The last yachts have finished the 57th Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, with the little Sydney sloop Sorine crossing the line at 05.31.46 yesterday, more than five days and 16 hours after setting sail from Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day.
From a fleet of 75 boats, 18 retired, one was declared 'did not finish', leaving 56 to complete the 630 nautical mile ocean classic in conditions that ranged from dead calms to violent `twisters' off the NSW South Coast, but which was sailed mainly in 20-30 knot south westerly headwinds.
Four crews spent New Year's Eve at sea, with the New Zealand Defence Forces entry, Paea II, crossing the line at eight minutes after midnight, followed five minutes later by Berrimilla. Brindabella II finished at 2am and then came Sorine.
A spokesman for the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia said the arrival of the small boats at the tailend of the fleet underscored the concept of the Sydney Hobart Race as a race for all-comers, `a race for all reasons'.
`While this 57th Race attracted the latest in state-of-the-art ocean racers, such as the Volvo 60s and the maxi Nicorette, the Sydney Hobart has always been, and always will be, a race for boats large and small, new and old, fast and slow, crewed by the world's top professional sailors and by the amateur club sailors who year after year support this event,' he said.
`The Sydney Hobart is always a tough and demanding challenge for good seamanship, and because of this it has each year attracted many of the world's most prominent sailors, a reason why the Volvo Ocean Race organisers specifically asked to be part of the 57th Race during their race around the world.
`The true concept of the Sydney Hobart Race is also shown in the handicap results. A state-of-the-art 62-footer, Bumblebee 5, was the Overall Winner, placing first in the grand prix IMS Division, yet the IRC overall handicap was a 30-year-old cruiser race, Polaris of Belmont,' the CYCA spokesman added.
Final handicap results for IMS Division C and the PHS Division have been announced and full details can be found on the event website.