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Two-line start for 100-plus fleet: over 110 yachts lining up for the boxing day start will provide a spectacular scene for the thousands of spectators on and around Sydney Harbour for the 65th Rolex Sydney Hobart.

At 1300 hours on 26 December 2009, a cannon shot from one of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australias historic cannons, replicas of those aboard Captain Cook's bark Endeavour, will signal the start of the race. A fleet of about 110 yachts is expected to crowd two starting lines north off Shark Island on Sydney Harbour--the biggest fleet for the Rolex Sydney Hobart since the 60th race in 2004, and the second largest fleet in a decade.

The race committee has decided on a two-line simultaneous start, as it has done for a number of years, due to the presence of a sizable contingent of 100-footers and 19-metre-plus yachts in the fleet. These big boats will start off the front line, located 0.2 nautical miles north of the back line where the smaller boats will start.

To make allowance for the front line advantage, boats starting further down the Harbour will make up the extra distance to their own rounding mark, Victor, near North Head before heading to sea. Boats starting off the back line will round mark X-ray, just north of South Head. Once they leave those marks to starboard, all boats will then complete a starboard rounding of the seamark Zulu, laid one nautical mile east of Sydney Heads, then it's just a right turn for Tasmania. Both marks will be yellow conical Rolex buoys.

As the countdown to the start begins, the CYCA's cannons will be fired aboard the official starting vessel Aussie Legend in the traditional starting sequence:

* 1250 hours (12:50pm)--10-minute warning signal--Code flag W hoisted and cannon fired

* 1255 hours (12:55pm)--5-minute preparatory signal--Code flag P hoisted and cannon fired

* 1300 hours (1:00pm)--starting signal--Code flag W and Code flag P dropped and cannon fired.

* A further signal (Code flag X) and a single cannon fire may indicate premature starter(s) (OCS--On Course Side) by individual yachts, which must return and re-start. Yachts that have broken the start will be advised by radio five minutes after the start. There will be no general recall.


The Sydney Harbour exclusion zone will come into force at 12pm and continue through to 2pm. The zone will be marked with yellow buoys and some fixed navigational aids. All spectator craft must remain outside the exclusion zone until 2pm. No spectator craft is permitted to anchor or remain anchored within 100 metres of the exclusion zone. Boats may only proceed through the "no anchoring" zone near South Head if going out to sea.

A six-knot no-wash zone will cover the Harbour from Garden Island and Bradley's Head to a line between North Head and Macquarie Light.

The Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol and Australian Volunteer Coast Guard vessels will display an orange banner with the wording "Waterways Control" and will patrol the spectator limit lines. Please obey instructions from the vessels and from the NSW Maritime and Water Police Vessels.

General safety messages will be broadcast on marine radio bands 27.88 and VHF Channels 13 and 17.

Spectator craft should not operate under sail near the exclusion zone from noon until the fleet has cleared the Heads. Competing yachts will display a special Rolex race flag on their backstay. Please keep well clear of any vessel displaying such flags, follow the advice of officials on the water and stay well dear of the exclusion zone between 12pm and 2pm to ensure that Boxing Day is enjoyable and safe for all afloat.

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Title Annotation:ROLEX SYDNEY HOBART 2009: Start Line
Author:Campbell, Peter; Crooks, Jennifer
Publication:Offshore Yachting
Date:Dec 1, 2009
Previous Article:All's fair ... in theory, any boat--no matter how old or small--can win the Rolex Sydney Hobart overall and take home the coveted Tattersalls cup.
Next Article:Official starter--Russell Williams.

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