The super maxi (racing yachts under 100’ or 30m) are increasingly popular and as more yachts are launched the competition gets better. Super maxis are raced in all the large worldwide yacht events from the Fastnet to the Sydney to Hobart to the Middle Seas race.

LEOPARD 3 is a racing sailing yacht, as launched in 2007. She is a new concept for a 100ft super maxi from Farr Yacht Design.  LEOPARD 3 meets the demanding requirements of a luxurious, signature charter yacht, as well as a passage record breaker and a race winning super maxi in a fantatic new concept developed by Farr Yacht Design.

Racing maxi ‘Maximus’ is definitely the latest and most impressive super maxi to ever appear on the world stage.  She may even represent one of the biggest design leaps in all monohull yachting. The name comes from Maximus' unbridled maximum power to weight ratio. Maximus is quite a step forward in design and technology in the world of yachting and when compared to other super maxi designs (notably Zana/Conical Minolta & Scandia). This is perhaps not surprising given the project mission – To design, build and successfully race the world’s fastest and most innovative monohull under 100 ft with adherence only to the rules of science and experience. There are no class rule handbrakes here!

Why is Maxims set to be the fastest thing afloat and beat every other monohull she mixes with? Simple really - her team. She has the best possible design and building team, willing and extremely capable owners and a fantastic sailing crew. As with anything, if you want to do something great you need to gather around great people. EBS Yachting (Maximus) has achieved this without compromise.

Every now and then in history you can get a congregation of amazing people in one area and place – a class of genius. The Maximus team is comprised of perhaps the most outstanding individuals and companies in ocean yachting in the world. As it turns out they are almost all New Zealanders. Anyone heard of Greg Elliot, Clay Oliver, Chris Mitchell, Southern Spars, North Sails, Cookson Boat Builders? Why not throw in a nuclear physicist/innovator and a very successful race campaigner and businessman as the owners, into the mix!

At her launch Maximus was dressed in modernist silver and measured in at 100 feet or 30.5 meters in length overall, weight unknown. She made quite an impressive sight. In the words of Stewart Thwaites who was there (the owner, campaigner and racer of super maxi Konica Minolta): “It just looks beautiful really…”.  The old adage in Aeronautics that ‘if the plane looked good to the eye, she would fly well’, perhaps rings true here with yachting also.

The key with making a yacht fast is high power to weigh ratio, achieved with strategic weight distribution, high righting moment and low weight, yet strong materials. When righting moment is high, more horse power can be designed into the rig and sails. The hull, spars and sails therefore need to be light and the bulb on the keel deep and heavy. Class rules traditionally hamstring a designer from the challenge of taking design and technology to its full potential. This is not the case with Maximus. Throw in a streamlined, easily driven hull and a skillful crew and you have all the ingredients for speed.

Weight to power ratio and righting moment has been maximized in Maximus by an extremely frugal addition of weight throughout all parts of the yacht. The hull and much of the equipment and fittings are completely composed of carbon. So too are the spars – the mast could be lifted by one very well balanced Scottish caber tosser! Further weight is stripped down with the absence, rather alteration, of some fittings normally found on yachts, such as cleats and many usually conventional winches – the luff is tensioned down rather than pulled up with a halyard. The winches that are used are also made from carbon. Add to this a revolutionary rotating mast (the first for a monohull) for more efficient use of the wind (and less drag) and a keel which telescopes into itself and cants to a larger angle than ever before.

Perhaps unexpectedly, safety has not been compromised is favour of performance alone. Crash bars have been fitted in strategic places (carbon fiber off-course) and the hull has been designed, by Greg Elliott, with higher than necessary top sides to minimize the crew’s exposure to fast moving deck wash. Maximus is fully equipped with safety gear, has a strengthened canting keel and is able to function completely manually, without auxiliary power. It is not hard to understand why the team has a particular emphasis on safety and prudence as they are in uncharted territory in yachting with respect to boat speeds and pressures.

The Velocity Prediction Analysis suggests that Maximus will smash speed records with her long straight lines, low drag, high righting moment, maximum power to weight ratio, efficient and huge sail area, rotating mast, and extra canting keel. Add to this an excellent managerial and sailing team and she is likely to not only find racing regatta line honors but dissolve opponent’s spirits in her wake in the process.


Inside The Wild World Of Super-Maxi Yacht Racing

The world’s fastest and most advanced sailing seafarers head to the Caribbean to compete in the yachting world equivalent of F1.

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cost of a super maxi yacht

I hit the tarmac in Sint Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles revved up to partake in the yachting world equivalent of Formula One for the weekend. Hopping onto a screaming machine taming the forces of nature to barrel along billionaire style. For it was the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and I was going racing aboard a super-maxi yacht .

Held annually this is one of the highlights of the yacht racing world’s calendar, drawing the best boats and crews from all over the world to pit their machinery and knowhow against each other during a long weekend of hard racing, hard partying and camaraderie—all on one of the most welcoming islands in the Caribbean.

