This year's anniversary Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is expected to see a dramatic increase in fleet numbers as a result of the CYCA's new initiatives for the ocean classic aimed at attracting a wide and varied range of boats from Australia and overseas
The 60th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be the final event in the Rolex Challenge for International Teams, with the race itself including 20 Year and 30 Year Veteran Yacht divisions.
The owners of the super maxi yachts Skandia (Grant WHARINGTON) and Zana (Stewart THWAITES), which finished a close 1-2 for line honours in last year's Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, have indicated they will compete again.
Neville CRICHTON, owner of the 2003 line honours winner, Alfa Romeo, is also considering bringing his boat back to Australia after its Mediterranean campaign.
Veteran yachtsman Peter KURTS has advised the CYCA that his two-times Sydney Hobart Race handicap winner, Love & War, will be on the starting line on Boxing Day, 26 December, for the 628 nautical mile ocean classic. Love & War was Overall Winner in 1974 and 1978 and won the 20-Year Veteran's Division of the 50th Sydney Hobart Race in 1994.
Early overseas interest in the 60th race has also come from owners in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom.
The CYCA's plans to celebrate the 60th race to Hobart since 1945 are contained in the Notice of Race now published on the official website at the address below. - www.rolexsydneyhobart.com
The single biggest change to affect this year's fleet, however, is the fact that the Overall Winner of the 2004 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be the boat that wins the IRC (International Rule Club) handicap category overall on corrected time, announced by the CYCA in February.
Any of the grand prix boats, or indeed those entered in the 20 and 30 Year Veteran's Divisions, will be eligible for the Tattersalls Cup which has, for the past ten years, been presented to the boat that wins the IMS (International Measurement System) handicap category.
There will be no IMS category in this year's race, only IRC, PHS and one-design class divisions.
To allow for early planning and a maximum international fleet to celebrate the 60th anniversary Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the Notice of Race, or requirements of entry, and Application for Entry is now available on the race website with printed copies expected by mid-year.
The Rolex Challenge international teams event will be sailed as part of the Rolex Trophy, with the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race as the final and double-scoring race. Teams will comprise two boats with an IRC rating band of 1.050 to 1.615 inclusive. A separate interstate/interclub teams competition will also be held.
A significant change to the Notice of Race from previous years is that owners may not be required to submit a current, valid IMS certificate to satisfy the stability requirement. However, in its place, they will still have produce certified evidence of stability as detailed in the Notice of Race.
After a process of consultation with a number of affected owners, the CYCA also announced earlier this year that there would be a slight increase in the upper speed limit from 1.61 to 1.615. The decision means that a boat such as the 30m LOA Skandia, will remain eligible to compete in 2004 despite its rating having increased.
A separate Notice of Race will be published shortly for the new Rolex Trophy regatta that begins Saturday, 11 December, following the traditional Canon Big Boat Challenge on Sydney Harbour on Friday, 10 December. The Rolex Trophy will continue through to 19 December, with racing on the Harbour and offshore.
The Notice of Race and Application for Entry for the 60th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is now available on the event website at the address below under Race Documents.