I was just talking to an old friend about my intention to sail in the Melbourne Osaka Double Handed Yacht Race whilst sailing in Japan. As is very normal he asked several common questions. Two of those question are very common. What type of boat can do such a race? Do the boats carry any special equipment?
The Melbourne to Osaka Yacht Race requires that boats comply to ISAF Category O, including Appendix K . However we have it on good authority that for this next 2011 race the organizers will relax this rule to ISAF Category 1 plus some extras. The reasoning behind this I am told is that these racing yachts will not be heading south. There will no ice in this race nor will we be rounding the “horn” and therefore the need for such stringent (read expensive) boat consideration is not seen as necessary. The boats must be safe but will not be overly burdened with Safety regulations. One such relaxation of the Category O Rule is the requirement for only a single crash bulk head at the front of the yacht. Category Zero requires another at the rear or aft of the boat.
If you are interested to see how these crash zones are built into a yacht then you may enjoy this video over at YouTube which clearly shows the crash zones going in. Of further interest are the water ballast baffles on each side. In fact this boat built as BT Velocity now sailed as Wild Eyes would make a decent Melbourne Osaka racer is is for sale somewhere out there.