The super-maxis are the ultimate racers of the yacht world and are governed by a set of rules which describe them as monohulls of more than 100 feet in length, with a keel and no limit on the number or type of “appendages.” Pure bucket-list stuff, where if you have to ask what it costs you clearly have no idea what you are getting into. At the end of ancient maps, uncharted waters were simply marked with mystical creatures and the notation, “here be dragons.” Well that is where I was headed. And fast.

Installed at the newly-opened Morgan Resort & Spa in this Dutch West Indies idyll, I inhaled deeply of the view; and pondered what a view it was, out over turquoise waters and clear blue skies gusting 25-plus knots of wind. For things were about to go super-maxi off the beaches of Sint Maarten, in the form of a ride aboard one of the most legendary racing yachts on the water today—Leopard 3.

At a touch over 100 feet, this carbon fiber/Nomex-hulled missile can shoot through the water at over 40 knots when at full tilt downwind. Fully rigged with over 15,000 square feet of thermo-formed carbon composite sails on her 154-foot carbon fiber mast and rigging, she is an extreme machine that has won everything from the Rolex Maxi Cup to Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, set trans-Atlantic speed records, and carried her racing crew of 20-plus souls to victory across the globe.

Designed by the legendary Farr Yacht Designs based out of Annapolis in Maryland, she is wide—22 feet at the widest point of her beam—and perfectly suited for fast offshore racing with more than a few tricks up her sleeve. Her “appendages” include a keel that cants up to 40 degrees, stabilizing her as if 200 extra crew members were sitting on the rail, and twin asymmetric lifting dagger-boards located either side of the mast to perfectly balance the sail forces when racing at full tilt.

cost of a super maxi yacht

The days of ex-NFL linebackers with 22-inch biceps grinding the winches of racing yachts are mostly behind the likes of Leopard 3, which features hydraulic winches, but the combination of almost military discipline and ballet-like choreography among its professional racing team are a delight to behold. The Captain and tactician calling the moves with precision timing, and an otherworldly sense of the wind down to the second, divining increases and decreases in invisible forces as if Merlin himself were aboard as the team trims sail to maximize speed at all moments.

The real key to the deployment of this technological wizardry is the team which employs it. As with Formula One, two things are necessary in spades—enormous amounts of money, and enormous amounts of skill and experience on the team. One begets the other, but it also pays for the eye-watering expenses of maintaining the boat and crew in peak condition with every carbon sail, titanium nut and bolt, and carbon fiber piece in optimal race-ready condition. Like life, things wear out, break, and go amiss.

I’ve been on boats that have snapped masts, lost sails, hell, almost sank. And for mere mortals if this happens you go bankrupt. But in the world of billionaire yacht-racing, you just Fedex a new carbon fiber mast half way around the world overnight, and have it fitted to keep you racing the next day. I saw Larry Ellison do this at Antigua Race Week one year when his yacht Sayonara snapped its mast—and it says everything you need to know about sailing super-Maxi style.

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Rolex Sydney Hobart: Super maxis survive in tough conditions

  • January 6, 2022

Hong Kong’s SHK Scallywag was among three 100ft super maxis who led the charge in the 76th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, with over half the entries unable to finish. Words: Bruce Maxwell. Photos: Rolex / Andrea Francolini.

cost of a super maxi yacht

SHK Scallywag with one reef had more control in increasingly strong southerlies, and drew away from rivals Black Jack and LawConnect

Hong Kong super maxi yacht SHK Scallywag led the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet imperiously out of Sydney Harbour, attracting primetime media coverage, then settled into a “battle of the giants” with two other 100ft super maxis, Black Jack and LawConnect .

Round one clearly went to SHK Scallywag ’s skipper, David Witt, who opted to start, in a building southerly breeze, with one reef in the yacht’s mainsail, which gave him more control and a slight edge in speed.

All three maxis bunched at the leeward end of the first of four starting lines for the 88-strong fleet, and Witt’s tactic paid off. TV cameras constantly zoomed in on SHK Scallywag ’s prominent Hong Kong – Asia’s World City bow artwork as the yacht drew inexorably ahead of her rivals, and led by several boat lengths at the first turning mark inside Sydney Heads. SHK stands for Sun Hung Kai, the long-established financial services and wealth management company of which Scallywag ’s owner Lee Seng Huang is Executive Director.

cost of a super maxi yacht

Skipper David Witt led around the first two marks

In Australia, however, the Malaysia-born businessman, who went to Sydney University, is better known for his role as Executive Director of Mulpha, which owns upmarket residential resorts such as Sanctuary Cove and Hayman Island, and has a portfolio of luxury hotels and other developments. Lee bought the former Dovell-designed Ragamuffin 100 from Syd Fischer in 2016, and as a much-modified Scallywag , she has since acquired copious trophies in Asia and the South Pacific.

Pitted again him was another property magnate, Peter Harburg, with his Reichel-Pugh 100 Black Jack . Well-known in Queensland real estate circles and for his series of ultra-competitive Black Jacks , named in honour of the F1 car racing driver Sir Jack Brabham, Harburg in 2021 chose to enter as a Monaco resident and member of the Yacht Club de Monaco.

