Sydney-Hobart's new qualifier

New Sydney to Newcastle race departs in two weeks

Tuesday October 8th 2002, Author: Peter Campbell, Location: Australasia
The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s first long ocean of the summer sailing season will finish at Newcastle, opening up a new concept in passage races from Sydney.

The race, a joint initiative of the CYCA and Middle Harbour Yacht Club, is a qualifying event for the 2002 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, replacing the previous 180 nautical mile Sydney to Cabbage Tree Island return race.

Instead, the Blue Water Pointscore (BWPS) and Long Ocean Pointscore (LOPS) fleets will start from Sydney Harbour on the evening of Friday, 18 October, and race north to Cabbage Tree Island, near Port Stephens, then south to Bird Islet off Norah Head and north again to finish off Nobby’s Light at the entrance to Newcastle Harbour.

The following morning, the CYCA’s Ocean Pointscore (OPS) fleet will race directly from Sydney to Newcastle, leaving at 9am, with more than 50 ocean racing yachts berthing at the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club’s new marina in Newcastle Harbour later that day.

Among the early entrants for the Cabbage Tree Island/Newcastle Race are George Snow’s 80-footer Brindabella, Syd Fischer’s 50-footer Ragamuffin, Terry Mullens’ Sting, a 49-footer, David Taylor’s Pippin and Rod Skellet’s 31-footer, Krakatoa.

"History has indicated to the CYCA Sailing Committee that the ocean racing sailors, following the exciting challenge of an ocean race, enjoy the concept of going somewhere other than back to their local club for some social interaction with their competitors and crew,” Rear Commodore Roger Hickman, Chairman of the Sailing Committee, said today.

“Races Like the Rolex Sydney to Hobart, the Sydney to Mooloolaba and Gold Coast have proven popular with competitors because we believe they have a destination. This Newcastle race, which is replacing the very popular Wollongong weekend, has been created to endeavour to again have the camaraderie found in this style of race,” he added.

CYCA Sailing Manager Justine Kirkjian said that while the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club as yet had only limited facilties, there was an excellent marina and there would be a bar, toilet and some shower facilities for the crews of visiting yachts.

“We are getting enthusiastic support from the members of the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club and from harbour authorities for what has great potential as a finishing port of call for racing yachts,” she added.

“We believe CYCA and MHYC yacht owners will reciprocate with a strong entry for this inaugural event and then by stopping over in Newcastle after the finish of the race, with surveys have indicated that crews prefer a passage race to a new port rather than starting and finishing at the same place.

“We are confident that more than 50 yachts will be contesting the Sydney/Cabbage Tree/Newcastle Race and the Sydney-Newcastle Race over the coming weekend.

“Crews may elect to stay aboard their yachts or book accommodation at local hotels and motels, with tourist information being provided to all entrants before the race.”

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