Positive tests reduce Sydney Hobart fleet

Published on December 25th, 2021

Sydney, Australia (December 25, 2021) – The 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race fleet stands at 91 following the withdrawal today of Jim Cooney’s Volvo Open 70 Willow and the Infiniti 46R Maverick 49 owned by Quentin Stewart.

When all race participants of the 76th edition snaked through Cruising Yacht Club of Australia on December 23 to undergo COVID tests, three of Cooney’s crew had tested positive. His yacht Willow was to be amongst the front runners behind the 100-footers.

Stewart has not reported any COVID-19 cases but told the CYCA he was withdrawing because he did not want to take the risk.

“There is no feasible or responsible way we can continue,” said Cooney. “I do have crew on standby that are negative, so it’s not so much about now, but what it might be like in 48 hours. There is still potential for people to pass it on. The approach is to gracefully withdraw and not put people in jeopardy.

“As the owner and skipper there is a moral and legal responsibility if people are carrying the virus but not showing symptoms or testing positive yet.

“My son Douglas was looking forward to his first race last year, having turned 18 and has missed out again this year. He was very much looking forward to it after a successful line honors win in the TransPac Race with parents and brother in 2019.”

The remaining 91 yachts, including 18 two-handed entries, will start the 628 nautical mile challenge tomorrow.

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The 628 nm Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be the 76th edition in 2021 with a fleet of 88 boats that include three international entries. One hundred fifty seven teams set off in 2019 for the 75th edition, but since then the 2020 race was cancelled due to the pandemic and uncertainty has hovered this year.

From the start in 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: RSHYR

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