The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race has been cancelled for the first time in its history because of the unfolding COVID situation in Sydney.
Organisers were left with little choice after Tasmania slapped bans on people entering the state from Sydney.
Anyone arriving in Tasmania from Greater Sydney will now be forced to undergo two weeks in hotel quarantine.
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Cruising Yacht Club of Australia were locked in crisis meetings on Saturday before confirming that the iconic event was off.
“It is with great regret that the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia announces that the 76th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will not be proceeding in 2020.
“The impact of COVID-19 that has disrupted sporting events around the globe for so much of the year has added the Great Race to its list.”
The event was already under threat before Tasmania’s announcement, with a large number of competitors coming from Sydney’s northern beaches.
“We are bitterly disappointed to cancel the Race this year especially considering the plans and preparations we had put in place to have a COVID Safe race”, CYCA Commodore Noel Cornish said.
“We were so well prepared to run the race and we’re only six days from the start. This is the first time in 76 years that the race will not be conducted”.
The CYCA says its main priority had to be the safety of competitors members and staff as well as the health and welfare of people in New South Wales and Tasmania.
The club says given restrictions are likely to be in place for some time, postponing the event was not a viable option.
“This race has a long and proud history and we look forward to continuing this exciting tradition next year”.