A record number of boats are competing in this years Sydney to Hobart, - Australia's premier Ocean Yacht Race.
GV: Sydney Opera House with yachts in foreground preparing for race PULL OUT Sydney Harbour with yachts on water
GV: Yachts preparing for race with KP 76 (Condor) among group
GV: Gun signals start of race
AERIAL SHOT: Yachts leave Sydney Harbour
GV: Condor (with yellow spinnaker) leading group with Bumblebee following (2 shots)
AERIAL SHOT: Yachts with Condor and Bumblebee in lead
SPORT: YACHT RACING
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Background: A record number of boats are competing in this years Sydney to Hobart, - Australia's premier Ocean Yacht Race. One-hundred-and-forty-nine yachts sailed out of Sydney on Wednesday (26 December) at the start of the 630-mile haul to Hobart in Tasmania.
SYNOPSIS: As always the competitors had to battle through a huge spectator fleet waiting to escort them to the heads of Sydney Harbour. The number of entrants this year was swelled by competitors in the Southern Cross Series. The Sydney-Hobart is the last and deciding race of the series, and eleven teams from Australia, New Zealand, England, the United States and Ireland are vying for the Southern Cross Cup. But the Sydney Hobart isn't just for international racing boats. Most of the yachts are private entries which spend most of their time sailing calmer waters. The smallest yacht in the race is the Victorian sloop, Marinda, measuring just over 29 feet. One of the biggest is fastnet winner Condor a maxi yacht from Bermuda.
The race began at midday with the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser firing the starters gun abroad the naval minesweeper HMAS Snipe. Although the Sydney Hobart doesn't demand the close quarter tactics of a longer race...a good start is important Boats left behind at the start have to contend with turbulent or 'dirty' air thrown up the race leaders. Condor set her big yellow spinnaker and stole an early lead in the scramble to the heads. Close behind under the blue and white spinnaker came Bumblebee the 76 foot Aluminium sloop from New South Wales. Both these boats have a good chance to taking line honours, but the race is usually won on handicap by a smaller boat.
The 4-year-old race record stands at two-days 14-hours, 36 minutes and 56 seconds.