Tasmania's newest and fastest growing offshore yacht race, the Sargisons Jewellers Launceston to Hobart Race, this year will start from Beauty Point on the Tamar River, giving the public a spectacular view of the fleet as it sails down the river into Bass Strait.
Coming up for its third year, the 285 nautical mile race down Tasmania's East Coast is going from strength to strength, with the organisers, the Derwent Sailing Squadron and the Tamar Yacht Club, expecting more than 40 boats to compete.
The previous two races have started at Low Head, at the mouth of the Tamar River, limiting public viewing of the start from the shore. This year the yachts will be within close sight for the first six nautical miles as they sail from Beauty Point, past George Town, Clarence Point and Garden Island to Low Head and into Bass Strait.
The new start line will be off Inspection Head wharf, with the race getting under way at 1pm on Sunday, 27 December 2009 and expected to attract thousands of spectators on the wharf and along the banks of the Tamar down to Low Head.
From Low Head the fleet will head east in Bass Strait, passing between the Furneaux Islands and the north-east tip of Tasmania before heading down the East Coast, rounding Tasman Island and to the finish at Hobart.
With Maria Island having to be left to port, the fleet will sail close inshore off the East Coast holiday resort of Orford, while the media and the public will also have access to real-time race progress with the fleet being equipped with tracker beacons for the first time.
Adding to the early contest between the yachts will be the Tamar Yacht Club's trophy for the first yacht to Low Head, with a handicap result of this down-river dash counting as the first points for the TasPorts Trophy that will also include the L2H Race results and the King of the Derwent in Hobart on 2 January 2010.
The new start line is one of several innovative changes to the L2H, the most significant being that all yachts will be fitted with satellite tracking units that will provide race organisers, the public and the media with real time positions of the fleet in addition to regular position reports by radio.
“Trackers will provide an added safety network for the fleet, enabling the club to closely monitor the fleet throughout the race,” Race Director Ron Bugg said today. “We have also implemented additional requirements on crew experience and qualifications.”
For the first time there will be multi-hull and two-handed divisions and the race has a new sponsor in Sargisons, the Hobart jewellers who have been supporters of yachting for many years.
Racing will be under three handicap categories – IRC, AMS and PHS (monohulls and multihulls) – following the decision of the the Derwent Sailing Squadron, the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania and the Bellerive Yacht Club to include AMS as a scoring system, in addition to IRC and PHS, for combined club inshore and offshore races this coming season.
Notice of Race and Entry Forms for the Sargisons Jewellers Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race are now available from the DSS and the TYC. In addition to the principal sponsors, supporting and key partners in the event are Musto, Nautilus Marine, TasPorts and Boat Sales Tasmania.
– Peter Campbell