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 over 25 consecutive years marked the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart lead-up events.
In 2021, the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge will continue to showcase close and intense racing between the competing yachts whilst providing quality viewing of the world class boats from shores and vantage points all around the harbour.
In 2017 Peter Harburg’s Black Jack (formerly Alfa Romeo) returned to Sydney Harbour to take on the undefeated Wild Oats XI who had claimed line honours for the previous six years. Being the last boat to take line honours before Wild Oats’ wining streak they were eager to show what the new team could do.
2018 however saw a return somewhat to the “Status Quo” with Wild Oats XI stretching her legs to take back the SOLAS Big Boat title.
The 2019 race was abandoned due to the visibility issues caused by the thick smoke around Sydney Harbour.
Christian Beck’s Infotrack claimed the 2020 title, producing a near perfect performance to beat Black Jack.
Since 2006 the CYCA has dedicated 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 SOLAS Big Boat Challenge will start off Point Piper and will take the impressive invitational fleet around Sydney Harbour, with the finish off the Sydney Opera House.