One of the competing yachts is the J/122 JACKPOT, skippered by Adrian van Bellen. Their team has been practicing a lot as a work-up to what is famous for being one of the world’s toughest yacht races anywhere. For the past 71 years, the Rolex Sydney Hobart has become an icon of Australia's summer sport, ranking in public interest with such national events as the Melbourne Cup horse race, the Australian Open tennis and the cricket tests between Australia and England. No regular annual yachting event in the world attracts such huge media coverage than does the start on Sydney Harbour.
The weather can be benign or treacherous. In most cases, it is the later. Like the two current round-the-world record attempts with 130 ft trimarans (one a singlehander, one a fully-crewed team) and the leading boats in the Vendee Globe Race, experienced sailors are well-aware of how quickly forecasts can change in the southern latitudes, particularly in the infamous Bass Straits, the relatively shallow body of water between the southeastern tip of Australia and the northernmost point of Tasmania. It’s where the southerly flowing Australian current rolling at 2 to 4 kts often meets strong west to southwest winds in the 15-25 kts range, sometimes in the 40-60 kts range! To say the least, seas can be steep and nasty with the wind on the nose! A winning combination for a fast, well-sailed J/122, like van Bellen’s experienced crew on JACKPOT. More news around Christmas-time! For more Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race sailing information