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Sydney Hobart Classic Yachts Regatta celebrates 75 years of sailing history

Sydney Hobart Classic Yachts Regatta celebrates 75 years of sailing history
CYCA Sydney Hobart Classic Yacht Regatta, 8 December 2019 - Margaret Rintoul, Maris and Nerida at the start J C Jeremy

Sydney Hobart Classic Yachts Regatta celebrates 75 years of sailing history

The inaugural Sydney Hobart Classic Yachts Regatta was held over the weekend with great success.

Sydney Harbour went back in time over the weekend, as a fleet of 36 classic yachts set the stunning scene for the 75th Sydney Hobart celebrations during the Classic Sydney Hobart Yachts Regatta from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

The two-day passage series was an invitation-only event for yachts that had raced in any previous Sydney Hobart Yacht Race that were launched prior to 1976.  The breath-taking yachts were stacked with historic and champion sailors, including sailing legend Sir James Hardy on his family-yacht Nerida, as well as Sydney Hobart veteran, Peter Shipway, who was part of the organising authority and sailed onboard S&S 47, Love & War for the regatta.

“It was fantastic really.  The start on Sunday when all the fleets started together was magnificent.  To see all those boats from all those eras – the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s – all there was extraordinary,” commented Shipway.  “It was like a time warp going back to see them on the water. And most in pretty good condition.  Some in really super condition… And they were all sailing well, though obviously some faster than others.”

The Classic Sydney Hobart Yachts Regatta could be likened to a big reunion of ‘who’s who’ in Sydney Hobart history who were spread among the iconic classic yachts.

“To see all those boats going down the harbour from Manly in a nor’easter was great,” continued Shipway.  “We were blessed with the weather, we only had one course each day that allowed for a bit of upwind work, downwind sailing and a bit of reaching, so there was a bit for everyone.  The breeze didn’t get over 12 knots, so it certainly helped the older boats.”

Shipway was on board three-time Sydney Hobart winner and inaugural Classic Sydney Hobart Yachts Regatta Division 1 winner, Love & War.

Love & War is such a special boat, that’s one of the ones that is in immaculate condition – and it’s been prepared for the Rolex Sydney Hobart this year.  The breeze suited her this weekend with plenty of windward works.  It goes to windward like a train.  Downwind, some of those lightweight flyers like Fidelis that were lightweight in their era, and like Caprice of Huon, but overall I think everyone was pretty happy with the way it went.  And Margaret Rintoul, the original, she was great on the weekend, taking out her Division 3.  She still looks a lovely boat, so it was a great weekend.”

As part of the exciting 75th Sydney Hobart celebrations, the Classic Sydney Hobart Yacht Regatta also held a sold-out dinner on Saturday night, where Sir James Hardy and renowned yachtswoman Adrienne Cahalan spoke as the guests.  The event can certainly be called a success, with boats attending from interstate specifically to be part of the historic event while there is now the wish to hold an annual event highlighting the history of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Full results can be found on the CYCA website here.