by Ray Williams
Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Roads Ray Williams reminded Sydney’s boaties about the importance of vigilance and safety when out on the water on Boxing Day to see the start of the iconic Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
Roads and Maritime Services NSW
'Seeing the start of the race from the water is a Boxing Day tradition for many and we’re expecting about 2000 spectator boats out on Sydney Harbour,' Mr Williams said.
'You’ll get a unique perspective on this great Australian race from a boat on the harbour, but it’s important you make sure that while you’re having fun, you also keeping a good look out, respect the exclusion zone and enjoy alcohol responsibly.
'Roads and Maritime Services will coordinate about 50 water traffic control vessels on the day.
'The port of Sydney will be closed for shipping from 8am to 4pm on Boxing Day and there will be an exclusion zone to ensure the yachts can start the race in a safe environment.
'It’s also a good idea for anyone watching the race start from a spectator craft to wear a lifejacket as the large number of vessels can create choppy conditions.'
Roads and Maritime Services Senior Special Aquatic Events Officer Drew Jones said it was important all skippers were familiar with the controls in place to safely manage the water traffic on the day.
'Skippers need to avoid the exclusion zone which will extend from Bradleys Head to Middle Head, to North Head and from just north of Shark Island to South Head from noon to 2.20pm,' said Mr Jones.
'A speed limit of six knots will apply near the centre of the harbour from 11.30am and skippers of spectator vessels must minimise wash or waves.
'Sails must not be hoisted on non-race yachts near the race start from noon to 2pm.
'Skippers following the fleet to sea should use the east side of the harbour and exit around South Head and when returning from sea skippers should use the western channel and enter the harbour via North Head.
'Anchoring will not be permitted east of the exclusion zone near Watsons Bay and Vaucluse and for safety reasons passive craft such as kayaks must keep clear of exclusion zone boundaries and high traffic areas.'
Boating Safety Officers are not the only Roads and Maritime team members with an important job for the race. Senior Education and Partnerships Officer Vanessa Dudley is gearing up to compete in her 18th Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, just days after being crowned world sailing champion in the Middle East.
Vanessa Dudley, who will sail aboard Ragamuffin 100 as part of Syd Fischer’s crew, returned lthis month from the 2013 Laser Masters World sailing championship in Oman, where she won the Grand Masters Laser Radial division.
'This has been a big year for me, as well as winning in Oman, I was fortunate to be aboard Ragamuffin 100 in the Transpac Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu in July, and Ragamuffin 90 in the Hong Kong to Vietnam Race in October,' said Vanessa.
The Team Ragamuffin yachts took line honours in both of these races and Ragamuffin 90 set a new record time for the Vietnam race.
'I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to Sydney’s boating community, who are always there to send us off at the start of the Sydney to Hobart,' said Vanessa.
For more information go to www.rms.nsw.gov.au/maritime.