|SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA-(12-7-2005) A design race is under way to create new boats to win line and handicap honours for the 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, with the Notice of Race for Australiaís great ocean classic posted on the official website www.rolexsydneyhobart.com.
The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia expects a world-class fleet of up to 70 boats, including a number of new IRC racing yachts and most regular competitors, to contest the 628 nautical mile race.
Within hours of the Notice of Race and Application to Enter being posted on the web site, the CYCA today received its first nomination Ė the 10.97m LOA Navenka, a 26-year-old New Zealand yacht whose skipper, Phil Chisholm, is three years younger than the boat.
Designed by Des Townson, Navenka will make its long ocean racing debut in the Gosford Lord Howe Island Race as a qualifier for the Rolex Sydney Hobart in which Chisholm will sail with an international crew of three Kiwis, including owner and navigator Pete Mummery, two Americans, two Australians and one from Britainís Royal Navy.
From Bucklands Beach Yacht Club, Chisholm, a t 23, will be one of the youngest skippers in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race this year. He believes Navenka, a masthead sloop, will be the first Townson 36 to contest the race. The yacht is sponsored by Compass Point Marine Services.
The fleet could also include as many five new super maxis built to the maximum overall length of 30-metres (98 feet) along with other new IRC boats ranging from 40-footers to 66-footers. Some will have canting keels and other highly sophisticated developments in yacht design, constructions, rig and sails.
The Notice of Race recognises significant technical changes regarding stability, moveable ballast and construction standards developed by the sportís regulators, the International Sailing Federation and Yachting Australia.
For this Category 1 ocean race, the CYCA has decided to seek verification of stability by either a stability booklet or a recognised measure confirming the stability. This may well mean that most owners will elect to use their IMS certificate to prove stability.
While the maximum length overall (LOA) for competing boats remains at 30-metres, there is now no upper speed limit, enabling the biggest yachts to carry the largest sail area considered practical and safe by their designs to achieve optimum performance.
The Boxing Day, 26 December start time has been changed this year to 1.20pm, ten minutes later than last year. The objective of this is to allow more extensive national television coverage before the gun goes, with the live telecast expected to start at 1.00pm.
The Notice of Race again includes a Cruising Division and the CYCA hopes to attract a strong line-up of boats from Australia and overseas through earlier promotion of the event among the cruising fraternity worldwide.
As was the case last year, there will be two racing handicap categories, IRC (International Rule Club) and PHS (Performance Handicap System) with the historic Tattersalls Cup being awarded to the Overall Winner of the IRC rating category. There will also be a One Design division for the Sydney 38 class. Other One Design classes will be accommodated if demand so warrants.
The Rolex Trophy in December will again be the lead-up regatta to the 61st Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, with the Rolex Challenging becoming an annual teams event for yachts contesting the Rolex Trophy and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Teams will comprise two IRC boats rated at 1.1 or higher representing their country or state. It is envisaged that most Australian states will consider nominating more than one team.