The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, host club for the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race since its inception in 1945, is planning to launch a major annual post-Sydney to Hobart regatta in January 2002, to be called Sailing South Race Week.
Sailing South Race Week will be in Hobart from January 5-9, 2002, and at a similar time in subsequent years, and will comprise a six-race regatta including Tasmania's historic Bruny Island Race, the oldest ocean race in Australia.
However, the emphasis will not be just on sailing. The RYCT is planning a great social program around the event, including a reception by the Governor Tasmania, a crew welcome party, a Tasmanian seafood and wine festival, finishing with the Governor presenting trophies at the RYCT followed by a Race Week celebration dinner at the Club.
RYCT Commodore Robert "Biddy" Badenach said today that Sailing South Race Week had a two-fold objective:
Encouraging yachts competing in the Sydney to Hobart, Melbourne to Hobart and Melbourne to Devonport Races to stay on in Tasmania for a highly competitive regatta.
Providing local yachts with the opportunity to compete against interstate and international offshore racing yachts in a regatta format.
"Sailing South Race Week will be a great opportunity for visiting yachts and their crews to enjoy regatta racing on the Derwent River and on the spectacular and demanding coastal waterways south of Hobart," Commodore Badenach said.
"It will give a significant boost to the expanding local fleet by enabling them to compete in an international series on their home waters.
"We hope it will also encourage visiting yachts to stay on longer and enjoy cruising on our magnificent waterways, such as the d'Entrecasteaux Channel.
"We already have a commitment from Roger Hickman, skipper of SAP Ausmaid, winner of the 2000 Telstra Sydney to Hobart Race and the CYCA's 2000-2001 Blue Water Pointscore.
"Roger, who hails from Hobart originally, is not only going to compete in Sailing South but will also promote the event nationally and internationally," Commodore Badenach added.
The Royal Yacht of Tasmania has the support of Tasmania's Department of State Development and hopes to draw entries from fleets racing from Sydney to Hobart, Melbourne to Hobart and Melbourne to Devonport over the Christmas-New Year period.
A striking advance Notice of Race is being designed for Sailing South Race Week which will be sent to all yacht owners who have sailed to Tasmania over the past two years. This will be available within two to three weeks.
The RYCT also has a data base of more than 1000 yacht owners in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
Sailing South Race Week will have divisions for IMS, IRC and PHS handicap categories, plus a Sports Boat Division, with strong prospects of interstate yachts coming by the Bass Strait ferry to join the expanding local Sports Boat fleet.
The series will start on Saturday, January 5, 2002, with two short mid-river course races on the Derwent at Hobart, followed the next day by the 90 nautical mile Bruny Island Race, first sailed in 1898.
While the bigger boats circumnavigate Bruny Island, the Sports Boats will sail a 42 nautical mile course to Green Island, in d'Entrecasteaux Channel, and return,
After a lay day, the IMS, IRC and PHS divisions will race to Betsy Island in Storm Bay and return, a distance of 30 nautical miles.
Again, the Sports Boats will race a 25 nautical inshore course to the Iron Pot Buoy, then to Kelly's Point and return.
The final day of Sailing South Race Week will see two more short-course races on the Derwent, followed by the Trophy Presentation on the lawn of the RYCT and a Race Week Dinner at the Club.
All competing yachts will be berthed at the RYCT's marina at Sandy Bay, with trophies of "Tasmanian fine fare" being presented after each race day.
Founded in 1880, the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania has been host to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's Sydney to Hobart since its inception in 1945 and has also hosted many national and international sailing champions over the years.
The Club's members have achieved a great tradition of successful participation in ocean racing, one design and restricted design racing over the years in such famous events as the Admiral's Cup, the Dragon Gold Cup, the Sayonara Cup and the Seawanaka Cup.
The Club has been closely involved in Tall Ships events and the Circumnavigation of Tasmania Cruise and will conduct a Tall Ships Race from Hobart to Wellington, New Zealand, in 2004, commemorating 200 years of European settlement in Tasmania, then known as Van Diemen's Land.
The RYCT is a very active yacht club, with the Club's summer pennant racing attracting up to 50 cruiser/racer yachts in handicap divisions, 50 in one-design racing and around the same number of juniors. The Club is always strongly represented in the Sydney to Hobart Race.
The 2001 Sydney to Hobart Race will also see the RYCT finishing and re-starting the fleet in the Volvo Ocean Race competing in the Sydney to Hobart as part of their Sydney to Auckland leg of the round-the-world race.