Tasmania’s longest offshore yacht race, the Launceston to Hobart, has received national sponsorship for the first time, along with the probability of at least one Victorian entry for the late December race down the State’s east coast.
Derwent Sailing Squadron Commodore Ron Bugg announced today that this year’s race will be the Optus Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race, with the national telecommunications company coming aboard as naming rights sponsor.
'Having a national company of the standing of Optus as the major sponsor lifts the status of the L2H as it comes up for its fourth year of continued growth in fleet numbers,' Commodore Bugg said.
'The Derwent Sailing Club and our northern colleagues, the Tamar Yacht Club, look forward to both sponsorship and promotional support from Optus,' he added.
The Optus Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race will start from off Inspection Head wharf at Beauty Point on the Tamar River at 1.30pm on 27 December, with a fleet of 35 to 40 boats expected, including at least six from northern Tasmanian clubs and one from Victoria.
The fleet will finish in Hobart after sailing a 285 nautical mile course that will take the boats through in eastern Bass Strait and Banks Strait before heading down the east coast, sailing inside Maria Island, thence rounding Tasman Island and sailing across Storm Bay to the River Derwent. The finish will be off Castray Esplanade.
Two past line honours winners are expected to contest the Optus L2H: The Fork in the Road (Gary Smith) and Mr Kite (Andrew Hunn) while prominent Hobart yachtsman Wayne Banks-Smith plans to enter his Farr 40 War Games.
Among the expected entries from the Tamar Yacht Club is 2009 overall race winner Richard Fisher in his new Beneteau 45 Believe-Sundance Marine.
Race director for the Optus L2H will be DSS life member John Blackwood.
The starting time for this year’s race has been brought forward from 3.00pm to 1.30pm to give the fleet slack tidal conditions for the dash from the Inspection Head start line to Low Head.
This six nautical mile river leg, for the TYC Trophy, is the first of three stages that make up the Tasports Trophy, the others being results from the complete L2H race and the Jeanneau King of the Derwent in Hobart on 2 January 2012.
The historic fog horn at Low Head will be sounded to recognise the first yacht to sail out of the Tamar River into Bass Strait after the often tricky passage from Beauty Point.
Overall winner of the Optus Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race 2011 will again be based on AMS handicap results, although there will also be divisions for IRC and PHS handicap results.
Notice of Race is now available from the DSS and TYC or online at http://www.l2h.com.au