The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race has been one of the biggest sporting events in Australia for the last 65 years or so. It starts in Sydney at 1:00pm on December 26th, Boxing Day of each year and finishes in Hobart. It is 628 nautical miles of frustration, fear, exhilaration, excitement and more.
The first year hubby come home to Australia with me was 1998. The worst year ever in the history of the race. 6 lives were lost in a storm that decimated the fleet. When Sayonnara sailed in to Hobart as the line honours winner the celebration was muted. There was no champagne etc to greet the crews. It was more relief that they had made it. There was a minute of silence for those who did not.
2006 was the next time we were home over Christmas. And the first few yachts came in around 3am. Dad and I tried to get hubby out of bed to watch the finish, but it was no go.
This year... We were down at the Taste of Tasmania having dinner. According to the official website and the news reports the first boat, Wild Oats, was not expected until 1:00am. Hubby was not sure he could stay up that long. After dinner we were walking back to the car, and there was an announcement over the loud speakers at the dock, that Wild Oats had entered the Derwent River and was expected to cross the finish line at 830pm.
With only 30 mins until the expected finish we decided to wait it out. We walked along to the CSIRO pier with about 50+ other people. The CSIRO pier is right at the finish line. First we saw the news helicopters, then we saw the flotilla of boats start to move and then hubby saw the top of the mainsail and finally we could see Wild Oats. She was still a fair way away. But come up the river fairly quickly and in no time she was crossing the finish line to cheers from the crowd, the canon firing and the horns of every single boat out on the river.
We then walked back round to Constitution dock where all the media were waiting and watched them do their lap of honour. it was not as crowded as we expected. We guess that the earlier than expected arrived (830pm as opposed to 100am) caught quite a few people unaware.