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Description - Sydney Hobart Yacht Race: The story of a sporting icon by Rob Mundle

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is the story of one of the world's greatest sporting challenges.

One evening in May 1945, a small group of Sydney sailing enthusiasts decided that their planned post-Christmas cruise south to Hobart would be more enjoyable if they made it a race. And so began the story of a contest that quickly became ranked among the world's premier offshore racing events - a race that demands both immense physical and mental endurance of the individual sailor along with the coordinated effort of a close-knit team. It's a challenge where one mistake can lead to defeat, while success can deliver national and international acclaim.

In its 75th year, the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has become an icon of Australia's summer sport, ranking in public interest with such national events as the Melbourne Cup, the Australian Open tennis and the Boxing Day cricket test. No regular annual yachting event in the world attracts such huge media coverage or public interest as does the start on Sydney Harbour.

The 628-nautical mile course is often described as the most grueling long ocean race in the world. From the spectacular start in Sydney Harbour, the fleet sails through the Heads, down the south-east coast of mainland Australia, across the notoriously tempestuous Bass Strait, then down the east coast of Tasmania. At Tasman Island the fleet turns right into Storm Bay for the final sail up the Derwent River. The race is an around-the-clock challenge from the harbour to Hobart, and the whims of the winds, waves, tides and currents means that, for each crew, nothing is certain until the finish line is crossed.

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is the story of one of the world's greatest sporting challenges, an event where men and women from all walks of life are inspired and challenged by the beauty and power of nature.

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