On Boxing Day (26 December) 93 ocean racing yachts set sail on the 630 miles of the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
On Boxing Day (26 December) 93 ocean racing yachts set sail on the 630 miles of the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. First through the straits of Sydney Heads was the fifty-five foot British sloop, Quailo (No. III).
As the yachts turned to starboard to head for Hobart in Tasmania, the winds were moderate from the southeast, and there was a heavy swell running. Generally the weather was warm and fine and the competitors could look forward to a good first day's sailing.
The Sydney to Hobart Race is the final event in the southern Cross Yachting Series, and this year it began with the defending champions, New Zealand, leading in the series with 274 points. Second were Britain with 217, third Hong Kong (215) and fourth New South Wales (201). The number of competitors at the starting line was a record, beating the previous record of 79 which was set up last year.
The first day of the race was tragically marred on Wednesday night, by the death of a 20 year-old New Zealand crewmen. John Sarney of Auckland was found dead in his bunk on board the New Zealand sloop Inca during the night. It is believed he died of acute heart failure caused by a chronic rheumatic heart condition. The body was taken ashore at Jervis Bay, about 100 miles south of Sydney. Inca resumed the race, but without skipper Even Julian, who accompanied the body ashore.