Retirees bring up Sydney to Hobart tail

After more than five days at sea, two retirees have become the final sailors to finish the Sydney to Hobart race, arriving minutes before the New Year.

Kathy Veel, 70, and Bridget Canham, 62, got a view of fireworks on Hobart's River Derwent from the water after crossing the line at 11.42pm on Saturday.

They arrived to revellers chanting 'Currawong' - the name of their 30-foot yacht, the second smallest in the race.

"The welcome was just unbelievable and to get here before the fireworks was just the best," Canham, a former nurse, said.

The pair met sailing with Kerry Goudge's all-female crew in the 1993 Sydney to Hobart, regarded as one of the toughest races conditions-wise.

Veel, a former teacher, had also sailed the 628 nautical mile bluewater classic in 1989 on Belles Ranger, the second all-female crew in the event's history.

"We've had lots of messages of encouragement and a little bit of a following on our Facebook page and crowd funding," she said.

"In the week before the race, the news got out and I've been getting messages from students I used to teach."

Veel, who owns the boat, sailed it from Melbourne to Sydney in the lead-up to the race. The pair entered the Bird Island event in November, opting to sail when others pulled out.

They battled some rough seas after setting out from Sydney on Boxing Day as part of a 109-strong starting fleet and pulled into Eden to avoid the worst of the weather.

Nine of the yachts were forced to retire after suffering damage at sea. Veel said they didn't contemplate pulling out.

"(I thought) 'give me some rest and I'll be happy to take whatever Bass Strait throws at us'," she said.

Line honours was earlier claimed by Andoo Comanche for the fourth time, while Sydney yacht Celestial was awarded a maiden overall win.