Shake-up for Peaks experience

THE Three Peaks is moving its base and time spot in a bid to keep it growing for another 25 years.

A quarter of a century after the Australian event was launched, sailing 600 kilometres from Beauty Point to Flinders Island, Coles Bay and Hobart, with runners tackling 130km up mounts Strzelecki, Freycinet and Wellington, dwindling entries and logistical issues saw this year's event deferred.

The race committee spent the hiatus assessing the future of the event, which culminated in yesterday's announcement that it will be moved from the Tamar to the Mersey and from Easter back to March.

After the 2013 race, host yacht club Port Dalrymple gave notice of its intention to terminate a memorandum of understanding with the race committee.

``It became obvious early in the deliberations that Devonport, a city with a strong maritime history, offered a better venue to host the start of the race,'' organising committee chairman Terry Travers said yesterday.

The committee teamed up with the  Mersey Yacht Club, which will host next year's event from Friday, March 6, to coincide with the Taste The Harvest Festival organised annually by the Devonport Lions Club.

The later Friday evening start will ensure daylight activity on Flinders Island, with a finish still expected in Hobart by the following Monday.

Further enhancements include slower yachts being given motoring instructions to avoid falling too far behind, with the two major race trophies becoming a revamped Tilman trophy (a point score challenge within the reach of every team) as well as line honours for the first team at Constitution Dock in Hobart to have completed all the sailing and running legs without assistance. Entries will be capped at 20 teams due to the limited facilities at the smaller host ports.

Travers said the changes, together with improved technology, would reduce the load on volunteer marshalls.

``They will ensure the Three Peaks Race maintains the essential elements of team and challenge that have been the essence of the public popularity of this event since its inception, while adapting to the requirements of future participants,'' he said.

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