A Boxing Day Tradition

annual events, national parks, Sydney

Merry Christmas! Or, if you really want to get into the Aussie spirit – Happy Chrissie! And for those Down Under, a Happy Boxing Day to you.

In the States, of course, we do not celebrate Boxing Day, and I remember people there sometimes saying that it was so named because it was the day the you returned your presents. I always thought that sounded silly, so I latched on when someone told me that it was so-called because it was the day the British servants got the day off to celebrate Christmas, so the aristocracy had to eat boxed dinners. That sounded logical to me, and I have often gotten my smugly on and repeated it. Humble pie for me, though, as I learned yesterday, that it probably actually has something to do with charity boxes, but no one really knows.

In any case, one of the biggest Boxing Day events in Sydney is the launch of the Sydney to Hobart sailing race. We missed it last year because we were out of town gallivanting with Ned Kelly. This year I very much wanted to go, but it was supposed to rain, and I didn’t actually want to go that much. When I woke up this morning, it was sunny, so I quickly changed gears, and we dashed off to Middle Head to watch the start of the race.

It was packed there, but we found parking and a little corner to set up our picnic blanket, so that was no problem. Partner-in-Crime is a sailor, so he fielded my steady stream of questions about the race and strategies. He was most amused by the amazing amount of maritime paparazzi present. Many people watch the launch from the water in boats, and there were also loads of helicopters over head. P-i-C races a couple times a month and he said, heavens, there had never been any fanfare like that for his races!

We saw the boats get their positions, and maneuver around the starting mark, which took about 20 minutes in all. They’ll be sailing for two or so more days before reaching Hobart, Tasmania. It can be quite a treacherous race, so I wish them all safe travels and speedy delivery.

Wild Oats XI (last year’s winner) and the zebra boat Loyal were waaaaay out front at the start.
This helicopter swooped in for a better shot. It was nuts how close it got to the ship.
More of the race, with the paparazzi.
On to Tassie.