Less foreign boats for 2020 Syd-Hob

Adrian Warren
Organisers hope the Sydney to Hobart will be raced in 2020, but foreign entries will be down

Organisers of the Sydney to Hobart are resigned to a small overseas contingent for this year's race and less of the dominant line honours- chasing supermaxis.

The Australian ocean racing sailing schedule for this year has already been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with the Sydney to Noumea race postponed and the Sydney to Gold Coast event rescheduled from July to October.

Cruising Yacht Club of Australia commodore Paul Billingham was confident the Sydney to Hobart would proceed as usual on Boxing Day, but said a final decision wouldn't have to be made before October at the earliest.

"We are planning for Hobart as usual, the Notice of Race comes out in two or three weeks time," Billingham told AAP.

"Obviously the big impact on Hobart would be if for some reason the Tasmanian border was still closed, that and this social distancing interpretation would be an issue.

"But we can't see on the current trajectory of what's happening any complications for running the Hobart race as planned.

"I guess the down side is going to be the prospect of international entries other than New Zealand are very slim," Billingham said.

"We are aware of several international entries that were coming who have postponed and they will come down the following year.

"We have a lot of international crew members come in as well as international boats, so that will have an impact this year."

The 75th edition of the race last year attracted five supermaxis, but there will be fewer in 2020 and beyond according to Billingham, with 2019 line honours winner Comanche among not expected to defend the title.

"I think the Hobart race will be changing in the coming years," Billingham said.

"We've had the period of the supermaxis, they are still around but we may not get five together again in our lifetime with Comanche and Black Jack both going to Europe."

There will be at least one innovation for this year's race.

'We have got the two-handed division coming in. That's been happening in Europe and adds an extra degree of interest," Billingham said.