Ever since its founding in 1945, the Sydney to Hobart yacht race has been an anticipated annual event. Beginning in Sydney and ending in the Tasmanian port city of Hobart, the race is considered one of the most difficult yachting events in the world. With around one thousand participating crew members and a voracious audience, the race makes for an unparallelled spectacle. The 2014 event will begin in the last week of December (the official site has a countdown clock for those who are particularly eager). Until then, there is time to recount the history of the race and prepare for its newest incarnation. To aid in this endeavour, here is a list of five must-have pieces of Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race memorabilia.
If hitting the open waters is not quite the engagement one desires with the race, then there is always the option of celebrating the event by collecting Australia's 1994 commemorative stamp. The Colonial Heritage stamp set offered variations on the subject of the race and its beautiful yachts. With due diligence, it's possible to track them all down on the Internet.
There was an Australian release of a themed Sydney to Hobart yacht race board game that was released in 1987. It's been out of production for years, but with a little research and some time to scour, it's still possible to get your hands on this relic. The board game includes a compass, extensive navigation charts, and offers role-playing activities.
Who would think of going to a yacht race without a sailor's cap on to fully capture the mood? A sailor's cap hearkens back to the days of mercantile seafaring, the very spirit participants try to capture with the annual festival of the Sydney to Hobart Race. There is a range of official Cruising Yacht Club of Australia merchandise themed around the Sydney to Hobart Race and available for purchase through their website. Their memorabilia includes sailor caps, polo shirts, and boat shoes. It's possible to find event-related apparel from earlier editions of the race in thrift stores and with Internet searching.
The tragic events of the 1998 edition of the race, in which six sailors lost their lives during a major storm, became the subject of the book "Fatal Storm." It is written and illustrated by Paul Mundle and features a foreword by Sir James Hardy. The book itself is out of print but can be tracked down online. More generally, the Sydney to Hobart race has inspired many photographs, paintings, and prints; these are widely available at the event and can also be found on the Internet. Every year, the event is the subject of extensive documentation, and a simple tracing of these journalistic and artistic imprints through its nearly seventy-year history would be a fascinating enterprise.
Acquiring your own sailing dinghy is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the world of yacht racing. Becoming personally familiar with the ins and outs of sailing dinghies will give you insight into the world of the pros who are tackling the open ocean in the annual Sydney Hobart race. Dinghies can be a significant expense, but they are, at the very least, a fraction of the cost of the sponsored racing yachts. The sailing dinghy offers the opportunity to truly experience the feeling of the race. Yacht design for the race has been most influenced by the Australian Bruce Farr, who has been responsible for fifteen winning yachts in the race's history. With enough effort, it's possible to find an affordable dinghy influenced by his style of sloops.
There is plenty to occupy and entertain enthusiasts of the Sydney to Hobart race as countdown to the 2014 edition continues. As one of the world's major ocean racing events, its storied history is rich with objects to collect and anecdotes to memorise. And, as an ongoing annual spectacle that stands alongside the Melbourne Cup and the Australian Open as one of Australia's most anticipated events, it is a gala that can be celebrated by its fans. These five memorabilia suggestions are just the beginning of ways in which history can come alive with the Sydney to Hobart race.