The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia today announced a slight increase in the IRC upper speed limit, from 1.61 to 1.615, and the continuation of an absolute size limit of 30 metres length overall (LOA) for this year's race.
The CYCA decision follows a process of consultation with a number of affected owners and a review of the impact on boats in last year's race following changes to the IRC, effective from 1 July 2004 in Australia.
The decision means that a boat such as "Skandia", which won line honours in 2003, will remain eligible to compete in 2004 despite its rating having increased.
Announcing the change to the IRC upper limit, CYCA Rear Commodore Roger HICKMAN said the change ensured that boats that were eligible last year remained so in 2004 without having to make modifications.
The decision to increase the upper speed limit is the second significant change to the 2004 Rolex Sydney Hobart rules. Early this month, the CYCA announced that IRC handicaps would be used to decide the Overall Winner on corrected time (handicap) for this year's race. It means that almost every boat in the fleet will now be eligible to win the historic Tattersalls Cup.
The CYCA today also announced, following consultation with many affected owners, and consideration of letters and submissions that have been received by the Club, that for the 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race the upper speed limit will be governed by a LOA of 30 metres only and that a handicap number will no longer comprise part of the upper limit.
Announcing the 30 metre LOA maximum limit, Rear Commodore Hickman also made reference to what the CYCA understands is the soon to be formed Super-Maxi or Maxi Yacht group of owners.
He said CYCA would watch the recommendations that this group presents, and the development of any limits on eligibility of maxi yachts in events. Should that group impose a rating based limit of any kind, the CYCA will give close consideration to the inclusion of that limit in future Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Races.
"The CYCA expresses its thanks to all the owners and designers who responded to the Club's call for interested parties to comment,"
In closing, Rear Commodore Hickman said that these decisions provide the certainty that will encourage strong competition for line honours amongst a number of boats. It also will enable the Notice of Race for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race to be completed, and made available shortly.