Please select your home edition
Edition
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW LEADERBOARD

Looking beyond, to the New Caledonia Groupama Race

by Lisa Ratcliff / OCC 11 Nov 2019 02:02 PST From 21 June 2020
Sibby Ilzhofer's Dare Devil (AUS) - New Caledonia Groupama Race © Boris Colas

Most of the Trans-Tasman waterfront talk currently centres on the looming 75th anniversary Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and the bumper international fleet of 170 boats. Despite the attention trained on the big end-of-year race, some of the same offshore boat owners are looking beyond, to their 2020 program and the opportunity to contest the unique biennial New Caledonia Groupama Race, a demanding race in paradise that draws New Caledonian, New Zealand, Australian and other international boats.

The crew of Sibby Ilzhofer's Sydney 47 Dare Devil from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) is busy readying for the southern hemisphere's best-known bluewater race. At the same time, there is a show of hands for the CYCA-run PONANT Sydney Noumea Yacht Race which leads into the Groupama Race that will begin off New Caledonia's capital, Noumea, on June 21, 2020.

"My inspiration to have another crack at the Groupama comes from the fact we like to do the Sydney to Noumea Race, and it doesn't make sense to go all that way then not do the local race," Ilzhofer said. "It's a natural thing to arrive then get ready for the next adventure. When we were there in 2018 the people and organisers were lovely, and it was beautiful sailing in paradise. The brochure is spot on."

For the last 654 nautical mile race around the beautiful French-speaking South Pacific Island, the Australian skipper opted to round out her crew with five New Caledonian sailors. Having locals on-hand meant that on arrival with the PONANT fleet, she had easy access to boating services such as mechanics and sailmakers. Additionally, Cercle Nautique Calédonien (CNC) assigned a 'grandfather' or 'grandmother' to each visiting boat, to assist with day-to-day queries.

Co-owner of the NZ based IRC 52 called Miss Scarlet, Graeme Wilson, is also excited to return to the region next year, particularly given the timing - when Auckland's harsh winter is biting hard - and to the event he describes as "a highlight for Miss Scarlet and her crew in 2018".

"We are looking forward to sunshine and tradewinds and another great race around New Caledonia in 2020. We were the line honours victor last time. Barring much bigger fish entering we'd like to think we are in with a good chance to defend our title though with the growing strength of the Australian TP52 class it's likely we'll have some additional challengers to throw off," Wilson added.

Miss Scarlet will also double-up and use the Royal Akarana Yacht Club's Cat 1 Auckland to Fiji Race starting May 30, as the means to reach the South Pacific's naturally beautiful chain of islands.

Following the June 21 start of the 7th edition of the New Caledonia Groupama Race, Miss Scarlet and the combined majority Australian, New Zealand and local fleet, will sail anti-clockwise from Noumea up the east coast, through the UNESCO World Heritage listed lagoon to the north and down the west coast back to the finish line and a hero's welcome at Noumea's redeveloped Port Moselle marina.

Last week, CNC's promotions manager Matthias Balagny presented the 2020 New Caledonia Groupama Race to RAYC's members, the Shorthanded Sailing Association of New Zealand's members and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's members and partners. Earlier this year the members of the CYCA and Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron enjoyed a similar visit and presentation.

For the first time since the debut Groupama Race in 2008, shorthanded and cruising divisions are on offer. Enter here.

Both the current monohull and multihull race records were established in 2016.

For more information visit the event website.

Related Articles

Mixing it up
A few sailing events which are a bit 'out of the norm' As we head towards the end of September, I've been thinking about which events, and days out sailing, have been the most fun this year. There are a few to choose from, and overall it's been a good year for time on the water. Posted on 21 Sep
An exciting 52nd edition of La Solitaire du Figaro
Now heading for 2022! 'Where legends are born!' is the strapline of La Solitaire du Figaro. One reason that legendary sailors are made and crowned on the La Solitaire du Figaro is the magnitude of the challenge. Posted on 21 Sep
The Vendée Arctic - Les Sables d'Olonne 2022
The first qualifying stage for the Vendée Globe 2024 The SAEM Vendée, the organisers of the Vendée Globe, will also organize the "Vendée Arctic - Les Sables-d'Olonne" which will be the first qualifying stage for the Vendée Globe 2024. The "Arctic Vendée Les Sables-d'Olonne" will leave from Port Olona Posted on 21 Sep
Figaro Beneteau 3 – Quintessentially French
Can the Figaro Beneteau 3 be summed up in a headline or just one or two sentences? Maybe... She's quite happy to slap you back and forth across your face, or go off and sulk at a corner table with an espresso martini and deliver you scorchingly deathly stares. Posted on 21 Sep
Snipes return to Boston
To compete for the Western Hemisphere & Orient Championship The Snipes are returning to Boston to compete for the title of the Western Hemisphere & Orient Championship. With the hiatus from the pandemic, the event was moved to 2021 and has 27 entries - a small but strong group representing 6 nations Posted on 20 Sep
2021 Hempel Mixed Two Person Offshore Worlds Leg 2
Team ESP have taken an early lead in the Adriatic Sea Team ESP have taken an early lead in Leg 2 of the 2021 Hempel Mixed Two Person Offshore World Championship in Italy. The 10 boat fleet of Figaro 3 keelboats started out from Bari at 0800 hours this morning on a 300-mile leg through the Adriatic Sea. Posted on 20 Sep
Multihull showdown for RORC Transatlantic Race
The race will feature three 70ft (21m) trimarans In association with the International Maxi Association (IMA) and the Yacht Club de France, over 20 teams are expected to race the 3,000 mile course across the Atlantic Ocean to Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada. Posted on 20 Sep
11th Hour Racing Team at Le Défi Azimut
The team experiences highs and lows at the event Victory in the Speed Runs and the runner's-up spot in the double-handed 48-Hour Race were the highlights for the US-based 11th Hour Racing Team, as it competed with two boats in the Défi Azimut regatta in Lorient on the French Brittany coast. Posted on 20 Sep
Audaz - another Brazilian entry for Cape2Rio Race
The Cape to Rio Race is a "bucket list" Ocean Race The Royal Cape YC and Iate Clube do Rio de Janeiro are proud to announce the arrival of the 9th entry for the iconic 2023 Cape to Rio Race. The entry, Audaz, is a 16-meter aluminum monohull designed by Finot and owned by Francisco Julio Galvão Lucchesi. Posted on 20 Sep
Italia Sailing Team enters The Ocean Race 2022-23
The goal is to give Italian tourism a further boost and enhance the Made in Italy brand During a press conference organised by the Yacht Club Italiano on Sunday evening, the Italian Minister of Tourism, Massimo Garavaglia, gave his full support for an Italian entry in the next edition of The Ocean Race, scheduled to start in late 2022. Posted on 20 Sep
Cyclops 2020 - SmartlinkNano - FOOTERSea Sure 2020 - SHOCK-WBV - FOOTERRooster 2020 - Impact BA - FOOTER