Offshore Yachting : Offshore Yachting Apr May 2015
T his past season we have seen interest in Australian ocean yacht racing soar to great heights with the 70th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race attracting the biggest fleet in a decade for the bluewater classic. On the downside, however, two iconic long offshore races have seemingly gone by the board – Gosford Sailing Club deciding to no longer conduct the Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race and the challenging Australian Three Peaks in Tasmania cancelled for the second year and seemingly ended. Efforts to revive the Sydney Mooloolaba Race also appeared to have failed. The reasons for their loss to Australian ocean racing are mixed, their demise sad after many years of providing sailors some wonderful offshore racing experiences in widely varying conditions. However, back to the upside! The good news is that the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is seeking expressions of interest from yacht owners in contesting a revived Sydney Nouméa Race. I hope there is a strong response as this a wonderful race to the South Pacific’s most cosmopolitan city where Pacific island life meets French sophistication. It’s a race requiring a well prepared boat and crew, good tactical sailing and precise navigation, sailing in a north- easterly direction with the promise of fresh trade winds most of the way, and the weather getting warmer each day as the latitudes diminish. I had a long and rewarding association with the CYCA’s Sydney down the rhumbline 074 Nouméa Race as media officer working with the late Peter Rysdyk and Club Life Member Alan Brown in the 1980s and early 1990s. In fact, among the assortment of sailing memorabilia in my office overlooking the River Derwent is a brass cannon cartridge that was fired by a French frigate to start the 1987 race. Unfortunately, the inscription on the shell casing does not record the name of the French Navy frigate that started the race and then escorted the fleet on the long voyage to the finish off historic Amedee Lighthouse that guards the entrance through a coral reef and lagoon that runs the length of the south-west coastline of New Caledonia. Spot-on navigation was essential for competing yachts and I recall in one case a boat ending up on the reef when they missed the entrance, despite the warning beams from Amedee Lighthouse. The French Navy was very supportive of the races in the 1980s RACE REvIvAL Peter CamPbell is looking forward to seeing the sydney nouméa race revived by the cyca, evoking fond memories of past races in which he was closely involved. martialdosdane/nCPts and certainly looked after the visiting CYCA race management team and the visiting yachtsmen and their families. A highlight that I recall is my wife and I having lunch with the chiefs of the French Defence Forces in New Caledonia high on a hill overlooking Nouméa Harbour. On another occasion, we drove over the mountains to the tropical east coast that was just recovering from an internal uprising, passing a burnt out administration building and even a gutted tank. The restaurant at which we had hoped to have lunch had also been forcibly closed down, but a family of French expatriates out on a picnic fed and watered us well. Another time, Alan Brown and I drove over to the east coast, again aiming to have a seafood lunch at a noted restaurant. We drove into a village to check our directions only to become involved in the birth of a native child in the back of an ambulance. We were roped into getting hot water and towels, fortunately not the actual birth, but the sight of the newborn baby being held up for display dashed Alan’s and my lunch plans. The inaugural Sydney Nouméa Race was conducted by the CYCA in 1953 following an invitation from French authorities to be involved in the centenary celebrations of New Caledonia. The race started on September 1953 with the fleet arriving in time for the festivities in Nouméa, with the overall winner Trygve and Magnus Halvorsen’s Solveig. It was not until the 1980s that the race was revived, with Club Med as a sponsor, due to the energetic efforts of the late Peter Rysdyk. One year there was even a race from Nouméa to the Loyalty Islands Group off the north-east coast of New Caledonia in which I took time to sail. The last race from Sydney to Nouméa was held in the early 1990s with George Snow sailing Brindabella to a record line honours victory of 5 days 21 hours 35 minutes 00 seconds in 1991. If there is sufficient interest among yacht owners, the CYCA will revive the Sydney Nouméa race as a Category 1 ocean race for monohulls. The suggested race would be in June 2018 concurrently with the ongoing Brisbane to Nouméa and Auckland Nouméa races. The revival of the race could also stimulate French yachts from New Caledonia to once again compete in the Rolex Sydney Hobart. For expressions of interest: https:// cycaforms.seamlessdocs.com/f/6Acj9V NOUVELLE CALéDONIE Above: The city of Nouméa and its beautiful bays, from above. Expressions of interest for the reintroduction of the Sydney Nouméa race close on 31 July, 2015 with the CYCA Sailing Committee to consider it in its August meeting.
Offshore Yachting Feb-Mar 2015
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