The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's Race Committee for the 2000 Telstra Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race have declared ineligible two of the 82 yachts entered after they failed to meet safety requirements for the 630 nautical mile ocean classic.
The yachts are Terra Firma, from Victoria, the Overall winner on corrected time of the 1996 race, and Kickatinalong from Sydney. Glenn Bourke, CEO of the CYCA and a member of the Race Committee, announced the status of the fleet after the 5pm deadline for all safety compliance documentation to be lodged with the Club's Sailing Office - a deadline that had been extended from last Monday in the wake of the Coroner's recommendations on liferafts and life jackets. In the case of Kickatinalong and Terra Firma, their missing safety documentation at the deadline included the new requirement that the crew of every yacht in the fleet must include two with senior first aid certificates, and also compliance certificates that 50% of the crew must have attended CYCA approved safety seminars.
"It is absolutely clear to the Race Committee that Kickatinalong and Terra Firma have failed to comply with Notice of Race by not meeting the deadline for safety compliance documentation," Bourke said. "They are not eligible to compete in the 2000 Telstra Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, although they have the opportunity of protesting the decision of the Race Committee. They did not comply with safety requirements for the race, despite the extension from last Monday; the rest of fleet did so", Bourke added. This reduces the fleet for the 56th annual race to 80 boats, the same as last year.
The Club has also asked the International Jury for the Race to rule on structural safety matters concerning the maxi yachts Nicorette from Sweden and Wild Thing from Melbourne, but neither is likely to miss the race. In the case of Nicorette, the 80-footer is required to have a hatch fitted into the deck of the boat, forward of the mast, to meet International Category 1 safety requirements. Owner/skipper of the yacht, Ludde Ingvall has indicated that this will be done overnight. In the case of Wild Thing, the issue is over the fibreglass stanchions fitted to the 83-footer, as against the stainless steel stanchions currently required under Australian Yachting Federation safety regulations. Grant Wharington, owner/skipper of Wild Thing, is understood to be considering gluing the fibreglass stanchions into their bases and then argue that they are an integral part of the hull. However, if he fails with this option, Wharington is expected to replace the fibreglass stanchions with conventional stainless steel stanchions and thus comply with all safety requirements.
The owners of all four yachts have the opportunity to appeal tomorrow to the International Jury against the decisions of the Race Committee.
None of the last minute problems involved liferafts or life jackets, with suitable replacements being found for any yachts affected by the recommendations which had been adopted by the CYCA.