After a comprehensive review, Gosford Sailing Club has regrettably announced that it will not be the organiser of a Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race in future. This brings to a close the forty year history of the only annual Category One ocean race in Australia besides the Sydney-Hobart Race.
The race was founded by Peter Rysdyk and Lloyd Pryke and first conducted by the Gosford Aquatic Club in August 1974. The line honours and IOR Handicap winner was Peter’s Onya of Gosford. Gosford Sailing Club took over the organisation of the race in 1989. Forty races were sailed and attracted some of the best ocean racing yachts and crews from New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania, the last being in April 2014 when Southern Excellence II took line honours and the Hobart winner Victoire won the IRC and ORCi Handicap divisions.
The review consulted past race directors, committee members, Islanders and competitors, and the overwhelming majority view was that the race had lost its relevance to the club at this time. Whereas many of the yachts in the first twenty years were Gosford based, there has not been an entry from a Gosford yacht moored in Brisbane Water since 1998. Furthermore, the number of Category One yachts with a draft sufficiently shallow to moor in the island lagoon has progressively decreased, making it difficult to recruit sufficient entries each year.
Besides the race committee members, numerous persons and organisations on the mainland and on the island have devoted significant time and effort to ensure the safe and enjoyable conduct of the race. Without trying to name them all, and maybe offend a couple by omission, Commodore Paul Gulliksen thanks all who contributed to the success of the race over the years and, of course, the yachts and their crews who have supported the race.
The club has not taken this decision lightly, and apologises for the announcement being less than four months prior to what was to be the start date of a 2015 race. The club remains hopeful that another NSW yacht club may wish to organise an event in the future that includes the beautiful World Heritage listed Lord Howe Island.