live broadcast of the start of the race on their TV, Seven will have a stream of the race.
You can also watch vision from the event on the Sydney to Hobart yacht race website.
If you are in Sydney and on the water, spectators who wish to watch the start but not follow the fleet are advised to stick to the "western side of the harbour".
Good vantage points for spectator boats include "Taylors Bay, Chowder Bay, Obelisk Bay and North Head on the west and Rose Bay, Watsons Bay, Camp Cove and South Head to the east".
According to organisers, the harbour will be "very crowded and traffic can be chaotic, so stay alert, follow the advice of race officials and remember to keep well clear of the exclusion zone between 12pm and 2pm".
You can follow the race on an online tracker, which shows the positions of yachts as they move south.
The locations of yachts are transmitted by a GPS device on each vessel. 
As the race goes on, you can see the course charted by crews — unless of course the boat's GPS device gets switched off, rendering it invisible to spectators and other competitors — an accusation that was levelled at Wild Oats XI in 2018 by the owner of Black Jack.
The weather forecast is for northerly winds in the harbour for Monday's start, which will favour the bigger boats. They will push hard to get out of the harbour.
Barring disaster, the Line Honours winner will almost certainly be one of the four super maxis.
LawConnect (formerly Perpetual LOYAL, formerly Investec LOYAL, formerly InfoTrack) set a new record in 2016 when it crossed the line in one day, 13 hours, 31 minutes and 12 seconds, a time since bettered by Comanche the next year.
Black Jack (Formerly Alfa Romeo II) has a strong Sydney to Hobart history and is the reigning Line Honours champion. It's had a strong 2022 already, taking line, record, and overall wins in the Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race. Black Jack has a strong rivalry with Wild Oats XI as it was the first boat to break Wild Oats' race record in 2009.
Andoo Comanche is the hot favourite for line honours this year. It has already defeated Black Jack in the Sydney to Gold Coast race this year and has won the inaugural Tollgate Islands race. It beat Wild Oats for line honours in 2017, setting a race record in the process, but only after a controversial protest
Hamilton Island Wild Oats XI is the most famous boat in the race but has not participated since 2019 due to COVID. Veteran skipper Mark Richards will once again be at the helm and will be hoping to improve on the 3rd place finish in 2019. 
The favourites for the handicap trophy are Alive, URM Group, Moneypenny and Stefan Racing, with last year's winner, Ichi Ban, not participating.
This year there is also a number of crews made up of father-daughter or father-son teams.
The yacht race is taken seriously for good reason — people have died when the weather has turned bad.
In 1998, six sailors died, five yachts sank, more than 60 yachts retired and 55 sailors had to be rescued by helicopter.
In 2015, a squall hit the fleet off the News South Wales coast, ending the race for 29 competitors.
The lines honours winner is likely to come in around 48 hours after the start, but this is very much dependent on the weather —  especially in the 22.2-kilometre final stretch up the Derwent River.
This is when the wind can drop away and it becomes an agonisingly slow crawl, with every trick in the book pulled out to speed the progress up the glassy waterway.
In 2021, Black Jack crossed the line at 1:37am on December 29, followed by LawConnect at 4:11am and SHK Scallywag about 20 minutes after that.
In 2019, Comanche came in at a more reasonable time of 7:30am on December 28, with InfoTrack about 45 minutes later.
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