Summer sailing in paradise

Summer sailing in paradise

January 2010 is the launch date of Australia’s new warm-weather East Coast offshore sailing circuit between Pittwater, Sydney, and Southport, on the Gold Coast.

Organisers said the expanded circuit opens with the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race starting on January 2, the first significant ocean passage race for the New Year, anywhere in the world.

Even so, they added that the 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 (RPAYC) highly successful 226nm Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race, and culminates with a new event, Sail Paradise, a five-day regatta staged by the Southport Yacht Club (SYC) just off the Gold Coast’s magnificent ocean beaches.

Adding spice to the mix are four short and middle-distance sprint races, and a social program that spreads from start to finish.

RPAYC will be hosting a curtain-raiser sprint race off Sydney’s Palm Beach plus two scenic coastal sprints off Coffs Harbour. It will also conduct a New Year’s Eve party at its waterfront facility at Newport, on Pittwater.

The Coffs Harbour sector of the circuit will be conducted in conjunction with the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club, and when that first stage is complete, SYC will present the inaugural Coffs to Paradise Race, a 150nm 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, and 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 organisers expect the fleet to 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 SYC’s three-acre, open-air site on nearby South Stradbroke Island during Sail Paradise.

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

Photos: Paradise found.
Sail Paradise, a five-day event, will be staged along the Gold Coast ocean beachfront between January 10 and 14; Heading north. Steven David’s Wild Joe punches her way north at the start of the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race.