For the first time in the race’s 25-year history, the Big Boat Challenge has been abandoned due to safety concerns around the smoke haze.
The race, a sprint around Sydney Harbour for Sydney to Hobart contenders, traditionally marks the start of the Sydney to Hobart lead-up events.
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia commodore Paul Bellingham said that while making the final call to abandon the race was “difficult”, the decision was made following advice from authorities.
“Today we’ve seen the bushfires come to Sydney Harbour with a vengeance,” Mr Bellingham said. “The view was for the safety of our competitors, but more importantly the spectator craft out there; it would be irresponsible for us to run the race today.”