Sydney to Hobart officials are scrambling to formulate a plan for the 'worst-case scenario' as bushfires threaten to cause the postponement of the St.Stephen's Day race start reports the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.
Following the cancellation of the Big Boat Challenge on Tuesday due to smoke haze that cut visibility on Sydney Harbour to 0.1 nautical miles, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Commodore Paul Billingham admitted rescheduling the bluewater classic was now on the table in the event of a repeat of Tuesday's conditions.
"Have we planned for what would happen if we have a smokebound harbour? No, we haven't. So we're working on that," he said. "With 160-odd boats we are expecting on the start line, we have a full exclusion zone on Boxing Day.
"That said, safety will be the priority and it's certainly in the race instructions and the sailing instruction that we can postpone if we need to."
Billingham said that while they "hope not to" postpone the race, the possibility was being given thought following the unprecedented abandonment of the Big Boat Challenge.
"We don't yet have the long-term weather that's reliable enough to sort of make a decision or even expect what it might be on Boxing Day, but that's part of our planning of the next week or two, to see what we need to do," Billingham said.