Sailors will be warming up for this year’s Sydney to Hobart challenge in Friday’s Cabbage Tree Island Race.
The fleet of 32 vessels will get plenty of experience sailing in Australia when they embark upon the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s 180 nautical mile sailing race. The race is a qualifier for the Sydney-Hobart, which gets under way on December 26 and will see thousands of sailing fans following its progress over the Christmas period. The Cabbage Tree is seen by many as a good indicator of how crews will perform during the main event on Boxing Day.
But this isn’t the only opportunity to limber up for the Hobart, with a number of other events also pencilled in over the coming weeks. On the weekend of November 26, Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship will get under way, with the Lion Island Botany Race planned for December 3. The Botany Race is the latest addition to the CYCA’s Blue Water Pointscore Series (BWPS).
But there are opportunities for sailing in Australia all year round, with many other events to keep people busy and entertained. One of these is the Hamilton Island Race Week, which attracts thousands of yachting lovers every year. Last year’s Cabbage Tree race was won by Chris Bull on board his Cookson 50 Jazz, however he won’t be taking part in this year’s event. He isn’t the only major face missing out either, as Bob Oatley’s super maxi Wild Oats XI won’t be involved in the race.
Weather experts have predicted that the yachts will embark upon the race amid an east to north-easterly of up to 15 knots, with the sea breeze remaining steady until late on Saturday, when winds are expected to reach 20-25 knots. The weather conditions cast shadows over hopes for beating previous records, experts have suggested.
The rush for the BWPS title is being led by Darryl Hodgkinson, who will embark upon the challenge fresh from victory last month in the Flinders Islet Race. He currently holds an eight point lead over Loki, the current BWPS champion. Many commentators have also mentioned Hodgkinson’s name when discussing potential winners of the Sydney-Hobart Tattersall’s Cup. The coming few weeks mark a busy time for lovers of yacht racing events, with the BWPS series set to conclude at the end of the Sydney Hobart and the prizes dished out too.