The Grinders Coffee SOLAS Big Boat Challenge, on Sydney Harbour, has been abandoned due to safety concerns.
With thick smoke from the Australian bushfires blanketing the harbour and causing visibility issues, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia cancelled the traditional prelude to the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
The Big Boat Challenge race begins the countdown to the Rolex Sydney to Hobart race which starts on 26 December.
Four of the world’s largest maxi yachts – Wild Oats XI, Black Jack, SHK Scallywag and InfoTrack yachts, were due to compete in the short race on Sydney Harbour on Tuesday.
“We’re very disappointed to abandon the 2019 Grinders Coffee SOLAS Big Boat Challenge but for the safety of spectators, public and competitors, we made the call,” CYCA Commodore Paul Billingham said.
The race is a charity event and despite racing not going ahead, auction bids to sail on the four maxis still raised AUS$10,654.11 for the SOLAS Trust.
Earlier the Classic Sydney Hobart Yacht Regatta took place over the weekend, with more than 30 of Sydney’s finest Hobart veteran yachts turning out.
Wild Oats XI take Big Boat Challenge Line Honours – 2018 edition