The Sydney to Hobart’s newest category is about to be unleashed with participants predicting the Two-Handed Division will grow quickly in popularity.
Of the 91 boats sailing south out of Sydney Harbour on Sunday, 18 will contest the new class.
As the name suggests, the boats carry just two crew.
Popular in Europe, the division was scheduled to make its debut in Australia’s greatest ocean race last year, only for the 2020 edition to be cancelled.
Clipper Round the World-winning skipper Wendy Tuck, who has done 13 Hobarts in fully-crewed boats, said the Two-Handed Division was her next challenge and something different.
“There’s no one to hide behind,” said Tuck, who will sail with Campbell Geeves on Speedwell.
“If we had a bad race we can’t say ‘my crew let me down,’ it’s us.
“Everything that happens is down to us and it’s no ‘can someone go do that?’
“Its like ‘oh shit I’m (that) someone now, there’s no-one else there.’
“It’s that challenge as well, trying to steer the boat, sail the boat, navigate and do everything else that has to happen.
“There’s a lot more involved which is awesome, I like being busy.”
Both Tuck and rival competitor Jiang Hui Lin, who will be aboard Min River, expect the category to grow in popularity.
“Having a smaller crew makes life a lot easier. It’s a lot less expensive because you’ve only got two crew and it’s just so much easier to manage, so I think it will become popular,” Tuck said.
The 18 crews will vie for a new trophy.
“Probably our biggest rival isn’t each other, it’s fatigue and how we manage that for three-and-a-half to four days,” said Jules Hall, owner and skipper of Disko Trooper – Contender Sailcloth.