CNN Presents:1998 Sydney-to-Hobart Yacht Race

The deadly 1998 ocean yacht race from Sydney, Australia to Hobart, Tasmania that killed six people will be the focus of CNN Presents on Sunday, June 10, at 10 p.m. (ET) on CNN/U.S. Featuring rare footage of the race and rescues, the documentary airs in conjunction with a newly released Little, Brown & Co.-published book on the same subject and is told from the perspective of the sailors and rescuers who lived through the event. The book, also titled The Proving Ground, is written by journalist Bruce Knecht. Every year on the day after Christmas, dozens of yachts set sail as ...

May 22nd 2001

The deadly 1998 ocean yacht race from Sydney, Australia to Hobart, Tasmania that killed six people will be the focus of CNN Presents on Sunday, June 10, at 10 p.m. (ET) on CNN/U.S. Featuring rare footage of the race and rescues, the documentary airs in conjunction with a newly released Little, Brown & Co.-published book on the same subject and is told from the perspective of the sailors and rescuers who lived through the event. The book, also titled The Proving Ground, is written by journalist Bruce Knecht.

Every year on the day after Christmas, dozens of yachts set sail as part of the annual tradition known as the Sydney-to-Hobart Yacht Race. The 630-mile race is considered to be one of the world’s fastest, most exciting races and draws the richest and most sophisticated sailors from around the world. Though the race has always been considered dangerous, no race compares to the 1998 disaster. Of the 115 sailboats that began, 44 finished, 12 were abandoned and four sank without a trace. Not 24 hours into the journey, hurricane-force winds with 80-foot waves had eviscerated the fleet. Though severe storm warning was issued on the second day of the race, most boats, including Sayonara, owned by Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison, continued toward the finish line.

In CNN’s documentary, Ellison recalls looking at the laptop computers used on his boat. After he saw a satellite-generated image of a cyclone-like cloud pattern, he asked yacht navigator Mark Rudiger: “Have you ever seen anything like this?” When Rudiger did not respond, Ellison continued: “Well, I have… it was called a hurricane.”
The film is an ITN Factual Production for Channel 4 Television Corporation and CNN. It was written and directed by Louise Osmand.

CNN Presents airs on CNN/U.S. Sundays from 10-11 p.m. (ET) and is anchored by CNN’s Leon Harris. The documentary series provides engaging, single-topic stories from CNN correspondents and producers worldwide. Vivian Schiller, who oversees CNN Productions, is executive producer of the series.