Light sea breeze helps fleet out of the heads for Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race

A textbook start was delivered to those competing today in the 2023 Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race. Fifty-seven boats assembled on the start-line at 1300hrs, before they began tacking and weaving their way across Sydney Harbour out toward the Pacific Ocean.

The fastest boats took just twenty minutes to reach the open water, with the morning’s light winds quickly growing from 5, to as much as 10 and 11 knots at the starting line. That wind was just enough to ensure a breathtaking start, as the eager fleet sailed forward and were connected to a light sea breeze.

The conditions made for some spectacularly close, inshore racing, especially amidst the fleet of seven TP52s.

Unsurprisingly, the only maxi in the race, John Winning Jr’s Andoo Comanche, was the first boat out of the heads, followed closely by the Johnston brothers URM Group skippered by Marcus Ashley-Jones, David Griffith’s Whisper and Seb Bohm’s Smuggler (skippered by Tim Davis). The first two handed boat out of the heads was James Murchinson & James Francis on Avalanche.

The TP52 fleet created a dynamic and at times nerve-wracking sight for spectators, as they ventured close together, threading in and out of one another on the racetrack with much noise.

The Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race returned in 2023, with a fleet size that is just five shy of last year, when 62 boats lined up to compete.

Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Commodore, Arthur Lane said: “This is the first of six races in the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore, which culminates in the 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart and we couldn’t be more excited to witness the start these boats had today. This is a prestigious race that attracts many striking and powerful boats. All types of yachts, from the most humble and hardworking two-handers, to the largest and most powerful maxis bring their very best from Tasmania, NSW, Queensland, Victoria and even Hong Kong, making it a wonderful spectacle and great competition.

“Although last year’s winner and race sponsor Sean Langman is not with us this year, on Moneypenny – we are thrilled to hear he has just successfully completed the Rolex Fastnet Race from Cowes to Cherbourg, Normandy, France on Maluka. We are very proud to welcome Noakes Group back, as the naming rights sponsor of this wonderful winter race.”

Taking place on the waters of Sydney Harbour, and Eastern seaboard, the 2023 Race will take around two-three days for the large and fast boats and up to five or six days for smaller boats to reach Main Beach on the Gold Coast, weather dependent.

The start was streamed live on the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Facebook page and CYCA TV YouTube channel.
For today’s images by Andre Francolini click here

The Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race is the opening race of the 2023/24 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore, which features six races, culminating in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

The 384 nautical mile course takes the fleet from the start line in Sydney Harbour to the finish off Main Beach in Queensland.

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia is the Race Organiser and Southport Yacht Club is the Race Finishing Partner, while Noakes Group is the Race Sponsor.

This year, the CYCA is moving to a single rating system (IRC) for its offshore races, with this change set to take effect from the 2023 Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race and will apply to all races in the 2023/24 Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore.

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