Eden & the Sydney-Hobart yacht race

25 September 2018 – 10 March 2019

One of the ultimate ocean racing experiences for sailors across the world is the annual Sydney-Hobart yacht race.

Beginning in Sydney on Boxing Day (26 December), sailors face some   of  the toughest ocean and weather conditions as they travel down the south-eastern Australian coastline, across Bass Strait, then south along the east coast of Tasmania before heading up into the River Derwent, finishing at Hobart.

Since the Sydney-Hobart race’s inception in 1945, Eden has played an important role for competitors.  Before and after the race, Eden’s relatively safe harbour is a place to rest and replenish stores.  During the race however, Eden is the last safe place for yachts to retire before crossing Bass Strait, and the town’s facilities become even more important to injured sailors and damaged vessels.

The 1998 Sydney-Hobart race saw Australia’s biggest peacetime maritime rescue effort with  66 out of 115 yachts retiring, most into Eden.  Five yachts sank and six sailors lost their lives at sea.  Aside from local emergency and rescue workers, local fishermen risked their own lives and vessels to go to the aid of others.  Like in all times of need, Eden’s community came together to provide transport, supplies, meals, accommodation and solace to the weary and battered sailors.

Coinciding with the 20th anniversary, Lifeline pays tribute to some of the people who have put themselves in harm’s way to rescue others, and the local community that each year supports one of Australia’s major sporting events of the year.


Title image:

The returning yacht fleet, Snug Cove Wharf, Jan 1992.  EKWM Magnet Newspaper Photographic Collection.

1998 Sydney-Hobart yacht race cap from the crew of ‘Kingurra’. EKWM Collection.

John Campbell was washed overboard Kingurra and was in the treacherous sea for 40 minutes before being rescued.  See his interview below, an extract from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s CYCATV channel on YouTube.

Below: YouTube CareFlight presentation