Like Lee, he did not actually sail aboard – although both owners and especially Harburg have done so in past events – leaving regular skipper Mark Bradford to oversee a determined Black Jack campaign on the water, after previously winning most East Australian yacht racing accolades except Rolex Sydney Hobart line honours.

cost of a super maxi yacht

Scallywag in the lead, but in the open Pacific, her J2 furler came dangerously adrift

Third in this high-stakes yachting troika was Sydney software guru Christian Beck, sailing his fourth Rolex Sydney Hobart as owner-skipper with sailing masters Tony Mutter and Chris Nicholson. Navigator Brad Kellett, a veteran of 28 editions, was his most experienced crew.

Beck had purchased the former Perpetual Loyal from Anthony Bell in 2017 and renamed the revolutionary Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed 100-footer InfoTrack . This time she was sailing as LawConnect , with an easily readable injunction, at the start, for viewers to contact their local lawyer. Another ongoing innovation is to give some of Beck’s employees a unique opportunity to sail aboard.

“I seriously don’t want to do that first day and night again. Ever!” said Beck when he finally stepped off the yacht in Hobart, so maybe his IT staff were not thanking him quite so profusely as in years past.

cost of a super maxi yacht

Short, steep seas lasted for two nights, and forced half the fleet to withdraw

None of the three owners, nor the skippers, had taken line honours in a Rolex Sydney Hobart before, thus it was game on as the yachts, which included 17 two-handers sailing for the first time, left the

Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Rushcutters Bay on Boxing Day, 26 December, for their respective harbour starting lines.

The 2020 event was cancelled altogether due to Covid, and this 76th one saw two related withdrawals. Many mandatory test results had not been received when the starting gun sounded, but the Tasmanian Government allowed sailors to at least set off, with their status pending.

It was not ideal, and the weather forecast of strong southerlies for the first two days was even more ominous for anyone who has beaten into such wind-over-current seas before.

cost of a super maxi yacht

Black Jack was entered by Queenslander Peter Harburg under Yacht Club de Monaco’s flag

For Asia-based readers, Deacons solicitor Bill Turnbull won the Rolex Sydney Hobart sailing for Hong Kong in Ceil 111 in 1973. Exactly 40 years ago we had a crack at the five-race Southern Cross Cup, entering a Hong Kong team centred on Keith Jacobs’ Bimblegumbie , plus Bill Steele’s chartered Battle Star and my co-chartered Impetuous , but had only modest results in “the Hobart”.

Later Karl Kwok became the first Chinese owner-skipper to win the Rolex Sydney Hobart, with mate Gavin Brady, in his Farr 49 Beau Geste , in that memorable year 1997, when China resumed control of Hong Kong. Beau Geste with Warwick Miller’s Exile and sailmaker Neil Pryde’s Hi Fidelity finally won the Southern Cross Cup that year.

This time, there was no chance that the 628nm race record of 1 day 9 hours 15 minutes 24 seconds set by the French-designed, American-built 100-footer Comanche in 2017 in heavy downwind surfing conditions, would be beaten.

cost of a super maxi yacht

After one of the toughest races in recent decades, Black Jack edges across a relatively calm Storm Bay to take line honours

The southerlies kicked in with a vengeance, gusting 30 knots to begin. Scallywag rounded the second ocean mark still handily ahead, but then off famous Bondi Beach, with the bow pointing more towards Hobart, the J2 furling forestay came adrift, and its heavy black furler scythed alarmingly backwards and forwards across the yacht at head height as crew fought in breaking seas to stabilise it and the still-attached sail.

Scallywag had to head north before they could contain it, and get a storm jib up on an inner forestay. LawConnect and Black Jack sailed past, taking over the lead. It was the first of many trials and tribulations.

Said Witt later: “The crew did an amazing job. We probably don’t deserve to have a 100-footer arrive here in Hobart, given the condition that the boat ended up in after that first night.

cost of a super maxi yacht

Breakages took their toll on LawConnect, as well as Scallywag

“We broke the J2 tack again , and those two times cost us 20 miles. Then we lost all the electronics, and had to sail three quarters of the race with no instruments. In a yacht this size, that’s a pretty difficult thing to do. The last straw was the PLC – Programable Logic Controller – shutting down, so we couldn’t turn the winches. At one stage we were trying to hand-wind the top of the winches.”

Black Jack and LawConnect had their share of problems too, and as winds eased a little off the Tasmanian Coast, SHK Scallywag surprisingly fought back into second place. But Black Jack ’s 10-15nm lead at this stage proved decisive in negotiating Storm Bay and the tricky tidal Derwent River to reach Hobart. She crossed the line at 1.37am on December 29 to claim the JH Illingworth Challenge Cup – Illingworth won the first Rolex Sydney Hobart in Rani in 1944 – with an elapsed time of 2 days 12 hours 37 minutes 17 seconds.

LawConnect and SHK Scallywag crept in at dawn, three hours later, with Christian Beck’s boat 19 minutes ahead. Thus the line honours order was officially 1 Monaco, 2 Australia, 3 Hong Kong, although this international result somewhat belies the chaos caused by covid-induced inabilities to travel in the lead-up and running of the 76th race.

cost of a super maxi yacht

Scallywag finished third, 19 minutes behind LawConnect

Witt in particular was hard hit. He and wife Kim came down with Covid in the Philippines, and at other times he was unable to commute from home in Hong Kong to Australia where the boat was located. By the time this leading trio finished, nearly half the fleet had retired with equipment malfunctions, breakages and personal injuries accounting for most of the casualties. Among them was sometime Thailand and Tasmanian resident Phil Turner’s Reichel-Pugh 66 Alive .

