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This Cat Is Sailing in a Historic Boat Race (He’s Not Really in It to Win It)

Have you ever met a cat with sea legs? Or a cat that likes water even a little bit? Meet Oli, a cat with a passion for sailing.

Oli is making history. He is the first cat to take part in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2023.

Oli’s owner, Bob Williams, a former naval officer, is at the helm for their entry into this year’s race. Bob has spent his life sailing around the world, and he loves to take loveable Oli with him. “I think Oli quite likes the boat life,” he shared in a recent interview.

Bob, alongside co-skipper Chris Warren, is currently taking part in the race from Sydney, Australia to Hobart, Tasmania. The race started on Boxing Day (December 26), and they are hoping to arrive before New Year’s Eve. You can track their progress on the race’s official website.

They are sailing on the oldest boat in the race, Sylph VI, a 40-foot (12-meter) yacht built in 1960. Bob has sailed around the world 2.5 times in this boat, including a recent circumnavigation of the globe, which saw him sail around the world in 193 days, cruising via all the great capes. Sylph VI has sailed in the Sydney Hobart race six times, but the last time was in 1972.

“She’s an older, heavier boat. We might be at the back of the fleet, but we’re just here to have fun and participate,” said Bob.

The competition is open to smaller boats with two-handed skippers as well as larger super yachts with up to 24 crew. Over 100 yachts are taking part in the race, which has been an Australian sporting tradition since it started in 1945. With a racing distance of 630 nautical miles (1,170 km), it is one of the world’s most challenging offshore yacht races with varying conditions at this time of year.

Best of luck to Bob, Chris, and Oli on their historic race.

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