For those voyagers itching for a big event in Australia, Ocean Events of North Fremantle, Western Australia, has announced a 2011 Around Australia Ocean Race and 2011-12 Around Australia Rally for cruisers. Entry is limited to a total of 300 yachts for both events, 150 in the racing category and 150 for cruisers. As for the route, the yachts will race counterclockwise around the continent. Both events will cover the same distance — about 7,200 nm.
According to race director Bob Williams, one of the key attractions of the race/rally is that participants can elect where they start and finish the race from eight ports that include Fremantle, Albany, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Southport, Brisbane and Hamilton Island — representing each Australian state and a Northern Territory. Stop over ports include Broome and Esperance in Western Australia. Crew changes will be permitted during stop overs. Starting and finishing will be staggered so that eventually all boats will be racing together. All the participating boats will finally gather together in Fremantle during the Fremantle Race Week regatta.
The event is open to both monohulls and multihulls. Ocean racers will be allocated to divisions by boat length for IRC boats, high Performance Racing Boats, Offshore Racing Boats, One Design Boats, and Production boats. For rally sailors there will be a relaxed non-compulsatory handicap system. For more information visit www.sailaroundaustralia.com.au.