Sydney to Hobart yacht race organisers are confident the iconic event will proceed as scheduled with COVID-safe plans in place.
Last year’s race was one of the high-profile sporting casualties of the pandemic, with safety concerns and border restrictions forcing the first cancellation of the annual event since it was first staged in 1945.
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia commodore Noel Cornish says his club, which hosts the race, had been working on the 2021 edition since May.
“We always knew there was a risk (in 2020) that an outbreak might get us somewhere,” he told AAP.
“This year we are feeling much more confident. The Tasmanian borders open on December 15, it’s a hard open.
“We talk to the Tasmanian premier regularly, and his team.
“We’ve got really good COVID-safe plans in order to manage our way through into Hobart, so this is as good as I’m going to feel at this point in time.
“But it will be a massive relief when I see that (starting) gun go at one o’clock (on Boxing Day), I don’t mind telling you.”
Cornish said COVID protocols had already been in place for the first two races of the club’s Blue Water series, in which a number of Sydney to Hobart contenders were put through their paces.
He confirmed all competing sailors In the Sydney to Hobart must be double vaccinated.
“The normal requirement for them to go to Hobart and Tasmania irrespective of whether it’s a yacht race or not is a double vax and a negative COVID test within 72 hours of travel,” he said.
“Everybody is aware of that, so everybody will be compliant if they want to go in the race.”
Cornish revealed there had been a little push back against the restrictions but the vast majority of the sailing community backed the measures.
He said the large number people who gather on the CYCA Marina on Boxing Day morning before the race would be restricted.