Australia’s longest inshore waters yacht race, the Heaven Can Wait 24 hour yacht race, will this year be co-hosted by Toronto Royal Motor Yacht Club, based in the north-western corner of Lake Macquarie.
As in previous years, the Heaven Can Wait (HCW) race will be held on the NSW October Labour Day long weekend, on October 4-5, and will again raise funds for cancer research and support networks.
The race is run by the Heaven Can Wait Yacht Club (HCW YC), which has been formed as a stand-alone, non-profit yacht club affiliated with Yachting Australia, and exists solely with the aim of managing the HCW event and raising funds for cancer research and support.
This unique race, which was first held in 2006, raises funds for cancer research, was conceived and developed by Shaun Lewicki, a cancer survivor and keen sailor, who lives and sails on Lake Macquarie.
The HCW 24 hour race is open to both keelboats and trailerable yachts – monohulls and multihulls – from 18 feet and up, in a range of classes, from sportsboats to cruising boats (which can race in a non-spinnaker division).
In 2007, more than 50 boats competed, and this year, organisers are hoping for up to twice that number.
The HCW YC will shortly be open to membership, for both Australian and international sailors, with the aim being that membership subscriptions will cover all operating expenses. This means that all race entry fees and sponsorship monies raised will go directly to the Cancer Council of NSW’s Hunter Division.
And in a first for this year’s race, the 2008 HCW event will focus on raising funds and awareness of men’s cancers – in particular prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
Through its co-hosting with Toronto RMYC, the race will start off the club, at the north-western end of the lake, proceed southwards down the western side via, Wangi, the western side of Pulbah Island to Mannering Park at the south-western corner, then up the eastern side via the old Raffertys Resort, then to Belmont, on to Spears Point at the northern tip before returning to Toronto.
Competing boats carry out as many laps as they can during the 24 hours, starting at 1200 hours on October 4, and finishing at 1300 hours on October 5 (this is because there is a change to Daylight Saving in NSW overnight, with clocks going forward one hour at 0300 hours).
Being a distance-over-time race, the boat achieving the longest distance over the correct course during the 24 hours will be the winner. Handicap winners will also be declared.
For those who don’t wish to do the full 24-hour race, there will be a 'One-Lap Dash' race, starting at the same time, and finishing before nightfall.
Winners will be announced at a post-race function, to be held at Toronto RMYC on the afternoon of October 5.
This year’s race is also expected to attract a significant number of boats from out of Lake Macquarie – keelboats, which will have to sail to the lake, as well as Trailerables, according to HCW YC Commodore Shaun Lewicki.
'Last year, we had nearly a dozen boats sail to the lake to participate in the HCW race,' he said.
'We had a number of clubs – both from Lake Macquarie and from Sydney – competing in the Club Challenge team’s event, which was won by Balmain Sailing Club.
'The club has announced its intention of strongly defending its title – and is challenging other clubs to try to rest the trophy from Balmain!
'We are encouraging as many boats as possible from outside the lake to compete in the race, and help ensure it is a major event for the Australia sailing community,' said Lewicki.
In addition, individuals from Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory – as well as from overseas – are looking to travel to Lake Macquarie to participate.
'Last year, we had participants from the USA and New Zealand flying into takes part in the race,' said Lewicki. 'They are coming back, plus we now have others also planning to make the trip.'
Brian Meredyth, Commodore of Toronto RMYC, said the club was delighted to co-host the 2008 HCW event.
'Our position at Toronto provides easy access for people coming up from Sydney, whether crew, with Trailerables, or those who’ve brought boats up to the lake for the event,' he said.
'We have plenty of facilities available, including food and supplies, a chandlery and local accommodation, as well as easy car or train/bus transport.
'In addition, the club offers full facilities, including a bar, food, showers, change rooms, a proper race committee room, along with casual moorings – and of course a full understanding of the needs of sailors and the racing community.'
To cater from 'out of Lake' keelboats, some moorings will be organised adjacent to Toronto RMYC, while a 160 foot floating pontoon will be established off the club, giving all boats easy access to the race briefings and after-race events.
Full information on the 2008 HCW 24 hour yacht race, including the NOR and course map, along with channel charts and tide times for the Swansea Bar, are now available on the event’s website at www.heavencanwait.com.au
Heaven Can Wait Yacht Club burgee -
Sailors can now register to receive information on how to join the club and enter for the race on the website
For further information, please contact Shaun Lewicki on 0458 494620, email info@.heavencanwait.com.au
Heaven Can Wait 2008 Course Map -