Newly appointed Race Director Tony Evans has announced that the 39th Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race has been scheduled for a start in Broken Bay on Saturday 6th April 2013.
Wild Rose - Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race 2011
The new date was selected after consultation with Yachting Australia, the Lord Howe Island Board and renowned ocean weather expert Roger 'Clouds' Badham.
Traditionally the 'Lord Howe', a true Category 1 Ocean Passage Race starts on the last Saturday in October, but the new Race Committee believed it was necessary to shift the date to attract a more competitive race fleet.
Evans has cited the rise in popularity of Hamilton Island and Airlie Race weeks, along with mooring restrictions in the Lord Howe lagoon as key contributing factors into the waning event.
'Sometimes tradition, progress and the elements conspire against you and there comes a time when you have to dispense with tradition to go forward', Evans said. 'We looked at the calendar and decided that with most Club season point-scores due to finish in March, we could take advantage of the available Cat 1 boats sitting idle and skippers looking for a contest'.
The new Race Director sought advice from some ocean racing heavyweights prior to making this decision and is satisfied that the new date will suit more competitive racing yachts. So much so that the Race Committee expects that they will need to factor in more stringent entry qualifications to select the race fleet.
There is already interest from some high profile racing yachts including a recent Fastnet line honours winner, which is a pleasing sign for the race and the Gosford Club.
The six month postponement of the 39th event will also give the GSC time to work on moorings strategies with the Island Board. The club will be seeking extra sponsor support to assist with the cost of mooring improvements in the Man of War (South) Passage at Lord Howe to help accommodate the bigger boats in the race fleet.
Assuming the new date proves successful for the Lord Howe, it will become a regular mid-Autumn feature on the Australian yachting calendar.
The Race Director can be contacted on 0416216361 or lhi(at)gosfordsailingclub.com.au