Fourth across the line was the Botin 80 Stefan Racing , skippered by co-owner Grant Wharington, which used to be one of Karl Kwok’s Beau Gestes , and fifth came the Judel-Vrolijk 62 Whisper owned by David Griffith. This yacht was formerly called Chinese Whisper , a phrase denoting soft speaking in English, maybe in the fond hope that crew would refrain from shouting at each other.

An impressive 87 female crew entered the race. They included Lin Jiang Hui, hailing originally from the Min River in Sichuan, sailing double-handed with Jean-Charles Ledun, but this duo pulled out early, reportedly due to a hand injury.

cost of a super maxi yacht

TP52 Celestial rounds the ‘organ pipes’ at Cape Raoul after the incident in which she was unreachable by radio for 90 minutes

The debut of the Two-Handed Class caused some controversy over their permitted use of automatic pilots, and they were not eligible for the overall Tattersall Cup, the premier handicap trophy of the Rolex Sydney Hobart, although the CYCA has undertaken to review their status in time for the December 2022 event.

Handicap honours eventually went to former CYCA Commodore Matt Allen in his TP52 Ichi Ban – Number One in Japanese – and as he also won in 2017 and 2019, this elevated him to the august ranks of a triple champion.

The only others were boat builders Trygve and Magnus Halvorsen in Freya , a 39-foot wooden cutter, in 1963-64-65, and property developer Peter Kurts and his son Simon in the classic also-wooden Sparkman & Stephens 47 Love & War in 1974-78 and 2006.

Allen is well-known in Southeast Asia and East Asia, having raced in the region after crewing on another Rolex Sydney Hobart winner, the legendary Lou Abrahams’ Challenge , as a 17-year-old in 1983, and he sails with Irish pro Gordon Maguire, who helmed in high-profile Asian yacht campaigns years ago.

cost of a super maxi yacht

Hard on her heels was TP52 Ichi Ban, the eventual handicap winner and the third yacht to win three times on handicap

His victory this year came after a protest against rival TP52 owner and CYCA director Sam Haynes in Celestial , which would otherwise have won.

The Race Committee also protested Celestial . The issue was that a Celestial crew’s personal emergency beacon had been activated, one of 13 such cases in the rough first two days of the race. Other yachts confirmed by radio – some taking 25 minutes to respond – that alarms had been set off accidentally as crew were thrown about the boats, below and above deck, and everyone was still aboard.

Celestial , however, couldn’t be contacted, despite a race requirement that a listening watch be kept at all times. Emergency air-sea rescue services, which did such a phenomenal job in the disastrous 1998 Rolex Sydney Hobart, when miraculously only six yachtsmen lost their lives, were on standby.

Ichi Ban , the nearest yacht, sailing seven miles away, was asked to contact Celestial by VHF, but attempts went unanswered. She then launched a white flare, followed some time later by a red distress flare, to try to attract attention, finally succeeding in making contact.

cost of a super maxi yacht

The complex protest between the Race Committee and Celestial, and by Ichi Ban claiming time redress, lasted over four hours

In Hobart the sailing judges heard that Celestial had a noisy engine running to power electrics, and the navigator was trying to use a hand-held VHF feed on deck. The crew were exhausted after battling heavy seas, and they had been out of contact for only 90 minutes.

The panel comprised David Tillett (AUS), Rosemary Collins (AUS), John Doerr (GBR), Russel Green (NZL), Jamie Sutherland (NZL) and Philippe Mazard (FRA).

It was decided that a time penalty of 40 minutes would be imposed in lieu of disqualification for breaching the rule, and Ichi Ban was awarded a three-minute time deduction for her own efforts, which had distracted from racing the yacht. The panel later, on January 1, rejected a Request to Reopen hearings by Celestial .

“To win with Ichi Ban a third time is unbelievable”, said Allen. “It is always better, ideally, not to go into the protest room to decide matters. I’ve been involved in protests probably no more than six times in my lifetime.

cost of a super maxi yacht

Ichi Ban owner-skipper Matt Allen with a specially engraved Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht Master, presented by Benoit Falletti of Rolex Australia

“But obviously the Race Committee also protested. Sailing has many rules to it, and they are important to abide by, especially the ones related to safety.”

Ten of the 17 starters in the inaugural Two-Handed Division made it to Hobart. Line honours went to the Tasmanian duo of Rob Gough and John Saul sailing Sidewinder , a 12m French design well set up for heavy ocean racing. Winner under several handicap systems, however, was the J99 Disko Trooper named after the lead character in Rudyard Kipling’s Captains Courageous , one Disko Troop.

A couple of Laser sailors, Jules Hall and Jan ‘Clogs’ Scholten, were aboard, and they were sponsored by Scholten’s company Contender Sailcloth. Also with a podium finish was Crux , an S&S 34 crewed by Carlos Aydos and Peter Grayson.

