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).
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. See full results here.
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 bit 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 that have supported sailing in Australia for more than 30 years.
The 2023 Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Prizegiving yesterday brought the race week to a fitting close.
Competitors came together at Southport Yacht Club to celebrate the many divisional winners & placegetters & were extremely warm in their appreciation of the crews that had triumphed in what had been a challenging trip north.
Overall Winner - Peter Rysdyk Memorial Trophy
1st – URM Group (Anthony Johnston)
1st – URM Group (Anthony Johnston)
2nd - Popeye (Craig Thomas)
3rd – Tempo (Michael Smith)
Division 0 IRC
1st - URM Group (Anthony Johnston)
2nd - Smuggler (Sebastian Bohm)
3rd - Andoo Comanche (John Winning Jr)
Division 1 IRC
1st – Tempo (Michael Smith)
2nd – Calibre 12 (Richard Williams)
3rd – Pretty Woman (Richard Hudson)
Division 2 IRC
1st - Popeye (Craig Douglas)
2nd – Mistral TH (Rupert Henry)
3rd - Ginan (Nigel Jones and Cam Mackensie)
Division 3 IRC
1st – Philosopher (David Henry) Two Handed (TH)
2nd - Verite (Paul Beath)
3rd – Rum Rebellion (Shane Connelly) (TH)
1st - Mako (Paul O’Rourke)
2nd - She’s the Culprit (Glen Picasso)
3rd - Reve (Kevin Whelan)
Division 4 – Two-Handed IRC
1st – Philosopher (David Henry & Stephen Prince) (TH)
2nd - Mistral (Rupert Henry, Greg O’Shea) (TH)
3rd – Rum Rebellion (Shane Connelly, and Andrew Downing) (TH)
1st - Philosopher (David Henry) (TH)
2nd - Calibre 12 (Richard Williams)
3rd - Mistral (Rupert Henry) (TH)
1st - Calibre 12 (Richard Williams)
2nd – Ausreo (Ian Creak)
3rd - Pretty Woman (Richard Hudson)
1st - Andoo Comanche (John Winning Jr)
2nd – URM Group (Anthony Johnston)
3rd - Whisper (David Griffith)