For the past 24 hours, thunderstorms, relentless rain, lightning and a 180° windshift under cover of darkness have conspired to make life extremely difficult for the intrepid sailors heading south in the 78th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The two 100-foot maxis LawConnect and Andoo Comanche are neck and neck at the head of the fleet and have been consistently traveling at more than 20 knots, but with a light south or south easterly set to move in this evening, progress on the final 200-mile stretch could be laborious, and a new course record is out of the question. The fearsome conditions have seen 11 of the 103 starting boats forced to retire, including line honours contender SHK Scallywag 100 from Hong Kong, following a disastrous bowsprit breakage just hours from the starting line. Organised by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in conjunction with the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, Rolex has been partnering the iconic offshore race since 2002 as part of its near 70-year association with the sport of yachting. Discover more https://on.rolex.com/47cTueT
Rolex has always associated with activities driven by passion, excellence, precision and team spirit. The Swiss watchmaker naturally gravitated towards the elite world of yachting six decades ago and the brand’s enduring partnership now encompasses the most prestigious clubs, races and regattas, as well as towering figures in the sport, including ground-breaking round-the-world yachtsman Sir Francis Chichester and the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, Sir Ben Ainslie. Today, Rolex is Title Sponsor of 15 major international events – from leading offshore races such as the annual Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race, to grand prix competition at the Rolex TP52 World Championship and spectacular gatherings at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Swan Cup. It also supports the exciting SailGP global championship in which national teams race identical supercharged F50 catamarans on some of the world’s most famous harbours. Rolex’s partnerships with the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Royal Ocean Racing Club, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Yacht Club Italiano, New York Yacht Club and Royal Yacht Squadron, among others, are the foundation of its enduring relationship with this dynamic sport.