Following the fleet's successful Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race campaign, the sixth race of the 14-race series has started today, Saturday 2 January.

Race 6: The Henri Lloyd Hobart to Whitsundays Race will see the fleet race more than 1,600 nautical miles from the Tasmanian port of Hobart to Abell Point Marina in Airlie Beach.

Qingdao was first to cross the start line, followed by Derry~Londonderry~Doire in second and LMAX Exchange third as the teams headed upwind down the Derwent River towards Storm Bay.

The Race 6 Start followed a Parade of Sail in the Derwent River in front of spectators and supporter boats and help with logistics from the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.

As the fleet crosses the Bass Strait for the third time to race up the east coast, the crews' stamina and kit will be put to work as teams battle the force of the huge ocean swells of the East Australian Current that are so popular with the Aussie surfers.

Wendy Tuck, Australian Skipper of Da Nang Viet Nam, the winner of the Clipper Race class in the RSHYR, said she was nervous, but ready to push the crew harder again following their Race 5 win.

“I have sailed this route up to Airlie Beach a lot of times, so am very familiar with the route and conditions, which I hope will give us an advantage. It should be a fast race,” Wendy added.

Bob Beggs, Skipper of Qingdao said: “It will be a beat out of the Derwent River followed by a kite hoist. We have a good breeze to get us going, then the wind will get a bit stronger as we get near Sydney. The race will be very tactical, lots of changes and lots of shallow water in the reefs so lots going on. We are going to continue to put the team first. The team ethic is very strong. Although the last result didn’t show it, the team is working well together so we will be continuing that,” Bob added.

Greg Miller, Skipper of Mission Performance, said: “There is a buzz round the whole fleet still from competing in the Sydney Hobart, so it is good to get racing again so quickly.

“The wind will be behind us for most of the way, then we are expecting it to come round half way, then come round again so it will be a long kite run. Team wise, we always start races well and go hard for the first half of the race before things fall apart a little towards the end so we need to push up a few gears,” he added.

The fleet is anticipated to arrive into Abell Point Marina, Airlie Beach, between 13-14 January. The top three teams will be presented with the coveted Race 6: Henri Lloyd Hobart to Whitsundays Race pennant.

Pioneering the development of all modern technical sailing clothing for 50 years, the race’s Official Technical Clothing Partner and Race 6 sponsor, Henri Lloyd, has provided foul weather gear built to withstand the challenging conditions the Clipper Race crew members face during the circumnavigation for the past 13 years.

Paul Strzelecki, Joint Chief Executive of Henri Lloyd added: “Our partnership with the Clipper Race has been going from strength to strength since the start of our relationship in 2002, and our sponsorship of the Hobart to Whitsundays race is a testament to that. We wish all the crews the best of luck and safe passage.”

To see a gallery of images of the Race Start, click here.

Join The Race
Elliot Brown Watches - Official Time Keeper Until Race Start : The USA Coast-to-Coast Leg Map + Race Standings