Louisiades Rally, Its on Again for 2010
The Louisiades Rally was held in 2008 and 2009 and given the strong community desire for the yachts to visit again and interest by cruisers it will be held again in 2010.
Rally organiser, Guy Chester, said the 2009 and 2008 Rallies have seen many yachts have a great time in these islands and for many it was their first introduction to international cruising and a bluewater passage.
"The locals gave their fantastic welcome, from John and Mackenzies families who hosted our arrival at Panasia, to the Panapompom community who organised the most spectacular Sailau (traditional sailing canoe) Regatta. Keith Parascos and his team at Misima put on the most amazing weekend “Showcase Misima” supported by the local member of Parliament, Gordon Wesley. The hospital visit gave an insight to the community’s hardships and playing soccer against ten years olds the joy of a good laugh".
The weather held with only a few brisk days and occasional rain, moderate winds and sunny skies were common. Whilst the fleet all gathered for each of the Rally events, between times the yachts spread out to nearby islands, formed friendships, traded, fished, swam, visited schools, helped sick kids and enjoyed the amazing islands and their inhabitants.
Feedback from Rally participants has been very positive, in the words of the crew from Tribal: “Its been a life changing experience.”
The Louisiades Archipelago is 100 nautical miles east of “mainland” Papua New Guinea, 520 nautical miles north-east of Cairns. They are truly paradise found, 100 beautiful islands with a friendly people living a very simple life who welcome cruising yachts. The Louisiades comprise sand cays, lagoon reefs, limestone outcrops (up lifted coral reefs) and continental islands with many safe anchorages. With abundant coral reefs there is snorkelling, diving and fishing galore. The local people are exceptionally welcoming to yachts and will paddle out to welcome yachts and, of course, trade.
The Rally is a cruise in company across the Coral Sea and then four weeks throughout the spectacular Louisiades, with a mix of events and time for independent exploration of the islands and their friendly communities. For 2010, events include sailing canoe racing, feasts, sing sings, skull cave visit, traditional dancing, handicraft workshop, village visits, a remote river trip, Misima cultural festival, village school and hospital visits a sports day and even a Party!
Guy said: “Given the remoteness, lack of emergency and logistical support, the poor communication and the fact that for many entries it is their first Bluewater passage the Rally includes safety and navigation briefings during the week before departure.” In 2009 these briefings included the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Coast Guard, a liferaft demonstration and resuscitation refresher. The Rally also includes special Customs arrangements in PNG.
The Rally is fun and enjoyable for the yachties, however there is also a serious side, to give something back to the community. Few yachties go to the Louisiades just to look... they get there and realise that they can help the local folk who have so little. For the last two years the Rally has provided welcome cash, paying for events and making donations to a local clinic. The rally yachts also take up many donations including clothes and medical supplies (in 2009 a heart monitor, asthma ventilator and defibrillator were donated). In the words of Joel Dalia, Councillor for Bagaman Island: “The Rally must come back, its great fun and we like your support.”
The Rally leaves Cairns 11 September 2010, yachts muster a week prior at Yorkeys Knob Boating Club for briefings and preparation. The Rally is supported by the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority.
Further information www.louisiadesrally.com
Contact Guy Chester P|07 40558132 M|0407 391211