Open classes in Melbourne-Osaka
This four yearly event, first run in 1987, is the longest double handed race in the world, linking the Sister City and Sister Port relationships between Melbourne and Osaka, 5,500 miles away in Japan. The unusual northward bound course allows competitors to experience three seasons - autumn in the Southern Hemisphere, summer around the Equator and spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
The race to Osaka begins on 16 March, 2003, with a prologue leg from Station Pier, Port Melbourne to Portsea Pier the previous day.
Two classes in the new Open Racer Group have been added to attract Open 50s and 60s to take part. Aside from these classes the race caters to monohulls of between 10 and 18.28m who can take part under IMS in the Racing and cruiser Group - class A (14-16m), class B (12-14m), class C (10-12m) or the Cruising fleet can include boats of 12-15.24m.
With several new Open class boats now in existence from the Antipodes and Japan, such as Graham Dalton's Hexagon and Kanga Birtles's new team from Australia that have an entry in Around Alone, this event could promote the growth of Open class sailing down under.
Entries for the 2003 Tasaki Osaka Cup close on 30 November 2002.
Below: Graham Dalton's Open 60 Hexagon