Saturday July 28th sees the 54 teams that compete in the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race set off from Sydney Harbour, on their 384 mile winter run north to Queensland’s Gold Coast. Expect the rivalry between Wild Oats XI and Comanche to be rekindled this year, with the latter also battling it out with three other 100 footers.
Organized by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race is an opener for the new Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore Series. This offshore series incorporates the Blue Water Pointscore Series (IRC), Tasman Performance Series (PHS), the Cape Byron Series (ORCi) and the Line Honours Series, for a total of six races in 2018.
The Sydney Gold Coast opener gives teams the chance to gather points and vital offshore racing experience in preparation for the prestigious Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race scheduled for December 26th. The Sydney Gold Coast opener is also a test bed for changes to handicaps, safety rules and class splits.
Good tactical navigation decisions are required for this offshore race - teams usually hug the coast to avoid the East Australian Current, but past years have seen the occasional team moving farther offshore in search of a better run.
Established in 1944, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia has decades of race management expertise and is often called upon to manage other international sailing events such as the Olympics, or to coordinate with teams attempting global circumnavigation records.
The annual Sydney Gold Coast Race was established in 1986, following the Queensland Government’s construction of a stable, all-weather entrance called the Gold Coast Seaway. It allowed for deep keel yachts, large pleasure craft and fishing boats to enter the marina, increasing the area’s accessibility and popularity for yachts.
Photo (c) Andrea Francolini Photography