With the arrival of the Clipper Race fleet into Australia after a stormy Southern Ocean crossing, thoughts are turning to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race which starts one month tomorrow, on Boxing Day.

The Clipper Race fleet will compete amongst world famous Skippers and entries, including America’s Cup winning helmsman James Spithill, Ken Read, Skipper of Comanche, and Mark Richards, the Skipper of Wild Oats XI.

The Clipper Race has its own special class in the bluewater classic, and will be competing for the second time after the success of the fleet’s participation as part of its circumnavigation in 2013.

The fleet of 110 in the RSHYR includes the winners of the latest editions of the Rolex Fastnet Race, the Transpac, the Transatlantic Race, the Hong Kong-Vietnam Race, as well as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race itself.

Clipper Race Founder and Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston will compete as navigator on board one of two Clipper 68s based in Sydney all year at the Clipper Ventures Australia HQ and training base.

Sir Robin said: “Having already got more than 15,000 nautical miles of ocean racing under their belts through a massive range of conditions, these crews are far from amateur and should not be underestimated.

“Our crews brought great colour to the race last time, and everyone is very excited to be entered again to race alongside the sport’s biggest names.”

Amongst the Clipper Race competitors will be Sydney Skipper Wendy Tuck, the first Australian female Skipper in the history of the race, who is leading the Da Nang – Viet Nam entry. It will be her ninth RSHYR. GREAT Britain and Visit Seattle Skippers Peter Thornton and Huw Fernie will also compete in their second RSHYR.

Daniel Smith, the Skipper of Derry~Londonderry~Doire, will be taking part in his first RSHYR.

“It is a very highly-regarded race, and one that I would not normally have the opportunity to take part in. It is known for having tricky conditions and sea states. As it will be a shorter race following the longer ocean crossings we have done on the circumnavigation so far, we may change the watch systems and how we prepare the food too so we are entirely focused on the racing,” Daniel added.

Ross Ham is an Australian crew member who is racing round the world again, this time on board Garmin, having completed the Clipper 2013-14 Race.

The former Australian sailing champion from Brisbane said: “I am really looking forward to racing in the RSHYR again. You are able to keep a level of intensity there, and using the specialist helms we should be able to provide a cracking level of competition.

“I am a dog with two tails, and both of them are wagging as I circumnavigate again and get to compete in such classics as the RSHYR as part of that.”

The 628-mile historic Boxing Day race is one of the highlights of the Australian sporting calendar, with hundreds of thousands of spectators watching the yachts leave Sydney Harbour.

To watch the fleet competing in 2013, click here.

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