Sydney will be the focal point of a magnificent Summer of Sail in December 2004, with eight days of international regatta racing leading up to the 60th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's program for December, announced today, is a significant expansion of the Rolex Trophy to comprise three days of one-design regatta racing and four days of competition for boats rated under IRC (International Rating Club), IMS (International Measurement System) or PHS (Performance Handicap System) handicap categories.
The Rolex Trophy will start on Saturday, 11 December, following the traditional Canon Big Boat Challenge on Sydney Harbour on Friday, 10 December, and will continue through to 19 December, with racing on the Harbour and offshore.
Most of the maxi yachts and grand prix racers competing in the Rolex Trophy are then expected to contest the 628 nautical mile 60th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race starting on Sunday, 26 December.
The IRC category of the Rolex Trophy regatta and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will include a new Rolex Challenge International teams event and a separate Interstate/Interclub teams competition, with the Rolex Sydney Hobart as the final, and double-scoring, event.
In addition, the CYCA will run a prestigious separate Championship pointscore for boats that participate in both the Rolex Trophy regatta and the Rolex Sydney Hobart. Trophies will be awarded for the best performing boats in each handicap category when the results for both events are combined.
As well as providing more racing competition, the CYCA is working on a format for a rally of cruising yachts to be part of the 60th Rolex Sydney Hobart. Two racing divisions for Veteran Yachts will be included, as was the case in the 50th Sydney Hobart Race in 1994.
"The Summer of Sail regatta racing will begin celebrations for the 60th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, but will also provide yacht owners and their crews with the opportunity to compete in a variety of sailing events of their choice in boats ranging from 9 metre one-design classes to 30 metre super maxis,"
Rear Commodore Roger HICKMAN said.
"The exciting program for December 2004 has been planned to encourage more boats to compete,"
he added. "It follows the CYCA's recent announcements that the IRC handicap category will decide the Overall Winner and that the IRC upper speed limit has been increased slightly to accommodate boats of up to 30 metre length overall (LOA)."
The CYCA's Summer of Sail program will comprise:
· December 10 - Canon Big Boat Challenge, invitation race on Sydney Harbour.
· December 11,12, 13 - Rolex Trophy, a series of windward/leeward races on Sydney Harbour and offshore for Farr 40, Mumm 30, Sydney 38 and Sydney 32 classes.
· December 16,17,18, 19 - Rolex Trophy, a series of windward/leeward races on Sydney Harbour and offshore for IRC and IMS handicap categories, with windward/leeward and passages races for PHS handicap category boats.
· December 26 - Start of the 60th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, 628 nautical mile ocean race with IRC, IMS and PHS handicap categories, with IRC deciding the Overall Winner of the historical Tattersalls Cup. The 60th Race will include two Veteran Yacht Divisions - for boats 20 years old and over and boats 30 years old and over.
· December 26 - Cruising Rally to Hobart in conjunction with the 60th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, with a format yet to be announced.
· The Championship for individual yachts in each handicap category and one-design division, incorporating the results of the four-day component of the Rolex Trophy and the 60th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The Rolex Sydney Hobart will carry double points.
· The Rolex Challenge for accredited National teams, each team comprising two IRC rated boats within an IRC rating band of 1.050 and 1.615, with results based on the four-day component of the Rolex Trophy and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.
· The Rolex Challenge for accredited State/Territory and Club teams, with each team again comprising two IRC rated boats within the IRC rating band of 1.050 to 1.615.
"The Rolex Trophy racing will be spread over seven days in mid-December, incorporating three days of one design and four days of time correction racing for rated boats, which will enable some owners and many crew members to compete in both facets of regatta racing and also contest the Rolex Sydney Hobart,"
Rear Commodore Hickman explained.
"The regatta format will also enable some class boats, such as the Sydney 38s, to race one-design and then change to an IRC format for the rated handicap section of the Rolex Trophy regatta and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race."
Rear Commodore Hickman said the decision to call for accredited National teams for the Rolex Challenge series should lead to a revitalisation of the great pride felt by yachtsmen in representing their nations in the Admiral's Cup and Southern Cross Cup team racing of the 1970s and 1980s.
"The concept of the Summer of Sail is to provide for as many as possible yacht owners and their crews the opportunity to be involved in a great regatta to mark the 60th Rolex Sydney Hobart Race and also to attract more yachts to sail south in the ocean classic on Boxing Day,"