Reinstated Sydney Noumea Race draws fleet of 24
Event: PONANT Sydney Noumea Yacht Race starting June 2, 2018 from Sydney Harbour organised by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) with the cooperation of Cercle Nautique Calédonien Yacht Club (CNC)
On Saturday June 2, following a 25-year hiatus, a multi-state Australian and New Caledonian fleet of 24 boats will bring life back to one of Australia’s oldest ocean odysseys when the 2018 PONANT Sydney Noumea Yacht Race sets sail from Sydney Harbour.
The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia organised the inaugural Sydney Noumea Race in 1953 at the invitation of the New Caledonian government at the time. Following the 1993 Sydney Noumea Race the 1064 nautical mile endurance event went on the backburner for decades.
“There was a lot of sentiment attached to the Sydney Noumea Race, for those who had competed in the past,” CYCA Commodore John Markos said. “We went to the club’s membership proposing a possible revival and the support was there. The entry list augers well for the state of ocean racing in Australia and we hope it will grow.”
PONANT is supporting the re-established Sydney Noumea Yacht Race. “We have signed up as sponsors because we feel a positive synergy between the CYCA and PONANT, the French owned and operated luxury cruise line and world leader in expedition cruising,” said Monique Ponfoort, vice president PONANT Asia Pacific. “This is the perfect link between sponsor and event. Of course, the race ending in French Caledonia adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the appeal.
“PONANT’s Le Ponant, a classic three masted yacht, is the company’s first vessel and represents the close ties that the founder and CEO Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée continues to have with sailing,” she added.
The line honours contest is expected to play out between Tony Kirby’s Ker 46 Patrice, Mick Martin’s TP52 Frantic, Sebastian Bohm’s Rogers 46 Smuggler and Mark and Louis Ryckman’s Welbourn 50 GPB Yeah Baby.
It will take a fraction over eight knots of average boat speed to break the enduring record of five days, 21 hours and 35 minutes set in 1993 by George Snow’s Farr 65 Brindabella. Once in the tradewinds any of the modern line honours contenders can maintain this speed as they sprint to the finish line off Noumea, the capital of the French territory and South Pacific archipelago.
By Lisa Ratcliff/OCC
PONANT Sydney Noumea Yacht Race fast facts:
Race start: Saturday, June 2, 2018
Organising clubs: Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and the Cercle Nautique Calédonien
Distance: 1064 nautical miles
Race record: Brindabella (1991) – 5 days 21 hours 35 minutes