2018 ‘Go East’ Rally Participants Celebrate Arrival in New Caledonia

A successful completion for a rally from Australia to New Caledonia.

Published 6 years ago, updated 5 years ago

32 of the 34 yachts that departed from Southport on the Gold Coast, Australia with the Down Under ‘Go East’ Rally on May 15th, 2018 have arrived in New Caledonia. Two vessels returned to Southport soon after departing with autopilot failure.

Overall the passage was a good one however some participants found the first 36 hours challenging thanks to a period of 3-4 metre swells and the occasional squall delivering short bursts of 30 -35 kts winds.

Seasickness was the major issue with the crew of most vessels crews succumbing at some stage, however, as expected the swell reduced and conditions improved on day 3.

Participants were required to send position reports along with vessel and crew status updates every 24 hours. This was done by either SSB radio or via email using an Iridium Go.

Northland Radio then monitored progress of the fleet with daily updates being provided to the rally organizers via email.

Positions of vessels that were fitted with an Iridium Go and also had a PredictWind subscription were automatically plotted which allowed Northland Radio as well as family and friends of the participants to follow the progress of the fleet in real time.

The first two vessels arrived in New Caledonia on May 20th having made the voyage of around 800nm in just over 4 ½ days. The remaining 30 vessels arrived between the 21st and 23rd May.

The Down Under Rally arranged for permission from the New Caledonia authorities for the fleet to arrive and clear into the country at Ilot Maitre instead of Noumea, where officers from New Caledonia biosecurity came to carry out the vessel inspections. The skippers were then taken to the mainland for Customs and Immigration clearance. After this, everyone was then able to go ashore at Ilot Maître and take advantage of the facilities there

The majority of the rally participants will now spend the next 10 weeks cruising and exploring New Caledonia and then sail onwards to Vanuatu with New Caledonia to Vanuatu Rally. A further 6-8 weeks will be spent cruising the waters of Vanuatu before returning to Australia in late October / Early November.

Down Under Rally director John Hembrow stated that the rally had exceeded all expectations and added that it would not have been possible without the support of their many rally partners.



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