Kialoa 11 , one of the legendary American Jim Kilroy’s early steeds, took part in the 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart, and last boat home was the 71-year-old Halvorsen 36 Solveig , which crossed the finish line at 08:42:11 on the morning of January 1.

Y focus on carbon: Custom Tripp 90 by YYachts Specialising in luxury carbon sailing yachts from 70-100ft, Germany’s YYachts has launched its custom-built Tripp 90, which features an exterior by Bill Tripp and a richly detailed interior by Winch Design – and will be followed by the Y9 model in 2022. By John Higginson.

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Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2024

cost of a super maxi yacht

  • About the race
  • Southern Cross Cup
  • Race Reports
  • Start & Finish Villages
  • Hobart & Beyond
  • 2020 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - List of Entries

As the then Governor of Tasmania, Sir Guy Green, observed at the prizegiving for the 2001 race, it is indeed an egalitarian event, attracting yachts as small as 30-footers and as big as 100-footers, sailed by crews who range from weekend club sailors to professionals from the America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race circuits.

Landfall in it's original form - it has never been rebuilt

The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is a classic long ocean race open to anyone who owns a yacht that qualifies for this challenging event and which meets all the safety requirements of a Category 1 safety race.

In the earliest years of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, all the yachts were built from timber - heavy displacement cutters, sloops, yawls, schooners and ketches designed more for cruising than racing.

The increasing popularity of the 628 nautical Christmas-New Year sail south to Hobart quickly began to attract new designs and innovative ideas in boat-building, sails and rigs…dacron sails and aluminium masts and in the early 1950s, the first boats built of GRP (glass reinforced plastic) or fibreglass as is the more common phrase.  Then came aluminium, steel (mostly home-built) and even one maxi yacht built of ferro cement.

Innovative Australian yacht designers such as the Halvorsen brothers, Trygve and Magnus, and the late Allan Payne and Bob Miller (Ben Lexcen) produced faster boats and the race was on to create line and overall handicap winners. Prof. Peter Joubert, a part-time designer of stout cruiser/racers, and John King were other Australians who produced winning boats.

Following in their wake are currently successful designers such as Iain Murray and his partners, Andy Dovell and Ian "Fresh" Burns, along with Scott Jutson, David Lyons and Robert Hick.

New Zealander Bruce Farr, now based on the US, led the move towards light displacement yachts and is by far the most successful designer of Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race overall winners under different international handicap systems, first IOR (International Offshore Rule), then IMS (International Measurement System), and now IRC.

The space age has had a significant spin-off for yacht racing, first in the America's Cup and then in the design and construction of ocean racing yachts, introducing composite construction of boat hulls, using Kelvar and other manmade fibres in moulding the hulls in high-tech ovens.

In the past few years carbon fibre has been used successfully to build yacht hulls, masts and spars and in the construction of working sails (mainsails and genoas/jibs). The multiple line honours winner Wild Oats XI is the latest example of almost total use of carbon fibre in its hull, mast, boom and working sails.

The fleet in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is virtually all sloops (mainsail and one foresail genoa or jibs) but several of the maxi yachts with a big fore-triangle (between the foredeck, the forestay and the mast) are successfully using two headsails on close reaching races, theoretically making them cutters.

At the small end of the 2016 fleet, Sean Langman's Maluka of Kermandie was the oldest and smallest yacht to compete, and Michael Strong’s pretty wood S&S design No. 54, Landfall, the second oldest. Landfall is the first S&S built outside the USA - by Percy Coverdale at Battery Point in Tasmania. In her other Hobarts, she finished seventh in 1952, retired in 1954, and at age 40, finished 52 nd  in 1976. Landfall returned to the race after a long absence to celebrate her 80 th  birthday in the 70 th  Hobart in 2014, but retired with sail damage, and again in 2015 retired with hull damage. 

2016 Overall Winner, Giacomo (NZL), is a true to form Volvo 70. Formerly Groupama 4, winner of the 2011-2012 VOR, Jim Delegat bought her in 2013. Delegat and his crew spent the 2016 summer season away in Sydney in an attempt to top the board in the Rolex Sydney Hobart, following his 2013 and 2014 campaigns, in which he finished sixth on line and 22 nd  overall to Black Jack’s fourth, and 36 th  overall - and dismasting off the Tasmanian coast in 2014. 

One of the most innovative and uniquely designed yachts the race has ever seen is Ludde Ingvall’s old 90ft maxi Nicorette, made over as a 100ft super maxi, CQS, which was launched in November 2016 in New Zealand where she was rebuilt. Working with a top technical team including yacht designers, engineers, yacht builders, rig designers and sail makers, he produced a boat that pushes the boundaries. The distinctive new hull shape features a reverse bow, an outsized bowsprit, ‘wings’ to spread the shroud base supporting the mast and a wide platform across the cockpit area. With such a short lead time to the 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart, the capabilities of the boat weren't able to be reached in the race, including some damage to the hydrofoils, resulting in seventh on line. 

