Yacht race Fahey's priority

SOLO Tasmanian sailor Tobias Fahey has elected to delay his plans to sail around the world until October next year and, in the interim, contest the Launceston to Hobart race later this month.

Fahey's Radford 14, Sea Quest, is among the final 35 entries for the L2H, the 285 nautical mile offshore race around the north-east and east coasts of Tasmania, starting at 11am on December 27.

``The huge cost involved in rectifying the battery problem which forced me to abort the circumnavigation attempt last week, together with the late departure time, has made me decide not to set sail again this year,'' Fahey said.

``I plan to set sail on the solo circumnavigation, aiming to be the fastest Australian to sail around the world, in October next year.

``I will be better prepared and able to set a wider window of opportunity, weatherwise, as to when to set sail from Hobart.

``It was a hard decision to make, not to try again this year, but it's late in the season, and the cost of rectifying the battery problem is devastating financially.''

Fahey said his boat performed superbly as it traversed halfway across the Tasman Sea towards New Zealand, before he was forced to return to Hobart.

``She was far exceeding my expectations in boat speed, but without a working battery recharging system I could not continue.''

He plans to race Sea Quest in the Launceston to Hobart either two-up or with a crew, and then in March-April attempt to set a benchmark for the 660 nautical mile circumnavigation of Tasmania.

``Given the right weather, we could sail around Tasmania in Sea Quest in 48 hours,'' he added.

Sea Quest, at 14 metres, will be the biggest boat in the fleet and could set the pace with Garry Smith's The Fork in the Road.

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