The start of the second Sydney Hobart race, December 26, 1946
60 x 90 cm
Depicted in A D Blake outstanding work is the start of the 1946 Sydney Hobart Race. The startline was changed from near Sydney Heads to a location between Shark and Clark Islands. A total of nineteen yachts started, ten from NSW, five from Tasmania, three from Victoria and the 1905 Logan designed Ilex from New Zealand. Thousands of people cheered the competitors from spectator boats and vantage points around Sydney Harbour. Seven yachts retired due to heavy weather and 55 knot winds in Bass Strait, with twelve yachts finishing.
To the left is the start boat, a Royal Australian Airforce launch with the airforce roundel painted on the bows and committee members from The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia onboard.The start gun has just been fired and Saga, sailed by the Halvorsen team is first across the line. Morna, the largest yacht in the race follows closely. Both Saga and Morna have got the first slight wind gusts and are leaning over further than the rest of the fleet which are being blanketed by Morna's larger sails.
Astern of Morna is Merlin with a crewman on the bow. Just to leeward of Merlin is the small gaff-rigged ketch Connella. To windward of Merlin, with the top of the mainsail just visible, is the cutter Active. To leeward of Connella is the schooner Osirius and astern of her, the gaff rigged 8 metre cutter Defiance. Until becoming becalmed for eleven hours in the Derwent River, Saga was winning the race on handicap. She finished second whilst Christina the smallest yacht in the race was the winner. Sydney's famous Rose Bay provides the backdrop of this modern day heirloom.