The 2011 Van Diemens Land Circumnavigation Cruise will start from Hobart on Wednesday week, 16 February, with 44 boats competing in what the biggest cruising-in-company event in Australian waters.
The circumnavigation of the island State of Tasmania will take just over five weeks and cover 780 nautical miles in total passages between ports of call, with stopovers of several days in the Tamar River, the Hunter Group, Macquarie Harbour and Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour.
Conducted by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, this year’s WMcA Building Services VDL-C has attracted yachts and motor cruisers from all States of Australia plus two overseas entrants, one from New Zealand and one with a Danish crew.
Of the total, 22 boats have their home port in south-eastern Tasmania and 14 are from Victoria. While the Tasmanian boats will start from Hobart most of the mainland boats will join the fleet at Beauty Point on the Tamar River. The fleet is due back in Hobart on 15 March and visiting boats will complete their circumnavigation by crossing the vessel’s outward track on the way home.
Cruise Commodore is Graeme Dineen on board Sea Esta while Jeremy Firth will be communications officer on the fleet radio relay vessel Rosinante.
From Hobart on Wednesday week, the Cruise fleet will sail up the Tasmanian East Coast with stopovers including Port Arthur or Fortesque Bay, Maria Island, the Schouten Passage, Wineglass Bay and Clark Island or Foster Inland at the southern end of the Furneaux Group, arriving at Beauty Point on Thursday, 24 February.
The Geelong fleet will sail from Queenscliff on Friday, 25 February to join the Hobart boats at Beauty Point. After three or four days in the Tamar River, the VDL-C fleet will sailing westward in Bass Strait, calling at Port Sorell, Devonport or Wynyard, depending on weather conditions, and arriving at Stanley on Wednesday, 2 March.
From Stanley, the VDL-C fleet will sail to Hunter Group and then the 125 nautical mile leg down the West Coast to Macquarie Harbour, with a scheduled arrival at Strachan of Monday, 7 March.
After exploring Macquarie Harbour and the Gordon River, the fleet will sail a further 100 nautical miles south to the magnificent waters of Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour where the crews will spend four days.
Sailing around the rugged southern coast of Tasmania, the VDL-C fleet will call at Recherche Bay, Dover and Port Cygnet in the d’Entrecasteaux Channel and Barnes Bay on Bruny Island before the last sail to Hobart, arriving at the RYCT on Tuesday, 22 March.
The mainland boats will depart on Saturday, 26 March to complete their circumnavigation, but also calling at Lady Barron on Flinders Island and at Deal Island before arriving back at Queenscliff on Tuesday, 5 April.