This year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart, the 76th running of the race, welcomes a new division of boats and sailors to the world-renowned racecourse with the Two-Handed division included for the first time.
After witnessing the worldwide increase in popularity of two-handed sailing, culminating in the inclusion of two-handed sailing in the Paris Olympics, the Club decided that the inclusion would be a great progression for offshore sailing in Australia. In 2019 this new and exciting division joined the Club’s sailing calendar with the Two-Handed Pointscore, with many embracing and undertaking the challenge.
In 2019, with the announcement of the Two-Handed Pointscore, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia also announced that a Two-Handed division would be included in the 2020 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore including the annual Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
However, the inclusion of the new division, and the way in which the teams compete, brings a new complexity of sophisticated sailing technology with the use of Autopilot units.
The Club acknowledges further understanding needs to be gained to appreciate the full capacity and range of technology available to two-handed competitors, and how these are accommodated within different handicap rating systems. “With hindsight, because of our enthusiasm in embracing two-handed sailing, we may have acted too quickly allowing two-handed boats to be eligible to compete for one of sailing’s most prestigious trophies, the Tattersall Cup,” said Commodore Noel Cornish.
As such, the Club has amended the 2020 Rolex Sydney Hobart Notice of Race to reflect that two-handed entrants will be scored within their own handicap category divisions and not be eligible to compete against fully crewed boats in divisions or for the overall race win.
This decision to separate two-handed and fully-crewed divisions will also be reflected across other pointscores including the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore.
The inclusion of the Two-Handed division is an important step forward and as such the Club will honour it with a new perpetual trophy for the IRC Two-Handed overall winner.
“The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is steeped in history and tradition and inclusion of a two-handed division is a progressive step forward for the Club,” said the Commodore.
The Club is continuing to proceed with planning for the upcoming 2020 Rolex Sydney Hobart and is dedicated to undertaking a COVIDSafe event for all.