The Sydney to Hobart yacht race was called off after the Tasmanian government decided to impose a 14-day quarantine period for travelers to greater Sydney.
The 150 registered sailors had been on suspense as COVID-19 threatened to sabotage the famous race for the first time in 75 years.
And those fears came true on Saturday night as race organizers pulled the pin as the Sydney virus outbreak worsened.
FULL DECLARATION BELOW
It is with great regret that the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia announces that the 76th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will not take place in 2020.
The impact of COVID-19 which has disrupted sporting events around the world for so much of the year has added the big race to its list.
Commodore CYCA, Noel Cornish AM, said: “We are bitterly disappointed to cancel the Race this year, especially given the plans and preparations we had in place to organize a COVID Safe race.”
“We were so well prepared for the race and we are only six days from the start. This is the first time in 76 years that the race has not been held.”
The primary consideration for the Club remains the safety of competitors, members and staff as well as the health and welfare of the people of New South Wales and Tasmania.
Following the announcement by Tasmanian Prime Minister Peter Gutwein this afternoon, it is now impossible for CYCA to lead the race under the current COVID-19 restrictions.
Yesterday, Sydney’s Northern Beaches local government area was classified as a “high risk” area that would prevent residents from traveling to Tasmania. This afternoon, Greater Sydney was defined as “medium risk”, with people entering Tasmania from Sydney to be quarantined for fourteen days upon arrival. As this restriction would apply to all competitors, families, race management and staff, further race planning is unrealistic.
The restrictions and the advice are unlikely to be lifted in the immediate future. As such, the immense logistics involved in the reorganization and management of a major sporting event such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, as well as the planning and preparation required by the crews, prevent the Club from postponing the race. .
The alternative races had been carefully considered by the Club. However, in accordance with the request of the Premier of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian, that all residents of New South Wales limit their non-essential travel and interactions with others, it was felt that he there were no other options that would allow a COVID Safe replacement run.
“On behalf of CYCA, I would like to express my gratitude to our competitors, members, volunteers, the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, the governments of New South Wales and Tasmania, and other stakeholders for the relationships very narrow working practices that we have developed throughout the year to make racing a possibility ”.
“A special thank you to our partner Rolex for supporting the race and our Club.”
“This race has a long and proud history and we look forward to continuing this exciting tradition next year.”