NSW Police’s Marine Area Commander is reminding skippers on commercial and recreational vessels to make sure they check special event information ahead of tomorrow’s Sydney to Hobart.
The 75th Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race will once again start in accordance with tradition with the firing of a starting cannon at 1pm on Boxing Day (Wednesday 26 December 2018).
The start line is off Nielson Park, with the fleet travelling east through Sydney Harbour and out through the heads before travelling 628 nautical miles to Tasmania.
To ensure a clear run for the yachts as they exit Sydney Harbour, the Port of Sydney will be closed from 8am to 4pm.
Spectator craft will be able to watch the start of the race and follow the fleet from both sides of the harbour (east and west sides), if they travel outside the exclusion zone set aside for the racing yachts.
The exclusion zone – which will be marked with yellow buoys – will be in place between midday and 2.20pm, and anchoring is not permitted within 100m of the exclusion zone, or where indicated.
Spectator craft are also not permitted to operate under sail near the exclusion zone from midday until the fleet clears the Heads.
Further, non-powered craft such as kayaks, canoes and surfboats are prohibited in the area within 100m of the exclusion zone.
If going out to sea, proceed through the no-anchoring zone near South Head. Skippers are advised to observe the six-knot ‘no wash’ speed limit, which will be in place from 11.30am to 2pm.
A detailed exclusion zone map is available at: https://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/documents/about/news-events/rolex-sydney-hobart-yacht-race.pdf
Marine Area Commander, Superintendent Stephen Hegarty, said police will have a high-visibility presence on the Harbour to help reduce the risk of spectator interference.
“The Sydney to Hobart is a 75-year-old Boxing Day tradition – and the one of busiest days on Sydney Harbour – so we will have our fleet on the water to keep it safe and enjoyable for everyone,” Supt Hegarty said.
“It’s important for all skippers to check their boats before they head out and ensure they are carrying all of the required safety equipment – which includes a life jacket for every person on board.
“Our operation will also include safety compliance checks and random breath tests – both at boat ramps and on the water, where we are expecting thousands of vessels.
“With those kinds of crowds, all skippers will need to be constantly aware of their surroundings and changing conditions.
“All on-water spectators are reminded to listen to our directions, as well as that of our partners: Maritime and Marine Rescue NSW, as well as race officials.
“There are designated spectator areas at either side of the start line or skippers can position their vessel in the eastern or western channels – as long as they steer clear of the exclusion zone.”
On-water authorities are encouraging those who intend to watch the race start but not follow the fleet to position themselves on the western side of the harbour, while those who want to follow the fleet should position their vessel in the eastern channel.
Supt Hegarty added that those without a boat can take advantage of various on-land vantage points.
“There are plenty of great spectator locations along the foreshore, including Bradleys Head, Chowder Bay, Georges Heights and Middle Head to the west; Shark Island, Steele Point, Vaucluse Point, South Head and The Gap to the east; and North Head.
“Spectators are urged to use public transport to get to their vantage point, including those partaking in the festivities at the Sydney Village at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.
“Importantly, we urge everyone who is out and about for the race to look out for each other and enjoy what is expected to be another spectacular day on Sydney Harbour,” Supt Hegarty said.
Plan your trip to the Sydney Harbour Foreshore: https://transportnsw.info/events/2019/12/sydney-hobart-yacht-race-2019
Further information for on-land, on-water, and at-home spectators is available at: https://www.rolexsydneyhobart.com/spectators/following-the-race/