Winners announced for Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race
URM Group is the Overall winner of the 2023 Peter Rysdyk Memorial Trophy for the 2023 Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, while Andoo Comanche has claimed Line Honours.
This is the first in the six-race Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore 2023/24.
Philosopher, sailed by David Henry and Stephen Prince, took first prize in the Two-Handed IRC division (as well as IRC Div 3), while other notable mentions go to Tempo (IRC Div 1) and Popeye (IRC Div 2). (See full results below)
In what was a quintessential Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, conditions split the fleet. Many sailors chose to head out to sea to hunt for breeze, while the remainder hugged the shoreline, taking chances in typical light, to variable breezes. Whichever way the racing yachts chose to roam, it was a journey in which navigators and tacticians knocked heads throughout the night. Hedging bets, some of the mid-size fleet chose to chart a course that incorporated both approaches.
In what was overall a slow race, the results show that those who bet big, with long trips out to sea, won out in the end. Prize-winning crews, speaking after the race, reported heading anywhere from 30 to 100 nautical miles out to sea, to seek the speed afforded by a stronger breeze.
Peter Rysdyk Memorial Trophy Winner, Overall Winner URM Group, skippered by Marcus Ashley Jones said:
“It was a tactical race. Our original plan was to head out early, and then we ended up sticking to the coast, until about Newcastle. Then we decided to head out a bit more and we got up to about 60 miles off the coast. It was a long way out, we lost phone reception! But then we came back in and met the coast around Yamba and it paid off.”
Sailing Master Iain Murray on Andoo Comanche said: “The thing for Andoo Comanche is that she likes wind. We did end up 60 miles off the coast, which is a long way for a race that is only 384NM. That means that we actually sailed further, but we went out there to get the wind and to avoid the current. For us, the thought of being inshore, with not too much wind is something we put high on the risk factor, that’s something that we try to avoid.”
Veteran ocean sailor David Henry, who won the Two-Handed IRC division with his co-skipper Stephen Prince said he loves the Gold Coast race for the many tactical expressions it provides.
“As a winter race, the downside is that the weather is often like this – a very light westerly and as you go up, often a very light northerly, so it can be a slow race. Which means, for little boats like mine, it gives the little boats a chance, because the big boats often can’t get there quickly enough, to make up for their handicap and the little boats can.”
With only two withdrawals, a fleet of 55 boats arrived safely and smoothly at the finish off Main Beach, to celebrate with teammates and competitors and enjoy the warm hospitality of race finish partner Southport Yacht Club.
Commodore Arthur Lane, from race organiser Cruising Yacht Club of Australia declared the race, a terrific success.
“The Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race is an annual event which always provides a wonderful test of the physical and mental strength of our competitors. I would like to congratulate all sailors who took part in 2023 on an amazing effort.”
Commodore, of race finish partner, Southport Yacht Club Drew Jones said: “Southport Yacht Club is incredibly honored it have all the yachts competing in the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race this year, and while it could have been a windier, we are now just looking forward to presenting all of prize-winners with their trophies and awards this morning. I also want to extend my thanks to of all our staff and volunteers who have helped around the club over the last four days. They have helped to make it a wonderful event.”
The Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race is made possible, by naming rights sponsor The Noakes Group, a Group of marine companies have supported sailing in Australia for more than 30 years.
Main photo by Dylan Clarke/sailmedia