COMPETITORS and sponsors are gearing up for the upcoming National Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race, which sets off on the morning of 27 December from Launceston’s Beauty Point.
An iconic fixture on Tasmania’s summer sailing calendar, the seventh annual race is locally run by the Derwent Sailing Squadron (DSS) and the Tamar Yacht Club and gives local skippers an affordable and accessible chance to compete in a high intensity offshore ocean race.
The race is conducted across 285 nautical miles and is open to all boats over 29-feet, meeting Category Three requirements and with a life raft.
DSS manager Shaun Tiedemann said a record fleet of around 40 entries was anticipated for the 2013 event, which was rapidly growing in popularity.
“The race has been going for seven years now and each year, we are seeing entries increasing,” he said.
“Importantly, we are making record fleets yearly with more and more Melbourne entries signing up to be part of the action.
“Last year attracted 35 starters including four yachts from Melbourne.
“The more yachts the better, really. It’s one big party and complements the atmosphere of the Taste precinct.
“In fact, studies of the Taste in past years have indicated that about 80 per cent of the people who visit the event stop by to look at the yachts.”
In launching the race at the DSS Sandy Bay clubhouse last month, the Minister for Tourism, Scott Bacon, said it was exciting to see Tasmanian Bakeries – National Pies coming on board as this year’s naming rights sponsor.
Supporting sponsors are Leading Appliances, Sargisons Jewellers, TasPorts, Cascade Breweries, TasBulk and Musto.
Mr Bacon said this year’s race was expected to be the biggest yet.
“As a stand-alone, locally run ocean and coastal yacht race, the Launceston to Hobart is a distinctly Tasmanian event,” he said.
“It adds to the vibrancy of the Hobart waterfront at a time when Tasmania becomes the national focus for lifestyle activities including the Taste, Falls Music and Arts Festival and other New Year activities.”
The 2013 Launceston to Hobart will see mainland entries vying with a host of regular competitors such as Gary Smith, a member of the yachting Hall of Fame, with Fork in the Road – the 2012 honours winner and other prominent entrants, Ian Marshall’s Hot Prospect, Malcolm Cooper’s Kaulani and Jeff Cordell’s Host Plus Executive.
Commencing on Friday 27 December, the race traverses Banks Strait and Tasman Island/Storm Bay in its initial and latter stages respectively, passing on the western side of Maria Island from the east coast.
The finish line is located off Castray Esplanade on the River Derwent, some 12 nautical miles from the Iron Pot, and is shared with the Sydney to Hobart and Melbourne to Hobart ocean races.
Line-winners are expected to cross the finish sometime on Sunday 29 December 2013.
The finished yachts will be on display on the northern side of Kings Pier walkway and in Constitution Dock as part of the Hobart Summer Festival.