100ft super maxi Perpetual LOYAL, smashed the race record set by Wild Oats XI in 2012 by almost five hours, to stand at one day 13 hours 31 minutes and 20 seconds. Perpetual LOYAL is the former Speedboat and Rambler, and was slated ‘the fastest super maxi in the world’, and has now proved it in Australia. After retiring from both the 2014 and 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobarts, she underwent some technical developments, which paid off in the return of line honours and race record. 

The wide downwind racer, Jim Cooney & Samantha Grant's LDV Comanche  then came back in 2017 to show her prowess and carve nearly seven hours off the previous record. This set the new record to 1 day 9 hours 15 minutes and 24 seconds.

Divisions in the Rolex Sydney Hobart

There are many divisions in the race, which are dependent on a variety of factors; boat measurements such as weight, length and age, rig size, sail area, and any performance modifications on the boat. Here's a run down:

IRC is a time correction rating system used extensively in yacht racing around the world. Under this system, a yacht’s finishing time (elapsed time from start to finish) is multiplied by its IRC rating number to determine a corrected time. A boat’s rating is calculated by an independent body (RORC), using measurements of the boat; the length, weight, draft, rig size, sail area, and specific characteristics and features.

The resulting time corrector, or the boat’s ‘TCC’, is her handicap. The higher the TCC figure, the faster the boat's potential speed. When the last boat arrives in Hobart, the corrected times of every boat in IRC fleet will be compared and the one with the lowest time after correction will be declared the overall winner. In theory at least, this system ensures that any well-sailed boat, regardless of its age or level of technology, can win. 

Seen by its advocates among grand prix yacht owners as a more transparent rule and a truer reflection of a boat’s performance based on the old IMS system, ORCi is the other rating handicap system used in the Rolex Sydney Hobart. 

ORC Rating Systems use science and technology to develop its handicap systems. With a complete set of measurements of the hull, stability, rig and sails, it is then possible to use computer software, known as Velocity Prediction Program, to calculate the theoretical speeds for the boat in various wind conditions. This way, ORCi can tell you the performance differences between different boats in different wind conditions and course geometries.

Results for ORCi are decided by the application of the Time-on-Time Simplified Scoring System as a multiplier of elapsed time. The boat with the lowest corrected time (after application of scoring penalties, if any) will be scored first in each division.

PHS is a performance-based handicap system, with yachts being allocated a performance or arbitrary handicap. PHS division strives to give all entrants a chance of winning, provided they sail reasonably well. This is not a boat measurement based handicap, but is based on the "performance" of a particular boat. The Handicap for each race is mathematically calculated using data from all previous races. 

Results will be calculated by the application of Time Correction Factors (TCFs) as a multiplier of elapsed time. Yachts entering the IRC or ORCi handicap categories may not enter the PHS category.

A Verteran entrant is a yacht which is competing under the IRC rating system and was build prior to 1994. These entrants can also be entered in to the Overall IRC category to compete against all other yachts.

Grand Veteran

A Grand Verteran entrant is a yacht which is competing under the IRC rating system and was build prior to 1976. These entrants can also be entered in to the Overall IRC category and the Veterans category.

Corinthian Division

A Corinthian is an amatuer sailor, a Group 1, non-professional as classified by World Sailing. It states: A competitor who takes part in racing, only as a pastime, is a Group 1 competitor.

Results for the Corinthian division, are calculated by the application of PHS Time Correction Factors (TCF's) as a multiplier of elapsed time. A boat's TCF will be determined by the Race Committee or its nominee. The boat with the lowest corrected time (after application of scoring penalties, if any) will be scored first.

Cruising Division

The Cruising Division is scored on a points system. 

Prior to 9am on Race Day, a boat in the Cruising Division may nominate their predicted dates and times at which they will pass through the latitudes 36°S, 38°S, 40°S and 42°S, and when they will finish.

For example, a boat receives 20 points for first passing through the specified latitude or finishing within 1 hour of its nominated date and time, 10 points for doing so between one and two hours of its nominated date and time etc.

Points will also be awarded or deducted based on engine and autopilot usage during the race. The boat with the highest number of points (after application of scoring penalties, if any) shall be scored first.


Shop the official clothing range of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in person at the Club in New South Head Road, Darling Point or online below.  

From casual to technical clothing, there is something for all occasions. Be quick as stock is limited!

What Is A Maxi Yacht?

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Wondering what is a maxi yacht? This type of large sailing vessel is extremely popular in the Whitsunday Islands , which happens to be one of the world’s most breathtaking sailing destinations! So if you’re planning a boat trip through the Whitsundays , you may want to brush up on your knowledge of maxi yachts and consider hopping on one for your exploration of the Coral Sea!

yacht at sea

A maxi yacht generally refers to a racing yacht that is over 21 or 22 meters in length (68-71 feet). Though they are often built and designed for racing, many maxis are converted into tour boats after their racing careers. But many maxis have fascinating histories, whether it’s competing in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race or taking on global sailing expeditions. 

Because these boats are built with premium materials and engineering processes, they have superior speed and sailing capabilities compared to other catamarans or power boats. A maxi yacht can cost millions of dollars to build and maintain, so you can be sure you’re stepping aboard a top-notch vessel when you hop onto a maxi! 

