by Jeni Bone
On Saturday 30 July 2011 the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia will start its 26th annual Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, an event that is second only in status to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race among long ocean races conducted by the Club.
Start of the Race out Sydney Heads
The CYCA introduced the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race in 1986 as the 'great winter escape', taking advantage of the completion of the Gold Coast Seaway. Extensive harbour works funded by the Queensland Government had opened up an all-weather entrance at the Southport bar to deep keel yachts, large pleasure craft and fishing trawlers.
The 384 nautical mile race has attracted fleets of between 70 and 80 yachts each year, with entries coming mainly from New South Wales and Queensland, but also from Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and New Zealand. In 1997, a record fleet of 86 boats took part.
The CYCA conducts the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Race with the co-operation of Southport Yacht Club, which provides outstanding club and marina facilities for the visiting yachts in a relaxed semi-tropical setting. This close relationship between the two clubs continues.
According to Commodore of Southport Yacht Club, author and marine industry proponent, Rob Mundle, the benefits to the Gold Coast are many and include a financial windfall as well as media coverage that pPromotes the Gold Coast to a broad and varied demographic, here and around the world.
The 1-3 day race, depending on conditions, will involve some of the leading lights of the sport, including Wild Oats XI & Loyal, who sadly will have to bypass the Gold Coast and head to Brisbane because of restricted access in the Broadwater due to silting.
Wild Oats XI woxi s fingal 600x464
'The majority of competitors see it as one of the best races,' says Mundle. 'It's a rock-hopping race generally. There are plenty of big challenges with navigation and choice of course as you try to maximise your gains: do you go offshore or stay inshore?'
While locals will not see the biggest of the boats, the rest of the fleet will be pretty impressive and will finish off Southport Surf Club, Main Beach, and dock at Southport Yacht Club.
Mundle recommends the best vantage points are Burleigh through to Main Beach to see the yachts on approach. 'Spectators get a close-up look at the Seaway as the yachts enter the Broadwater. And then they will be docked at Southport Yacht Club.'
Entry is now available online by logging onto: http://goldcoast.cyca.com.au