One of a handful of classic offshore races, the Sydney Hobart Race was initially intended to be a cruise from Sydney Harbour, south down the New South Wales Coast and across the Bass Strait to Hobart in Tasmania. The Royal Navy's visiting Captain John Illingworth suggested adding a dash of competition in 1945 and the race was born - and won by Captain Illingworth's RANI in six days, 14 hours and 22 minutes.
Widely acknowledged as one of the most challenging ocean yacht races, it attracts the highest-profile racing yachts from all over the world, all seeking the Tattersall's Cup, awarded for the handicap winner, and the line honours title for the first to finish. The record, held by the 30.5m (100ft) COMANCHE, currently stands at one day, 9 hours, 15 minutes and 24 seconds.
The race starts on Boxing Day and it is a Sydney tradition to watch the start either on the water on an armada of spectator boats or take a more elevated view by lining Sydney Heads to watch the fleet leave the harbour.