At exactly 13:00 local time (2:00 GMT, 3:00 Italian time) on December 26, the VOR 70 Maserati, manned by skipper Giovanni Soldini and his 11-strong crew, will line out for the start of the 71st Rolex Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race, one of the world’s toughest and most prestigious sailing challenges.
The 628-nautical mile event always throws up extreme conditions but every year attracts top-level, meticulously-prepared craft that battle it out to the last to take home this much-sought trophy.

Organised by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and the Royal Club of Tasmania, the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race was launched in 1945.
The current speed record was set in 2012 by the Australian yacht Wild Oats XI (winner of eight of the last 10 editions) which covered the distance in one day, 18 hours, 23 seconds and 12 hundredths of a second.
There have also been some positively gruelling editions: in 1998, an unusually vicious storm resulted in the sinking of five boats and the deaths of six sailors. Of the 115 craft that cast off that year, just 44 made it to Hobart. In 2005, another storm meant that only 59 yachts out of 116 completed the race.

Click here to follow Maserati during the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race: