Announcing Louisiades Rally 2011
by Lee Mylchreest on 18 Jan 2011
Louisiades Rally 2010 - the yachts at anchor SW
The fourth Louisiades Rally from Cairns in North Queensland to the Louisiades Archipelago will operate again in September this year. This is an opportunity for yachts to experience some of the South Pacific's most natural untouched islands, lagoons and coral cays and the communities who live on them.
Ideal both for local Australian yachts and for long range cruising yachts, it is an opportunity to be introduced to the remote archipelago in company with an experienced hand - Guy Chester, who has run the first three rallies.
Given the significant community contribution the Rally has made over three years the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority has again offered to support the Louisiades Yacht Rally. Peter Vincent, CEO of the Authority said that the Rally is a unique way of showcasing the islands and the visiting yachts have a significant benefit to the remote community.
Rally organiser Guy Chester said the initial three 2008-2010 Rallies have seen many yachts have a great time in these islands and for some it was even their first introduction to international cruising and a bluewater passage. For the last three years the locals have given their fantastic welcome, from John and Mackenzie families who host the rally's arrival at Panasia, to the Panapompom community who organise the most spectacular Sailau (traditional sailing canoe) Regatta.
Lynette Parascos and her team at Misima put on the a fun weekend 'Showcase Misima' supported by the local member of Parliament, Gordon Wesley. The hospital visit gives an insight to the community’s hardships and playing soccer against ten year olds the joy of a good laugh.
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 2011, 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!
In previous rallies, 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 enjoy the amazing islands and their inhabitants.
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 2010 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.
While the event is fun and enjoyable for the yachties, 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 three years the Rally has provided welcome cash, paying for events and making donations to local health centres and a marine ambulance. Support for individual villages has included solar lighting kits, fishing nets and water tanks.
The rally yachts also take up many donations including clothes and medical supplies (to date a heart monitor, asthma ventilator, pulseoxymeter, blood glucose monitor and defibrillator have been donated).
The Rally also aims to provide a benefit to the community and yachts take donations of medical and education supplies to communities and the rally aims to raise money to support clinics and a marine ambulance.
Feedback from Rally participants has been very positive, in the words of the crew from Tribal: 'Its been a life changing experience.' Joel Dalia, Councillor for Bagaman Island: 'The Rally must come back, its great fun and we like your support.'
The Rally leaves Cairns 17 September 2010, yachts muster a week prior at Yorkeys Knob Boating Club for briefings and preparation. Sail, power, mono and multihull are all welcome.
Further information www.louisiadesrally.com
Contact Guy Chester Phone: +61 (0)7 40558132, mobile: +61 (0) 407 391211 Emaiil: LouisiadesRally@EcoSustainAbility.com
There are also opportunities for crew wanting to join the rally, and currently volunteer places are available and needed to assist in rally management
About Guy Chester:
Guy has sailed since he was a kid. His first overseas cruise was Indonesia after the Darwin-Ambon Race in 1989, he first cruised in PNG in 1991, more recently he spent two years cruising the near Pacific. Guy ran the 2008, 2009 and 2010 Rallies.
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