omicron the wrecker

The Sydney-Hobart Race is a genuine offshore passage race. But a rapid resurgence of Covid in Australia may turn that aspect of the event into a disruptive nightmare.

The race starts in mainland New South Wales and ends 628 nautical miles away on the island of Tasmania. But here’s the catch: the separate states of the Australian Commonwealth each set their own health protocols.

Last year’s race was abandoned a week before the December 26 start, principally because the Tasmanian government and health authorities were concerned that arriving crew and supporters would bring the virus with them. Many other states also closed their borders for long periods.

Now, with just four days to go before the starting canon is scheduled to fire at 13:00 on Boxing Day, genuine fears are emerging that the fast-multiplying Omicron strain will hamstring the race, if not force its cancellation altogether. NSW recorded more than 3,700 new infections yesterday while Tasmania had 12 after recently re-opening their borders…

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