The twelve Clipper Race teams departed the CYCA in Rushcutters Bay at 10:00 local time to take part in a pre-race parade of sail around Sydney Harbour before taking their place on the start line as part of the 94 strong fleet of 2013 RSHYR competitors.
The Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, (RSHYR) which doubles as Race 6 of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race officially starts at 0200 UTC (13:00 local time in Australia).
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, chairman and founder of the Clipper Race and the first ever person to sail solo, nonstop round the world, also participating as a navigator on Clipper 68, CV10, commented before the departure: “There’s a great atmosphere here this morning. We can do well in some of the tougher conditions that are predicted but, for me, to have all boats arrive safely in Hobart is my primary objective. To have done the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be an experience all our crews will cherish.”
Justin Taylor, the Clipper Race director, said the latest forecast indicates the Clipper 70s will be beating for the first 30 hours to Green Cape, followed by a run to the Bass Straight, and then a beat down the Tasmanian coast into Hobart. “The crews are in very good stead for all 12 boats to finish in the top 30 line honours. They have seen such a variety of conditions through their deep ocean racing, and nothing will faze them. They are up for it and I am very confident in their abilities. There are not too many other yachts that will have experienced the variety of conditions that they have in their 18,000 miles of global racing so far.”
Eric Holden, skipper of Henri Lloyd, the overall leader in the Clipper Race, who is competing in his fourth Sydney Hobart said: “Having done the Sydney Hobart three times before, I know what to expect, I think my crew are in good hands. It’s nice to know the race course. It’s a beautiful race, one of my favourite in the world so it’s really great to be back, doing it again as a skipper in the Clipper Race.”
PSP Logistics skipper Chris Hollis is doing his third Sydney Hobart. Before departing, he said: “We are ready to race and everyone is really excited. No one is nervous – we are ready to perform really well. We have had a meeting about performance and evaluating ourselves and we want to settle in really quickly as soon as we are out of Sydney Heads and make the most of the race.”
You can read the rest of the skippers pre-race quotes HERE
For instructions on how to follow the overall Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, see HERE
To track the Clipper Race fleet in Race 6 you can use our usual race tracker HERE