At the official launch of Rolex Sydney Hobart announced with 90 entries 13/11/07

The 63rd Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race was officially launched today, with 90 yachts ranging from 10 metres to 30 metres intending to line up on Sydney Harbour for the traditional Boxing Day start on 26 December 2007.

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia has received an increased number of international entries this year, with nine yachts representing four countries including the first ever Mexican entry (Iataia) and six boats from the UK. Six Australian states and the ACT will be represented, including four boats making the trip from Western Australia.

Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI could become only the second yacht in the history of the race to take line honours over three consecutive years. The treble was last achieved by Claude Plowman’s Morna in 1946, 1947 and 1948. With a line honours win, a record breaking run and the overall trophy in 2005 and line honours again in 2006, getting to Hobart first in 2007 would confirm Wild Oats’ place as one of the legends of this internationally-renowned ocean race.

However, Wild Oats XI will face stiff competition from fellow Australian entry Skandia, UK maxi ICAP Leopard and New Zealand’s Maximus, which is returning with modifications to challenge Bass Strait once again after being dismasted in the early hours of the first morning of the 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart.

Matt Allen, Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and skipper of entrant Ichi Ban commented: “It will be great to see a bit of friendly rivalry between Australia, New Zealand and the UK on the water. These boats and their crews are among the best in the world so it will make for a very interesting race this year.”

Mike Slade, owner/skipper of the biggest likely threat to Wild Oats XI, ICAP Leopard, last night commented: “We’ve got a real corker of a race on our hands. I think it’s going to be one of the closest Rolex Sydney Hobarts for a long time. Any one of the four 30 metres can win over the line.”

The first lead up regatta to the Boxing Day start will be the Rolex Trophy One Design Series from 7-9 December followed by the spectacular SOLAS Big Boat Challenge on Tuesday 11 December and finally, the Rolex Trophy Rating Series, an exciting preview to the handicap form guide for the Rolex Sydney Hobart, from 13-16 December.

The Sydney Hobart line honours record currently stands at 1 day, 18 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds, set by Wild Oats XI in 2005.