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On water judging for Canon Big Boat Challenge

by Peter Campbell on 24 Nov 2000
On-water judges and on-board observers will give 'instant' rulings on racing
rules incidents during next month's Canon Big Boat Challenge, one of the
great annual spectacles of yacht racing on Sydney Harbour.

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia expects the largest fleet in years to
contest the prestigious event on Friday, December 15, including several of
the world's fastest maxi yachts and a number of Volvo Ocean 60s.

The strong rivalry between owners and their crews in the lead-up to the
Telstra Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race often sees some sharp tactical exchanges
and pre-Hobart gamesmanship that have in the past resulted in collisions and
protests.

Last year's Big Boat Challenge ended with several incidents and lengthy
post-race protest hearings that led to two prominent maxi yachts being
penalised.

To avoid a repeat of the post-race protests, the Cruising Yacht Club of
Australia will use on-board judges to adjudicate on any perceived racing
rules infringements and issue suitable penalties on the water.

'This will be the first time on-board and on-water judging has been used for
big boats racing in Australia although the principle is popular overseas,'
CYCA race director Phil Thompson said today. 'It is designed to make the
race more fun with no need to resort to protests after the race.

'During the race, skippers will be given advice on potential incidents such
as 'no overlap' or 'no room at a mark'. In the event of a protest this will
be adjudicated immediately; if a yacht is found at fault it will immediately
do a 360 degrees penalty turn.'

Thompson says he expects the fleet for the race to include the maxi yachts
Brindabella, Shockwave, Marchioness, Nicorette and Wild Thing along with up
to five Volvo Ocean 60s from overseas syndicates, the Sydney 60s, Sydney
and Eureka, the Open 60, Xena, the former America's Cup challenger, Spirit,
and the two Kookaburra 12-metre class yachts and several other 60-footers.

'It should be one of the great races of the year, a rare opportunity to see
all the Telstra Sydney to Hobart Race line honours contenders, plus other
big boats, racing around the Harbour marks and finishing off the Sydney
Opera House,' Thompson added.

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