Maria Island Race, then Rolex Sydney Hobart

Six Tasmanian yachts have so far entered for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart and most will use the RYCT’s Maria Island race as a qualifying race, including Whistler, pictured at the start of last year’s Maria Island Race
Jane Austin
Tasports Maria Island Race this year will be a qualifying for most of the six Tasmanian yachts entered for the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, with Whistler the first of the six to nominate for the 190 nautical mile race around Tasmania’s south-east coast.

This will be the 64th annual Maria Island Race conducted by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, with the often tough race starting from Castray Esplanade on Friday, 18 November.

Notice of race and the online entry form is now on the RYCT website.

Whistler, a MBD36 skippered by David Rees, started her Sydney Hobart campaign in the Pipe Opener two weekends ago, winning the AMS division of the night race. The boat has an impressive record in offshore racing, including winning the 2010 Three Peaks Race and winning the IRC division of last year’s Maria Island Race.

Rees and his crew plan to contest the Combined Clubs Distance Races and the Maria Island Race in the lead-up to Sydney Hobart.

Whistler’s nominated crew for the Rolex Sydney Hobart includes Rees, Tim Jones and Jory Linscott, who were the three sailing members of the Whistler team that has twice finished third overall in the British Three Peaks Race, sailing a chartered UK yacht.

An interesting additional member of the Sydney Hobart crew is Nick McKim, Leader of the Greens in the Tasmanian Parliament and Minister for Education. He has had sailing experience, although mostly in dinghies.

Auch and Mr Kite are not racing in the Sydney Hobart, with Mr Kite expected to enter the Launceston to Hobart Race
Jane Austin

Another early entry for the Maria Island Race is the Beneteau First 44.7 Auch, which will be skippered by Richard Scarr, Yachting Tasmania’s chief coach. The crew will include some young members of the Tasmanian Sailing Academy to give them offshore racing experience.

The TSA sailors are undergoing rigorous training and preparation for the Maria Island Race, including completing Yachting Australia’s Sea Safety and Survival course.

Notice of Race for the Maria Island Race draws special attention to amendments to the Special Regulations approved and published by Yachting Australia.

They include changes to life raft requirements, hull design and construction and an amendment that introduces mandatory wearing of PFDs between sunset and sunrise, and recommends that they also be worn at times of heightened risk.

This amendment also recommends that non-GPS capable EPIRBs and PLBs be replaced with GPS capable models as soon as possible. The amendment introduces mandatory GPS capability in all 406 MHz beans from July 2015.

Last year’s Maria Island Race saw Overall first place, decided on AMS ratings, go to the smallest boat in the fleet, the Young 88 Footloose, skippered by Stewart Geeves. Line honours went to David Creese’s DK46 Dekadance, with Whistler winning the IRC division from Dump Truck, skippered by Justin Wells.

In addition to Whistler, Tasmanian yachts nominated for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race are Justin Wells and Edward Fader’s Ker 11.3 Dump Truck, Tony and Rob Fisher’s Adams 20 Helsal III, Anthony Williams’ IMX 38 Martela, the Peterson 41 Natelle II to be skippered by Laura Roper with her father and brother in the crew, and Not Negotiable, a UFO 34 owned by John Rayner.

RYCT website.