The Sydney/Hobart race scheduled for 26 December is already attracting some big names including last year’s line honours winner, the Swedish maxi Nicorette

This year’s Sydney Hobart race will, the first time in many years, be run under the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia name rather than a major sponsor. The event which is scheduled to start on 26 December is already attracting some big names including last year’s line honours winner, the Swedish maxi Nicorette.

Nicorette has already arrived in Sydney in preparation for 630-nautical mile race to Hobart. She’s had new keel fitted, new sails and will be out on the water for training throughout December.

The Polish maxi, Lodka Bols, is also taking part but has chosen Melbourne as a venue to complete her major refit. Most of the international crew of 23, including a number of Polish sailors, will not arrive until mid-December, and their qualifying sail aboard the 80-footer in Australian waters will be from Melbourne to Sydney, leaving on 18 December. Gordon Kay, owner/skipper said: “There is huge public interest in Poland in this boat, particularly so as she will be the first Polish maxi to contest the Sydney to Hobart.”

Other boats in the race include Grundig, the skiff-like downwind flyer (previously known as Xena) owned by Sydney yachtsman Sean Langman. She now has a new deep keel and six feet added to the transom, making the water-ballasted boat an Open 66.

Soon to hit the water again in Sydney is George Snow’s conventional maxi, Brindabella, her hull having been extended by five feet to the owner’s satisfied comment: “I’ve always wanted to own an 80-footer!”

As the maxi yachts undergo their modifications and refits, the action is already on the water for many of the 81 boat fleet entered for the 57th Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Melbourne’s new 42-footer, Don Jones’ Cadibarra, continued its unbeaten record under IMS handicaps in Victorian waters, winning the 200-nautical mile Bass Strait race from Queenscliff to Low Head.

In Sydney, veteran Syd Fischer is strongly campaigning for an IMS overall victory in the Sydney Hobart Race with his Farr 50, Ragamuffin, taking top IMS honours in the 180 nautical mile Cabbage Tree Island Race.

Only by 41 seconds behind on corrected time was Kevan Pearce’s Farr 47, SAP Ausmaid, the overall IMS winner of last year’s Hobart Race, which took top honours under IRC handicaps in the Cabbage Tre Island Race.

The Volvo fleet is due between 1-4 December for a well-earned rest before the start of the third leg from Sydney to Auckland, via Hobart as part of the fleet in the 57th CYCA Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.