Eight yachts have withdrawn from the original list of 65 that had lodged applications to enter the 2003 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, but the 57 boats expected to line up on Boxing Day still represent one of the classiest fleets in years.
Line honours looks to be a transTasman duel between the two 30 metre super maxis Skandia from Australia and Zana representing New Zealand, but at least ten grand prix ocean racers have a chance of winning top handicap honours.
The late withdrawals are Trumpcard and Koomooloo from Queensland, the NSW boats Delta Wing, an un-named Sydney 38, Sorine and Broomstick, and the little Sportboatz.com from Melbourne.
"While we are sorry these boats did not make the fleet for the 2003 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, for various reasons, their withdrawal does not diminish the outstanding quality of the fleet,"
Commodore John MESSENGER said today.
"The decisions not to race south this year were the decisions of each of the owners, but we hope they will be able to join the fleet next year for the 60th race to Hobart,"
Zana is due in from New Zealand tomorrow and she will be followed by yachts sailing from Victoria and Tasmania expected over the weekend to join Sydney based boats and interstate entrants already at the CYCA.