The Sydney to Hobart race, scheduled to start Dec. 26, looks set to be the latest major international yachting event to be struck by the rapidly disappearing sponsorship dollar.
When the organisers at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia announced the release of the Notice of Race for the 57th staging of the classic, they also confirmed that no naming right sponsor had been found for this year.
This comes despite the added appeal of having the race as a leg of the Volvo Ocean Race.
After previous long time sponsor Telstra gave up the race earlier this year, the club placed all its sponsorship activities in the hands of a major international sporting group. While negotiations proceeded with a number of major corporations, no deal has been struck. And with less than three months to go to the start it appears the club will have to lower its sights on the value of the race if any sponsorship is to come at all.
In an obvious bid to ease the financial burden associated with staging the race the club also announced a new "user pays" system of entry fees, including a crewmember fee. A yacht entry will cost $1,100 while each crewmember will pay $75 to compete.
The first of the anticipated 80 entries came from Swedish yachtsman David Falt. His yacht, Rush, was formerly the well performed Sydney 40 Sword of Orion.
Co-designer Andy Dovell is turbo-charging the yacht along the lines of what was achieved by Seth Radows TransPac race winner Bull, also a Sydney 40. A new keel is one of the many planned changes.