WHILE no boats are aligned to sailing clubs across the region, Brannew has a local feel, after setting sail in its first Sydney to Hobart race today.
Brannew, a play on brand new, is owned and skippered by Chris Bran, of Yowie Bay, while crew members Glen Cooper, Ian and Michael Short, Luke Derwent and Jacob Broom all have connections with St George and Sutherland Shire area.
For Bran, it is his second start in the iconic race having been part of the late Andrew Short’s crew in 2003.
‘‘It’s been one of my lifelong ambitions to steer my own boat to Hobart,’’ Bran said.
The boat finished 18th outright and had a division three IRC victory in his first offshore race; the Sydney to Gold Coast earlier this year.
Bran said he would like to push for another class victory at the end of the 628 nautical race.
‘‘We believe we’ve got quite a competitive package,’’ Bran said.
‘‘We feel we have the necessary compartments to be competitive but you never know what the race throws at you.’’
The lack of boats from the region is in stark contrast to last year where three boats from Cronulla Sailing Club took part in the 67th edition of the race.
Wasabi skipper Bruce McKay, of Dolans Bay, is missing his first race in three years, preferring to enter his boat in the prestigious Melbourne to Osaka, Japan race in March.
‘‘I need to focus 100 per cent on this race,’’ McKay, said of the 5500 nautical mile event.
‘‘The financial and time cost of the Sydney to Hobart is huge too. It’s been relaxing.’’
Another non-starter, ColorTile, which failed to finish the race following damage to its rigging while entering Bass Strait last year, is planning to compete next year.
‘‘I’ve always said I’ll do it every year,’’ skipper Warren Buchan, of Cronulla, said.
BRANNEW CREWOwner/skipper Chris Bran, of Yowie Bay, Glen Cooper (Beverly Hills), Ian and Michael Short (Ian Short Sails, Caringbah), Luke Derwent (Oatley), Jacob Broom (Cronulla)