Chasing titles and records in Sydney to Auckland Ocean Race 2025

Both the reigning line honours champion and overall winner of Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club’s inaugural Sydney to Auckland Ocean Race are to return for the second edition of the race in 2025 in a bid to reclaim the titles they captured.

Geoff Hill, owner and skipper of Antipodes, a Santa Cruz 72 from Hong Kong, took line honours and set the benchmark race record of 5 days, three hours, 37 minutes, 57 seconds in the inaugural race in 2023.

The draw to returning, he said, “Is the crew. We really enjoyed the race and the core of my crew will be unchanged from last time.

“It’s a genuine offshore race and frankly, it’s more challenging than any of the other offshore races I’ve done in and from Australia,” Hill claimed.

“It’s a long race and you feel like you’re conquering one of the most dangerous seas in the world. The Club (RPAYC) did a smart thing by taking Clouds’ (notable meteorologist Roger Badham OAM) advice to hold the race when the Tasman is at its best behaved.”

The 1250 nautical mile marathon across the Tasman Sea is one of the most notorious ocean crossings in the world and Badham, who has forecast weather for major sailing teams worldwide, describes the Tasman as “A tough little piece of ocean.”

“These are all the reasons  why we’re doing it again,” Hill  said of the race which is set to start on Sydney Harbour on 11 October 2025 at 1pm.

Michael Martin, a former Wallabies player, won the inaugural race overall, so Frantic was the first name engraved on the Sir Lipton Cup Perpetual Trophy for the race. This after finishing second over the line, little more than an hour behind Antipodes.

Incidentally, Martin’s TP52 from Newcastle previously belonged to Geoff Hill, who raced it as Strewth mainly in Asia, so Hill was pleased to see Frantic do so well in the Sydney to Auckland Ocean Race.

“I used to be into surfing, but after a couple of operations, I had to get a bigger surfboard, so I bought Frantic! It’s a TP52 that goes well downwind because it was built for islands sailing,” Martin said. “There’s plenty of room below too, so it’s comfortable for the crew as far as TP52s go.” 

Martin is a good chance to retain the overall race title. No one-hit wonder, he also sailed Frantic to line honours in the 2018 Sydney Noumea Race record, smashing the race record into the bargain.

And he is an enthusiastic supporter of the race: “Tradewinds, swell, surf and a long race. It was a great race with plenty of wind.

“We had a ball when we got to Auckland too. Both clubs (RPAYC and race partner, Royal Akarana Yacht Club) were hospitable, We stayed after the race and did the PIC Coastal Classic that got us to the top end and then had a great cruise home. You usually get reaching conditions when you hit the coast on the way back. Perfect for us.

“The Alfreds did a good job – they do it well. They have sensible rules and really look after everyone.”

Among others joining the formidable pair in Australia’s longest ocean is the first multihull entry, Wind Cheetah. The Arber 38 Cat Southeaster is owned by RPAYC member, Darren Drew, who is one of the local entries hoping for a ‘home’ victory this time around.

“We’re entered in the 2025 Sydney to Auckland Yacht Race and it’s going to be an epic adventure,” says Drew who is looking forward to the challenge.

Throwing down the gauntlet, Drew, who competes locally and interstate says, “We’re looking forward to more multis joining us in the race.”

The Sydney to Auckland Ocean Race is a Category 1 race open to fully crewed racing and cruising yachts, two-handed yachts, superyachts and ocean-going multihulls. It is jointly hosted by the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (RPAYC) in Sydney and Royal Akarana Yacht Club (RAYC) in Auckland.

After exiting Sydney Harbour, the fleet will head north before rounding a turning mark off Barrenjoey Headland and setting sail on the trans-Tasman crossing towards the ultimate prize of the historic Lipton Cup awarded to the overall winner.

Enter before 11 October 2024 to take advantage of the Early Bird discount entry fee.

Otherwise, entries close on 11 September 2025. For all information, including access and Notice of Race, please visit: www.sydneytoauckland.com

For enquiries regarding the race, please contact Race Director, Nick Elliott on +61 2 9998-3700 or email: nick.elliott@rpayc.com.au

By Di Pearson/Sydney to Auckland media

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