PAGE 118 I LAKES COAST VISITOR GUIDE (except Christmas Day) Lifeline - Eden and the Sydney-Hobart yacht race Sesqui: an event to remember - looking back at Eden’s 150th anniversary BEMM RIVER GIPSY POINT MALLACOOTA EDEN PAMBULA MERIMBULA TATHRA BEGA BERMAGUI Lifeline to sailors in need From late December to early January, as you wander along the beautiful waterfront of Snug Cove, you may witness the gathering of tall masted yachts tied up alongside the wharves. Most of these will be competitors on their way to, or returning from, participating in one of the ultimate ocean racing experiences for sailors across the world - the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. For 73 years the Port of Eden has played an important sup- port role for competitors and paying homage to its generous community is a new display at Eden Killer Whale Museum. Its exhibition, Lifeline , plays on the name for the important wire or cable line that runs along the outside deck of a yacht onto which sailors clip themselves as a safety mechanism. The sailing term also neatly sums up the remarkably generous - and sometimes incredibly brave - service extended to sailors in times of need. Now an annual tradition, the race was originally arranged as an informal cruise by a handful of yachts down the east coast in 1945. It was a passing remark by a British naval officer, Captain John Illingworth, that saw it evolve into a competition. Nine yachts entered the race, the first crossing the line after six days, 14 hours and 22 minutes. In 2017, a new race record was achieved by maxi yacht, Comanche, finishing in one day, nine hours and 15 minutes. Beginning in Sydney on Boxing Day (December 26), Sydney-Hobart competitors face some of the toughest ocean and weather conditions as they travel 628 nautical miles, or 1163 kilometres, down the south-eastern Australian coastline, across Bass Strait, then south along the east coast of Tasmania before heading up into the River Derwent, finishing at Hobart. A lot can happen in those early hours between leaving Sydney Heads and arriving off the New South Wales Far South Coast, sickness, equipment and vessel failure or unpredictable weather changes all having the potential for significant impact on competitors. Before and after the race, Eden’s relatively safe harbour is a place to rest and replenish stores. During the race however, Eden is the last safe place for yachts to retire before crossing Bass Strait, and the town’s facilities become much more important to injured sailors and damaged vessels. Like in all times of need, Eden’s community comes together to provide supplies, accommodation, transport and solace to the weary, and sometimes battered, sailors. Alongside Eden’s emergency service workers, volunteers of Eden Marine Rescue and the Twofold Bay Yacht Club, and the wider general community, continue to provide support during the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Lifeline looks back at Eden’s participation in one of Australia’s major sporting events of the year, the exhibition running through until March 10, 2019. Eden provides shelter and a place to resupply before and after the Sydney-Hobart yacht race each year. PICTURED: Yachts returning from the 1982 race. Photo: Magnet Newspaper Photographic Collection. Eden Killer Whale Museum.