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New Around Australia Race and Rally

By Sue Richards last modified Jun 24, 2009 12:07 PM

Published: 2009-06-24 12:07:53
Topics: Rallies
Countries: Australia

Sailing around Australia - Slot Reservations now coming in.

Sailing around Australia is one of those things every sailor wants to do during their life. Australia is the largest island continent to sail around. Surprisingly, it's only a small band of yachtsmen and yachtswomen that have done it.

The last fleet race around Australia took place 21 years ago as part of the bicentennial celebrations. Why not a regular race or rally around Australia since?

Western Australian company Ocean Events is on a mission to do something about this. Welcome to the 2011 Around Australia Ocean Race and Rally.

Ocean Events is promoting the event with a team of Australian yachting people including Denis Thompson Australia's most experienced yacht race manager, and the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria and other yacht clubs and prominent yacht owners contributing to the event logistics.

Bob Williams, Director of Ocean Events- "Sailing around Australia is one of the world's great adventures. Why is there not a regular race or rally? We think the tyranny of distance. A conventional approach is to set one major port as the start and finish port. Wherever the location it will be too distant from home and discourage many potential participants. Large fleet numbers are necessary for viability".

"We explored an event that provided for yachts to start and finish from several ports around Australia. To discover what other yachtsmen and yachtswomen thought of the idea we conducted a global on-line survey".

"Five hundred and fifty (550) responses later Australian and overseas sailors resoundingly voted for a race or rally around Australia allowing starting and finishing at their home port with stop over ports in between. We happily designed an event giving yachting people what they want."

The race event incorporates 10 stop-over ports around Australia. Distance overall is around 7500 nautical miles with distance between ports ranging from 350 nautical miles to 1400 nm. Australian participants choose one of the 10 ports that suit them as their start and finish port. Overseas participants are welcomed and can choose a port that suits them best. Yachts starting from Fremantle start first

The race event timing aligns with the iconic Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, the Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week, and the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week allowing participation in these very popular events. During a 10 day stopover in Fremantle, a Fremantle Race Week regatta will be held.

Ocean Events will appoint "Leg Captains" selected from sailors with extensive local knowledge that will be involved in pre leg briefings for both the racing and rally fleets. More information in the race event detail at the botom of this newsletter.

The cruising fleet is likely to be bigger again and will visit many more places. Yachts cruising in the region are likely to defer a year and sail around Australia. But there are stringent safety requirements. More information in the rally event detail at the bottom of this newsletter.

But it's not only Williams and his team that are enthusiastic about the event. Some of Australia's leading yachtsman and yachtswomen have this to say -

Matt Allen Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the organising Club for the Sydney to Hobart race and owner of Ichi Ban, the modified Volvo 70 which raced in the last Volvo Round the World Race.

"This event ticks all the boxes. Sure yachts will have different weather systems, the early starters from Western Australia, versus the Sydney starters, but you know in the Sydney to Hobart race, people are sailing in different weather systems depending if they are in the front of the fleet or the back and the time they arrive in the Derwent, it just makes it all the more challenging. I want to be in the 2011 fleet."

Grant Wharington, owner skipper of the supermaxi Skandia. "We are up for it!! It will be a glamour. The fact that it fits in with Sydney to Southport and Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island Race Weeks is really great."

"We thought about doing it on our own non stop, but being able to stop and have some time to look around, play tourist and have crew fly in for legs is really good."

"Sailing around Australia is one of those things every sailor wants to do before they die and the reality it's only going to happen in an organised Round Australia event."

Ray Roberts, Quantum Racing, one of the leading yacht campaigners in the Asia Pacific. "A superb concept. I've sailed all around Asia and the Australian east coast, but to sail around all of Australia has always been a dream. One of the things I've always wanted to do in my life. We will have lots of sailors wanting to put their hand up to do legs of this race. I will be on the 2011 start-line in Sydney and I believe sailors from around the world will be joining us."

World Cruising circumnavigator Nancy Knudsen, has her finger on the pulse of the cruising community. She is the highly regarded editor of Sail-World Cruising, the world's largest online cruising publication.

"It was excellent to see the organisers of the event go to the cruising sailors themselves to ask what they wanted - this is unusual, and spells well for the success of the venture."

"I think that the whole project sounds thrilling. To organise a sailing journey round Australia is no easy task, and, with the remoteness of some of the stretches, a rally is just the thing to make the adventure more enjoyable but less daunting."

"I can't think of anything better than sailing inside the Barrier Reef to the Tip, then across the Top End and to the staggeringly beautiful areas of the North West Coast. Cruisers will experience every kind of conditions, from sailing in the tropics to the temperate zones, and the wide spread of Australian culture, from dozens of true-blue Ozzie coastal towns to the glitz of every single capital city except Canberra."

"Then it will be the local sailing and navigating knowledge brought together by the organisers that will ensure that the rally becomes an adventure of a life time for the lucky participants. I say, Go for it!"

And from Jon Sanders, who has sailed around the world a total of seven times solo, around Australia he's lost count, although he has racked up more than 40 crossings of the Great Australian Bight. "I think many of the racing sailors will wish they'd joined the cruising rally fleet. There is just so much to see. What is my favourite place on the Australian coast? It would have to be King Sound near Derby in north Western Australia. I look forward to being in the 2011 rally fleet."

Ocean Events have posted a Provisional Notice of Race on the event web site www.sailaroundaustralia.com.au with an Entry Form ready to be completed.

Reservations have commenced.

info@sailaroundaustralia.com.au

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