Atlantic Clipper

Maxi Boat Tours In The Whitsundays

If you’re looking for the ultimate sailing experience in the Whitsundays , a maxi yacht boat tour is the way to go. They are some of the fastest boats, meaning you can cover more ground and see more sights in less time. Most maxi tours are 2 nights, with either 2 or 3 days for exploring. So you’ll get to pack in so much sightseeing in the Whitsundays during your tour!

Super maxi yachts are also the most spacious options for boat tours in the Whitsundays. There are often extensive cabins and saloons that allow ample space for relaxing on board. Often carrying groups of around 20-30 passengers, you’ll have a fun, social experience aboard a maxi yacht. 

Check out our top maxi tours here!

tour group on board a boat

Best Super Maxi Yachts in the Whitsundays

Once you’ve decided to board a maxi yacht for your Whitsunday adventure, you may be wondering what are the best super maxi boat tours to choose from. Here is a quick overview of the top maxi yachts where you can have the sailing experience of a lifetime in the beautiful Whitsunday Islands . 

All maxi sailing tours visit the iconic Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet Lookout , as well as numerous marine life-rich snorkeling spots . They also include all food throughout the tour, and many are BYO alcohol. 

group tour whitehaven

British Defender

British Defender is one of the most incredible maxis in the Whitsundays! At 77 feet long, this sturdy and spacious vessel was built in 1989 and has sailed all over the world. There are 3 bathrooms on board, each with a hot shower, as well as single and double bunks that can fit a total of 28 guests. 

As you sail to Whitehaven Beach and numerous excellent snorkeling spots over 2 day and 2 nights, passengers can get involved and help the crew with sailing! British Defender is also the only maxi in the Whitsundays with air-conditioning! If you’re visiting Tropical North Queensland during the hot summer months, you’ll definitely want that air-con so you can eat, sleep, and relax in comfort. 

British Defender is also available for private charter!

British Defender at sea

This 3-day, 2-night maxi tour is another one of the top sailing tours. Apollo has an extensive and successful racing history! This boat has won every major race on the east coast of Australia and is now one of the most comfortable tour boats in the Whitsundays. 

On your tour with Apollo, you’ll visit gorgeous local spots like Stonehaven Bay, Nara Inlet, Langford Reef, and of course, Whitehaven Beach . Apollo also offers the perfect balance of fun and relaxation. This 75-foot-long maxi has space for 26 guests, so you can make new friends but it’s not a party boat so you’ll be able to enjoy some serenity on your tour as well. After being fully refitted in 2022, Apollo is running better than ever!

Apollo is also available for private charter!

sailboat whitsundays

Siska offers a 2-day, 1-night tour that is the perfect social experience for young people ages 18-35. With only 24 guests on board, you’ll be able to make new friends without feeling too crowded on this luxurious maxi yacht. 

There is a spacious saloon with two dining tables, and an extensive awning that will provide some shady relaxation spots when anchored. Because Siska only runs for 2 days and 1 night, it’s a great overnight maxi tour for those who are short on time. But if you have at least 2 nights to spare exploring the Whitsundays, British Defender or Apollo are the ideal options!

Siska is also available for private charter!

siska sailboat at sea

Live chat with our travel experts or call us at +61 7 4914 2425 if you have any questions about planning your Whitsunday sailing trip!

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Crew is one of the largest expenses on a superyacht and critical to the owner’s enjoyment of their vessel. As the largest crew agency in the world, we know crew. Our cost calculator contains customized crew lists for yachts ranging from 80ft to 600ft with salary information based on our reference verified salary data.

Our users also have the ability to completely tailor the crew list to the specific needs, schedule and requirements of their vessel. Each yacht is unique and may have specific owner requests in addition to the yacht’s safe manning requirements.

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Our yacht operating cost calculator is now on it’s third major revision. We start with actual yacht expense data from our yacht management accountants and then generate formulas to extrapolate out the budget for a wide range of yachts. We have been providing accounting services to large yachts for the past 18 years.

Our operating cost calculator is tuned for yachts from 80 to 600 feet. We find operating variables create the largest variances for yachts smaller than 100 feet and larger than 250 feet. We have tested the numbers the most in the range from 100 to 250 feet.

Our budget calculator factors in the fuel burn for a range of engine sizes typically seen installed on yachts by length. By dragging the green “fuel dockage” slider to the right you will increase the projected fuel burn rate and therefore the budget cost for fuel. Our default position would be for a typical displacement fuel burn. Position the slider in the 60-80% range for fuel projections for planning hulls.

Our default values produce a budget number that we believe is generous to run a yacht to a high standard. Perfect is a very expensive word to use in the yachting industry where standards are already high. Moving the crew and maintenance sliders to 80% will provide an “industry best” quality of crew and give them the maintenance budget to operate to a very high standard. If you need to go over the 80% area then you may have unusually labor intensive equipment on the yacht.

