2020 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race cancelled

Published on December 19th, 2020

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia announced that the 76th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race would not be proceeding in 2020. The impact of COVID-19 that has disrupted sporting events around the globe for so much of the year has added the Great Race to its list.

CYCA Commodore, Noel Cornish AM said, “We are bitterly disappointed to cancel the Race this year especially considering the plans and preparations we had put in place to have a COVID Safe race. We were so well prepared to run the race and we’re only six days from the start. This is the first time in 76 years that the race will not be conducted”.

The primary consideration for the Club continues to be the safety of competitors, members and staff along with the health and welfare of the people of New South Wales (NSW) and Tasmania. Following an announcement by the Tasmanian Premier, Peter Gutwein, it is now impracticable for the CYCA to conduct the Race under prevailing COVID-19 restrictions.

The Northern Beaches local government area of Sydney had been classified a “High Risk” zone which would prevent any residents from travelling to Tasmania. Greater Sydney was defined as “Medium Risk” whereby people entering Tasmania from Sydney are required to quarantine for fourteen days on arrival. As this restriction would apply to all competitors, families, race management and staff, it is unrealistic to proceed further with planning for the Race.

It is unlikely the restrictions and advice will lift in the immediate future. As such the immense logistics involved in reorganizing and running a significant sporting event such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, as well as the planning and preparation required by crews, precludes the Club from postponing the race.

The Club had carefully considered alternative races. However, in line with the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s request that all NSW residents limit their non-essential travel and interactions with others, it was felt that there were no other options that would allow for a COVID Safe replacement race.

This race has a long and proud history and the Club looks forward to continuing the tradition next year.

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The 628nm Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race would have been the 76th edition in 2020. From Sydney Harbour, the fleet sails out into the Tasman Sea, down the south-east coast of mainland Australia, across Bass Strait (which divides the mainland from the island State of Tasmania), then down the east coast of Tasmania. At Tasman Island the fleet turns right into Storm Bay for the final sail up the Derwent River to the historic port city of Hobart.

Source: Di Pearson, RSHYR

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