The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia has cut the entry fee for the 2002 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race by almost half in a bid to attract more entries … particularly from smaller yachts.
Many owners had urged such a move at meeting of boat owners and senior crewmembers held before the announcement of the Rolex sponsorship. Yachts entering the 2002 Race will pay a basic entry fee of $550 (inc GST) plus $55.00 (inc GST) for each crewmember - for last year's 57th Race, the basic entry fee was $1100.00 (GST included) plus $75.00 (GST included) for each crewmember.
The crew fee has been retained, although reduced, because the workload of the CYCA Sailing Office in processing yacht entries is directly related to the number of crew on each yacht.
The reduction in entry fees for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is the first step in a plan being formulated by the CYCA to encourage a significant lift in starters for the event, which last year saw the fleet slip to just 75 boats, including eight Volvo Ocean 60s.
Other proposals before the CYCA Sailing Committee include setting up a panel of experienced yacht owners to advise new owners on how to prepare their boat and crew for a long ocean racing such as the Sydney Hobart Race, and establishing a log of Australian racing yachts suitable for charter by overseas owners and crews.
"We are confident that we can attract owners and crews back into the Rolex Sydney Hobart and have rising fleet numbers from now onwards as we look towards the 60th Race in 2004," Commodore Hans Sommer said.
"Rolex's sponsorship has given the CYCA the vitally needed injection of funds to implement innovative ideas for the 2002 and future races to Hobart.
"We already know of a number of new grand prix racing boats being built in Australia and overseas for the 2002 Race, including Neville Crichton's new maxi, Shockwave.
"However, we would like to see more of the average club boats that have been the backbone of the Sydney Hobart Race competing again this year; and we want to provide the advice to encourage newcomers into ocean racing," Commodore Sommer added.
The Notice of Race for the 2002 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is expected to be available in late April/early May both in printed form and through the Internet.