Yes, our yacht operating cost calculator can output a budget suitable for this situation. Adjust the owner use to 2 (minimum value), owner slider to 0, crew slider to 10%, Administration to 10%, Fuel and Dockage to 0, Maintenance to 10% and then Capital Repairs to 0. This will remove all of the large charges associated with owner use and vessel movement but leave the essential base maintenance and insurance in place.

Lift on and float in yacht transport is a popular way to transport yachts across large ocean passage. The yachts that this service certainly applies to are ones that may not have the motoring range or structural integrity for blue ocean cruising. The cost of transporting a yacht twice per year is put into our budget once the “Fuel Dockage” slider hits 75%. If your yacht has the range we recommend self-sufficient ocean passages whenever possible. Whilst the transport companies sell their services based upon reportedly well oiled operated schedules the reality is that your yacht may stay waiting for pickup for a week or more with no compensation due. When factoring in all secondary factors of self-sufficient passages (increased fuel, maintenance, potential storm damage, crew time off, extra delivery crew) compared with transporting your yacht (insurance, potential loading / unloading damage, loss of schedule control, no work whilst underway, crew flights, crew accommodation) we believe that there is a 100% premium associated with float in transport and a 75% premium with lift on transport compared with self-powered.

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We did not build this version with sailing yachts in mind. Early in our development of this version we decided to exclude sailing yachts as a few of the major cost drivers scale very differently for sailing yachts compared with motor yachts. For example: To calculate paint costs we reviewed the surface area of over 100 large yachts and created a formula for painted surface area to length. Sailing yachts just don’t scale in a consistent way. Similarly crew numbers don’t scale in the same manner that they do for motor yachts. If there is sufficient demand we may build a sailing selector switch into a future version of this tool.

We hate to hear when yacht owners were told by their broker to factor in 10% of the purchase price to operate the yacht. This over used saying is sadly right occasionally (particularly for newer yachts in the $20-30M range)… but just because a broken watch tells the right time twice a day you shouldn’t rely upon it to tell the time. As yachts get older their capital value decreases but their maintenance costs increase. There is no way that a fixed 10% of purchase cost rule can be true… if your broker told you this rule then you need a new yacht broker… we know some good ones. 😊

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Supermaxi Scallywag has her first outing on Sydney Harbour

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100ft supermaxi Comanche looks set to confirm a new monohull 24 hour distance record

  • Harriett Ferris
  • July 14, 2015

Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark's 'speed-monster' Comanche sailed 620nm over a 24-hour period to scoop the record


The new world sailing speed record for the greatest distance covered by a monohull in a single 24 hour period is now 620nm (subject to ratification by the World Speed Sailing Council). The previous mark was set seven years ago in the Volvo Ocean Race.

The 100ft supermaxi, built for no other purpose than record breaking , looks set to be called the fastest monohull in the world after an incredible perfomance in the Transatlantic Race .

Conditions lent themselves to a record-attempt with a long stretch of strong wind and reasonably flat sea, following a frustrating period of light airs.

Designed by Guillaume Verdier and VPLP Architects and launched in late 2014, the yacht put in an impressive perfomance in the Sydney Hobart Race but narrowly missed out on the top spot, taking 2nd place in her first appearance on the racecourse.

Comanche finished the 2,800 mile race at 01:49 GMT on Monday 13th July, sailing from Newport to Plymouth in a startling 7d 11h 35m 11s .


(The only boat to complete the course in an even shorter time was the MOD 70 trimaran Phaedo3, with an elapsed time of  7 days, 2 hours, 4 minutes, 9 seconds. Watch their incredible video here )

Comanche’s skipper Ken Read sent in this report from onboard:

“What started off as a very frustrating light air Transatlantic Race 2015 has turned to gold for all of us aboard Hodgdon’s 100 foot super-maxi Comanche. Approximately 1300 miles out of Newport, Rhode Island in the North Atlantic we set up underneath an approaching low pressure. We’ve had a phenomenal stretch of strong wind and reasonably flat sea which has propelled us to what we believe is a new record for the greatest distance covered by a monohull in a single 24-hour period.”

COMMENT: Launched: the fastest monohull ever?

GALLERY: Super-maxi Comanche, a yacht so beamy she’s christened the Aircraft Carrier

After jibing to starboard about midnight EST on July 9th navigator Stan Honey and I had a long talk about the chance that we had a possible weather and race course window that may give us a run at the 24 hour record. The previous 24-hour monohull distance record was set by Ericsson 4, skippered by Torben Grael in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 race. They covered 596.6 nautical miles (1104.9 km) during Leg 1 between Alicante, Spain and Cape Town, South Africa with an average speed of 24.85 knots (46.02 kilometres per hour)

Comanche was built with the ability to sail the boat using only human power, allowing the boat to qualify for record attempts like this. Stan and I decided at that time to sail the boat during the entire time period surrounding any possible 24 hour record in the manual power configuration that the WSSRC requires. Turns out this was probably our best decision of the race so far!

The 20 person crew aboard couldn’t be more proud of this achievement. A special thanks to Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark, the designers, the builder – Hodgdon Yachts – that helps manage this amazing campaign. And of course thanks to Comanche for seriously having some jets.”

Follow the tracker for the Transatlantic Race and see the rest of the fleet’s progress here

Watch Comanche in action below:


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