Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The annual Sydney to Hobart yacht race is one of the year’s most significant maritime sporting events.

Starting in Sydney Harbour before following Australia’s southeast coast down to the Tasmanian capital of Hobart over 628 nautical miles, the race is incredibly picturesque and known for its tough ocean conditions. In Sydney, thousands of people line the cliffs of Sydney Heads to wave more than 100 yachts off, and it is often days until locals greet the vessels as they travel up Tasmania’s Derwent River.

Because of rough weather around the tempestuous Bass Strait that divides Tasmania from mainland Australia, many crews are often forced to withdraw. In 1998, tragedy struck the race and six crew members lost their lives at sea. Read more…

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Images from the world’s most beautiful yacht race will make you want to learn to sail