What's the prize?
There are two trophies on offer for the Sydney to Hobart. The first boat to reach the finish line in Hobart receives the J.H. Illingworth trophy, named after the first skipper to ever win the race. The overall winner, decided on handicap, receives the Tattersall Cup. There is no money for either winner.
How old is the Hobart?
The Sydney to Hobart has been running since 1945, making this the 74th edition of the blue water classic.
How long is the race?
The race is 1163 kilometres, or about 628 nautical miles, long. That is shorter than some ocean races but the challenge is just as tough and unpredictable.
Which boats are competing?
There are 85 entrants in the race, with 11 of that number from overseas. Next year, for the 75th anniversary, more than double that number could enter. For the 50th race in 1974, 371 crew set sail.
Who are the contenders?
The unpredictable nature of the Sydney to Hobart has produced countless upsets, but last year's winners Ichi Ban and Comanche start as favourites to take overall and line honours respectively. Teasing Machine and Wild Oats XI are also top contenders.
What's the forecast?
Moderate north to north easterly breezes will blow along the coast for the start of the race, with an eddy off the south coast of NSW, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. But the forecast will become more variable by 27 or 28 December, leaving the race for overall honours wide open.
What do the bookies say?
Among the super maxis, BeatEasy has Comanche at $1.85, Wild Oats XI at $3, Black Jack at $6, Scallywag at $7 and InfoTrack at $13. Ichi Ban, Teasing Machine and Komatsu are the better's favourites for overall honours at $3, $4.5 and $7 respectively.
Nick is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald.
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