The gruelling 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race was marked by strong winds and rough seas, but it was Monaco Yacht Club registered Black Jack that took home the title with a time of just over two days and 12 hours.
It wasn’t the fastest race time the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has ever clocked, but it was good enough to awards a prize after two days of brutal conditions. With its Monaco flag, Peter Harburg’s Black Jack was the first to cross the finish line in the notoriously tough event, winning with a time of two days, 12 hours, 37 minutes and 17 seconds.
Organised by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia since 1945, and supported by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, the 2021 version put racers through their paces with relentless seas, shifting winds and strong opposing currents.
The course, which runs for 628 nautical miles (1,163 km) is traditionally hailed as one of the world’s hardest due to choppy seas, often accompanied by severe weather. This year’s race saw 36 of the 88 competitors forced to retire.
In the slowest time since 2004, Black Jack had been in a three-way battle down Tasmania’s east coast beating out LawConnect, who came in second, and third place SHK Scallywag 100.
“It was tough in the beginning. The first 30 hours were pretty rugged,” Black Jack skipper Mark Bradford said. “We had a tough race with both the other (supermaxis). We dropped Scallywag at the end for a bit but she came back and LawConnect was right there the whole way.”
Black Jack claimed line honours for the Sydney to Hobart back in 2009 under the name Alfa Romeo, finished fifth in the 2019 edition of the race, and came in a close second to Wild Oats XI in 2018, missing the top spot by a mere 28 minutes.
Owner Harburg was not on the boat this year, saying he would “let the crew do what they do best”, but greeted it at Constitution Dock in Hobart after their win.