With the Easter break nearly with us it is time to think of the annual Australian Three Peaks Race that starts at Beauty Point every Good Friday. Innovation has always been a part of the Three Peaks Race and this year for the first time it will be possible to not only follow the yachts progress on the internet made possible by satellite trackers but for the first time similar satellite technology will be used to track team runners.
About every 10 minutes the trackers will transmit position data that is downloaded to the race's website for viewing. This change has been made possible through the acquisition of small personal satellite trackers light enough to be carried by weight conscious runners.
Race teams this year are entered in just two divisions, Monohull and Multihull. The fleet being in these two divisions will make it easier for the public to see who is leading the race without the previous race divisions of Cruising and Fully Crewed where handicaps applied. The Race Committee is pleased of the competitors' acceptance of the rule changes, one of which is to allow an extra sailor in the teams. This change has made the management of larger yachts easier particularly with sail handling or sailing in rough conditions when fatigue became an issue.
With the previous multihull winners Terry Travers and Phillip Marshall not competing this year the multihull division is wide open, in fact it could be said that the entire race is wide open for a number of teams to take overall honours.
Three catamarans, the powerful Peccadillo (pictured left) sailed by Charles Meredith from Victoria, the similar sized VisitFlindersIsland.com.au sailed by Steve Laird from Hobart and the past multiple winner but smaller Slingshot now under the ownership of Jean-Pierre Ravanat also of Hobart will have a very interesting battle to the finish.
In this year's fleet the monohull teams to watch will be Andrew Jones team AdvantEdge , an Inglis 47 designed yacht, the largest yacht in the race. Andrew has been a long time crew member with Nick Edmunds team Haphazard that will possibly be his major rival. The 2010 Main Monohull division winner David Rees has the same team and yacht Whistle , for this year and will be keen to make it back to back wins. Fresh from their Tasmanian win Rees and his team mounted a very competitive challenge in the British Three Peaks Race last year finishing a close third. This coming June they will set off to the United Kingdom to again challenge the Brits in the 'original' Three Peaks Race.
At the Beauty Point wharf on Good Friday there will be a packed program of events, entertainment and music leading up to the race start at 2.00 pm and then well on into the afternoon. A variation of food stalls provides a taste of the Tamar with many of the districts fine wines available. The Governor of Tasmania Peter Underwood AC will fire the traditional cannon marking the start of the 23rd annual Three Peaks Race.
Australian Three Peaks website here