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Open invite to a PONANT Sydney Noumea Race & New Caledonia Groupama Race 2020 information evening

by Lisa Ratcliff / OCC 3 May 20:17 PDT 8 May 2019
Smuggler leaving Sydney PONANT Race 2018 © Andrea Francolini

For boat owners considering a unique double offshore adventure in 2020, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and Cercle Nautique Calédonien have again teamed up to offer a race to paradise followed by a unique sailing challenge in the beautiful South Pacific.

The CYCA at Rushcutters Bay and a visiting CNC contingent will host an information evening at the CYCA from 6pm on May 8 for owners and sailors keen to find out more about the biennial 2020 PONANT Sydney Noumea Yacht Race and New Caledonia GROUPAMA RACE. A presentation by both yacht clubs and New Caledonia Tourism will be followed by drinks and food with a French twist.

The CYCA trialled the reintroduction of the 1,064 nautical mile race to Noumea in 2018, the first in a quarter century, and tagged it a feeder race into the established New Caledonia GROUPAMA RACE. Royal Akarana Yacht Club in Auckland did the same, adding a distinct New Zealand flavour to the 6th edition of the GROUPAMA RACE.

Michael Martin's TP52 Frantic disintegrated Brindabella's 1991 course record from Sydney to Noumea, leading the 22-strong fleet in ideal reaching and running conditions, while Sebastian Bohm's slippery Rogers 46 called Smuggler came away with the prized IRC overall trophy.

After a few days off, enjoying Noumea's unique mix of Melanesian and French culture and cuisine, the ANZACs were joined by the local contingent to make up an international fleet of 23 for the 2018 New Caledonia GROUPAMA RACE, open to both monohulls and multihulls.

The frontrunners enjoyed the best of the weather window while the smaller boat crews had plenty of time to appreciate the amazing scenic coastline and UNESCO listed lagoon to the north, thanks to a low-pressure system that quashed the usually reliable tradewinds.

Graeme Wilson and William Goodfellow's New Zealand TP IRC52 Miss Scarlet took line honours in the 645 nautical mile anti-clockwise race while Australian entry Patrice, Tony Kirby's Ker 46, won the GROUPAMA RACE on IRC corrected time, the key race spoils shared between the strong Trans-Tasman sailing nations.

Post-race Kirby said: "the local community have been so great to us, looking after us," while his navigator Michael Bellingham spoke on the challenge of sailing in the region, saying: "this island has lots of traps and secrets - you have to keep your wits about you!".

Drew Carruthers' Queensland 15m catamaran Rushour proved the dominant multihull once the breeze freshened, taking the double of fastest course time and OMR corrected time.

The CNC would love to welcome more Australian entries to its pinnacle bluewater event starting June 21, 2020 and they look forward to co-hosting a special evening on May 8 where details on the GROUPAMA Race, Noumea's boating facilities, Notice of Race and the support provided to those who make the journey via a feeder race, or individually, will be outlined.

For those interested in the PONANT Sydney Noumea Yacht Race starting June 6, 2020, CYCA and PONANT representatives will detail key information and answer questions at the same evening session. All sailors are welcome on May 8.

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