The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will again start in accordance with tradition with the firing of a starting cannon. The start will be at 1.00pm on Boxing Day, 26 December.
- The fleet makes its way towards Sydney Heads
- 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart fleet making their way up Sydney Harbour
- Rolex Sydney Hobart 2016 start
The fleet will start from start lines off Nielsen Park with boats on the northern line rounding "Victor Mark" and boats on the southern lines rounding "X-Ray Mark", at the Heads, and all boats heading out to sea and rounding "Mark Zulu", one nautical mile east of the Heads.
The larger boats in the fleet will start off the front line, just north of Shark Island. The rest of the fleet will start from the southern lines, 0.2 nautical miles between each.
Having two rounding marks at Sydney Heads will compensate for the distance between the lines before the fleet heads to sea on the ocean voyage to Hobart.
To give the yachts a clear area in which to manoeuvre before the start and then ample room to tack or gybe as they race to the Heads, NSW Roads and Maritime Services have declared an exclusion zone from 12 noon to 2:20pm on Boxing Day. A 6 knot no-wash zone will cover the Harbour from Garden Island and Bradley's Head to a line between North Head and Macquarie Light. Spectator craft may not enter the exclusion zone between these times and once the race starts the yachts must sail within the zone until they clear Sydney Heads.
As the countdown to the start begins, the CYCA's historic cannons will be fired aboard the official starting vessel, Olympic Storm, to draw attention to the starting flag sequence as follows:
12.50pm: 10 minute Warning Signal - Event flag hoisted and cannon fired.
12.55pm: 5 minute Preparatory Signal - Code flag P hoisted and cannon fired.
1.00pm - Starting Signal - Event Flag and Code flag P dropped and cannon fired.
A further signal (Code flag X) and a single cannon fire may indicate premature (OCS - On Course Side) starts by individual yachts which must then return and re-start. Yachts which have started prematurely will also be advised by radio within 10 minutes of the start. There will be no general recall.