How to follow the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

  • Racing
  • NEWS
  • By Mark Woolf
  • 22 Dec 2014 02:00:00
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Rolex Sydney Hobart Start 2013


Whatever the results of the Rolex Sydney Hobart 2014, one thing is certain - when the race starts at 1pm on Boxing Day it will capture the imagination of sailors and spectators worldwide, as some 600,000 people converge on Sydney Harbour foreshore and millions more tune into the action on TV and online!

When the fleet for this year's race jostles for position on twin start lines just north of Shark Island, you'll want to be in prime position yourself. To get the full dose of race atmosphere you need to grab a spot on North or South Head, or even join the action on the water among the colourful spectator fleet (which includes craft of all shapes and sizes from ferries to kayaks and even the odd water taxi). But if you're not lucky enough to be there in person when the starting cannon fires, don't worry - there are plenty of ways to follow the race, no matter where you are.

On Television

The Seven Network will once again broadcast the start of the race live around Australia with the 90 minute program going to air from 12:30 AEDT with well known sports presenter Mark Beretta anchoring the commentary team.

Mark is the Sports Presenter on the Seven Network’s Sunrise program and has covered every summer and winter Olympic Games since Atlanta in 1996. He was the host of the Sydney 2000 telecast and is part of Seven's V8 Supercar commentary team. ‘Beretts’ has hosted the Rolex Sydney Hobart start once before and will be joined by Peter Shipway, who will act as the technical expert, in the commentary team.

Seven Sport’s commentary team will again be based at their outside broadcast headquarters at North Head, which is a prime location offering an expansive view from the start lines off Nielsen Park to coastline down to Bondi.

Over 80 production and technical personnel are involved to putting together the race start coverage. Covering the race is tricky and relies on numerous specialty cameras that are linked back to the main production facility using digital radio links.

Three helicopters and two chase boats track alongside the fleet. Two of these helicopters supply aerial footage whilst the third acts as a link platform, relaying close-up onboard footage from two of the yachts as the crew undertake pre-race manoeuvres and begin their race south. On top of this, two land based cabled cameras located at vantage points on North Head and South Head are incorporated into the coverage.

ABC TV will also be following the fleet down the eastern seaboard and provide all the inrace news footage that is used by the various Australian and International news networks.

Seven's live coverage begins from 12.30pm AEST Boxing Day and for the sixth year in a row, the event will also be webcast live via Seven's online partner Yahoo!7 worldwide.

On The Web

For those who can't get to watch the live broadcast of the start of the Race on the Seven Network across Australia, Yahoo!7 will webcast the program. You can also watch the same webcast on the home page of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race website.

If you miss the live webcast, don't worry, our friends at Yahoo!7 will be making a replay available shortly after the live webcast concludes and will be available for the duration of the race. 

The official race website is one of the most popular Australian sporting websites during the Christmas New Year holiday period and is your information portal for everything there is to know about the 628 nautical blue water classic.

Included on the website is the complete list of yachts entered, along with a photograph and description of each boat, a crew list, and the boat's performance data,predicted finishing time and standing for both Line Honours and Division which is updated every 10 minutes.

There's also archival data including results of past races since the first in 1945, the weather they encountered; a summary of line and overall handicap winners of those races; historical reports and statistical information; designers of those line and overall winners; and profiles of some of the race luminaries over the years.

You'll also be able to follow the event on twitter for race updates and via Facebook 

Yacht Tracker

By far the most visited page of the website is the Yacht Tracker page, which allows viewers to track the entire fleet or a particular boat from start to finish. Yacht Tracker uses a specifically designed tool that calculates the predicted results for each and every boat in the fleet, so you can see how each boat is performing.

Each yacht will be fitted with a Yellowbrick tracker that will obtain a position using the GPS satellite network, and then transmit that position back to Yellowbrick HQ using the Iridium satellite network.

Each yacht's position is then visualised on the race yacht tracker map or overlaid on Google Earth. In addition, the yacht tracker system also shows distance to finish line and progressive corrected time positions under the IRC, ORCi and PHS handicap divisions

To do this, the CYCA equips each boat in the fleet with a Yellowbrick tracker, that automatically updates the yacht's latitude, longitude, course over ground and speed over ground - and transmits that information via satellite to a land station.  From there, the data is transferred to the website, which shows in text and graphics each yacht's position in the fleet, its place relative to other boats and known geographic features, and the speed currently being achieved over the land, as well as the direction in which the boat is sailing.

Viewers may view the yachts on a chart through Yacht Tracker. Line honours and progressive corrected times under the IRC, PHS and ORCi handicap categories are updated every 10 minutes.

On Water

If you've got access to a boat then you can be on the water with the fleet for the start of the race. Spectator craft positioned in the eastern channel can watch the race begin and then follow the fleet down the harbour to the Heads and out to sea. Once underway the fleet can move fast, so if you want to catch the leaders sail through the Heads, it's advisable to get well down the harbour towards Middle Head before the start. At the Heads keep well clear of the rounding marks.

If you only plan on watching the start, and don't wish to follow the fleet, then stick to the western side of the harbour. Good vantage points for spectator boats include Taylors Bay, Chowder Bay, Obelisk Bay and North Head on the west and Rose Bay, Watsons Bay, Camp Cove and South Head to the east.

The harbour will be very crowded and traffic can be chaotic so stay alert, follow the advice of race officials and remember to keep well clear of the exclusion zone between 12pm and 2pm.

Limited spaces are also available on the CYCA official spectator vessels. Magistic II will be granted access to the exclusion zone close to all the on-water action. Tickets aboard the vessel are $199 per person and include canapes, light lunch, beverages and expert race commentary. Vessel departs from the CYCA marina at 11am and returns at approximately 2.30pm.  John Cadman III will be departing from McKell Park Public Wharf, Darling Point at 11:30am and returning at 2:30pm. Ticket price includes finger food and lunch, dessert buffet and Tea & Coffee. Beverages - Beer, wine, champagne and soft drinks. Tickets on board the vessel are $110.00 per adult; $65.00 for children aged 5 – 12; children under 5 no charge.

To book your ticket on either vessel click here for more information

For further information please contact CYCA reception on +61 2 8292 7800 or email



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