The 75th Sydney to Hobart yacht race is underway, with race favourite Comanche recovering from a badd start to lead down the coast.
The fleet of 157, the biggest since a record 371 boats contested the 50th edition in 1994, set out from Sydney Harbour at 1pm (AEST).
Scalliwag and InfoTrack got a good start, with Comanche missing the start and having work to do to pick its way through the smaller boats.
More boats than usual, around 54, will be squeezed into Hobart’s Constitution Dock when they cross the finish line.
“It’s going to be like a giant jigsaw puzzle, we’re not quite sure in what order the puzzle pieces are going to arrive,” Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania commodore Tracy Matthews told AAP on Wednesday.
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia commodore Paul Billingham said the logistics of the race were probably 70 per cent more complex than last year.
Four starting lines were required to accommodate the bumper fleet.
‘”It’s bit like a Mini and a Formula 1 race car starting on the same line, it is incredibly difficult, so the four lines works well,” said race stalwart Sean Langman.
Among the nations represented in this year’s fleet are Ireland, Monaco, the United States, Poland, France and Hungary.
If supermaxi Black Jack wins line honours both Queensland and the Yacht Club de Monaco will celebrate.
The program has previously been based in the Sunshine State, but Black Jack is moving to Monaco in 2020 for a European campaign.
“It’s exciting for us, we’re going to take Queensland to Monaco,” said Black Jack skipper Mark Bradford.
“We started as a Queensland team and our heart is in Queensland for sure, but Monaco is who we represent this year.
“Sport is global now and it’s easy to get around the world, We’re going to going to Europe and race a lot and shift our asset up there. We needed a home port, so why not Monaco?”