The Heaven Can Wait Yacht Club – which will run the annual Heaven Can Wait 24 hour yacht regatta, held each October long weekend on Lake Macquarie – has recently been established. The new club is affiliated with Yachting NSW.
The Heaven Can Wait Yacht Club, which was formed by race founder Shaun Lewicki and a number of sailors involved with the event in previous years, aims to substantially increase the profile of the race, and gain full support from all Lake Macquarie-based yacht clubs, as well as from those further afield.
Lewicki, who has been elected inaugural commodore, said it had been decided to form the Heaven Can Wait Yacht Club to run and manage the event, for a number of reasons.
'In the first instance, it had become obvious that we needed a formal structure to manage all aspects of this event,' he said.
'For the past three years, I’ve been putting the race together, with considerable assistance from a number of other enthusiasts, but this was clearly getting too much to manage in this way.
'By having a formal structure – with full Yachting NSW accreditation – we will now be able to set up a proper race committee, including a principal race officer, which will take full responsibility for all aspects of race management,' he said.
'The first task of that race committee has been to issue a preliminary notice-of-race for the 2008 event, which will be held on October 4-5, 2008, on Lake Macquarie.'
Another important reason for establishing a 'stand-alone' HCWYC was to maximise involvement from all Lake Macquarie yacht clubs, as well as those from outside the Lake.
'We have had ongoing interest from Lake Macquarie-based clubs in running the event for us,' Lewicki said.
'However, the committee felt that the best option to ensure widespread support and cooperation from all clubs would be to set up a club which would exist just to run the event – and then work closely with all clubs to ensure it is as large and successful as possible.'
Lewicki explained that other factors in deciding to set up the Heaven Can Wait Yacht Club include:
• Establishing a single entity that can negotiate with other yacht clubs, sponsors, government agencies, tourist authorities, rescue organisations and others, to ensure the event achieves its full potential and is sustainable into the future.
• The opportunity to apply for charity status, so that sponsorships and entry fees are tax-deductible up-front
• Setting low membership fees, giving entrants who are not members of a YA affiliated club the ability to join a yacht club at low cost, and gain YA-membership.
• Raise additional funds for cancer research, through low ordinary membership costs, with options for silver, gold and platinum membership for those who wished to donate more money
• Establishing a fully accountable entity, ensuring that all legal, insurance, safety, financial, security and other issues are properly covered.