SOLAS Big Boat Challenge - Tuesday 13 December, 2016
When it comes time for the biggest racing yachts in Australia to flex their collective muscle on the world's most beautiful harbour, it's hard to escape the fact that the serious countdown to the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has begun.
The CYCA's SOLAS Big Boat Challenge, one of Sydney's most spectacular sporting and harbour fixtures, has for 23 consecutive years marked the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart lead-up events. In 2015, the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge moved a week closer to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in an effort to allow more International "Big Boats" to compete.
Yachts such as Wild Oats XI, Perpetual Loyal, Comanche and Black Jack have all been among the heavy hitters gunning for the Line Honours trophy, whilst "pocket maxis" such as Ichi Ban, Chinese Whisper often challenge for an IRC handicap win in this event.
For the tenth consecutive year, the CYCA has decided to dedicate the event to raise awareness and funds for its SOLAS Trusts, which were established following the 1998 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race when six lives were lost.
The 2016 SOLAS Big Boat Challenge will start off Steele Point, Vaucluse, at 12.30pm on Tuesday 13 December and will take the impressive invitational fleet twice around Sydney Harbour, passing many of Sydney's famous landmarks including Fort Denison, Mrs Macquarie's Chair and the Opera House, the finish point.
Wild Oats XI, line honours winner of the 2013 SOLAS Big Boat Challenge
Black Jack got off to a great start in the 2013 SOLAS Big Boat Challenge