First yacht races of 2010 promise warm sailing

January 2010: it's the start of a new decade and the launch of Australia's new warm-weather east coast offshore sailing circuit between Pittwater, in Sydney, and Southport, on the Gold Coast.

It's an event which can already lay claim to a ‘world first': the first passage race, from Pittwater to Coffs Harbour starting on January 2 will be first significant ocean race for the new decade and the year, anywhere in the world.

Even so, this circuit promises to be a lot more than that.

The offshore component will start with the 29th staging of Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club's highly successful 226 nautical mile Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race, and it will culminate with an exciting new event, Sail Paradise: a five-day regatta which will be staged by Southport Yacht Club just off the Gold Coast's magnificent ocean beaches.

Adding spice to this already appealing mix are four short and middle distance sprint races, and a very desirable social program that spreads from start to finish.

Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club will be hosting a curtain-raiser sprint race off Palm Beach plus two scenic coastal sprints off Coffs Harbour. It will also celebrate the arrival of the new decade with the hosting of a big New Year's Eve party at its magnificent waterfront facility at Newport, on Pittwater.

The Coffs Harbour sector of the circuit will be conducted in conjunction with Coffs Harbour Yacht Club, and when that first stage is complete Southport Yacht Club will present the inaugural Coffs to Paradise Race, a 150 nautical mile coastal dash to the Gold Coast, starting on January 7. This will be followed on January 10 by Sail Paradise.

Competitors will be able to contest any sector of the circuit – from all races to just one. There will be an overall championship trophy plus trophies for each event.

While the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour and Coffs to Paradise races will cater for ocean racing yachts, Sail Paradise will be open to a far wider range of sailboats, including the smaller Sports Boats and Etchells classes. Multihulls will also be included, and it is expected the fleet will be boosted by a significant number of local yachts from the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Mooloolaba, many of which will be contesting the famous Surf to City race from the Gold Coast to Brisbane on January 16.

Already backed by support from Gold Coast City Council and Gold Coast Tourism, the organisers at the northern end of this circuit are planning a social agenda that will match the sailing. As well as there being considerable activity scheduled for the club's headquarters at Main Beach, a fun day for competitors, their families and friends is being set for Southport Yacht Club's three-acre open air site on nearby South Stradbroke Island during Sail Paradise. Other holiday activities for families on the Gold Coast can include the many theme parks, golf courses and trips to the magnificent hills of the hinterland, in particular Mt Tamborine.

The Notice of Race for the entire series and individual offshore events will be released shortly. Anyone wishing to register early interest in the circuit can email the Sailing Manager at RPAYC, Chris Stone at or the Sailing Manager at SYC, Shane Smith at

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