In 2007, to honour the 100th anniversary of the first sailing of the Rudder Cup, the ORCV broke with a 35 year tradition by redirecting the course for the famous Melbourne to Hobart “Westcoaster” to follow the Melbourne to Launceston course. However, instead of finishing at Low Head near the mouth of the Tamar River, the fleet went on to Hobart via the East Coast of Tasmania. This proved to be a great race in its own right with many unique navigational challenges. Unlike the other races down the East Coast, the course took competitors close in around the coastline which made for a spectacular and interesting race, so much so that many competitors called for the race to be repeated and thus the Eastcoaster was born.
The course over which the new race is run is slightly different from that initial race to eliminate the tidal influence of Low Head and Banks Strait. The race starts from Portsea and the first course is through the Heads. The fleet will then set a course past Cape Schank for Wilson’s Promontory. If the winds come from the south west, the fleet will enjoy a blindingly fast run to Flinders Island. The competitors will pass inside the island of Rodondo, between Curtis and Hogan islands and then must decide which side of Deal island to go as it is on the rhumbline.
After rounding the top of Flinders Island the fleet will then turn southeast along the coast of Flinders Island, this is the point in the race where the fleet could get laterally separated. If they follow the traditional strategy of the Sydney Hobart fleet they will move off the coast by heading south east and the next piece of land they would see would be the Tasman Light. The other strategy is to initially sail down the coast of Flinders Island, moving off the coast at the bottom end of Flinders to miss the wind shadow of the higher peaks and to avoid the tidal flow of Banks Strait. This strategy will mean sailing close to the Tasmanian coast, fighting the katabatics, sea breezes and land breezes not to mention tides and coastal effects.
Approaching Tasman Light, you will be amazed how many yachts start appearing as this is the meeting spot of the Sydney Hobart and the Launceston to Hobart yachts as they all head up Storm Bay where the Westcoaster yachts will start to appear from the south. The rhumbline to the Iron Pot takes them close to Cape Raoul but the Cape is a notorious wind hole. The race can be won or lost on the next fickle
section up the Derwent River. Local knowledge can be valuable here as the Derwent offers the experience of complex wind patterns and mechanisms.
We at YB Tracking are proud to be providing tracking once again for ORCV. Every participating yacht will have a YB tracker installed aboard. This means that you can follow the whole fleet or just a specific vessel easily on the online fleet tracker. The trackers will report and update the online map every thirty minutes so you can view every twist and turn that this race has to offer.