French appetiser

An enthusiastic crew from Tasmania will be using the 2018 Ponant Sydney to Noumea Yacht Race as the first leg of a four month warm water South Pacific odyssey.

08 May 2018


The idea of escaping winter’s icy clutches, and cruising to turquoise sun-dappled tropical waters must cross the mind every the mind of every Hobart sailor, but this year the McKay family will actually do it.

Marcus McKay, the new owner of Jarkan 12.5 She’s Apples Two has recruited four family members for the 1,064 nautical mile event to New Caledonia which will start in Sydney Harbour on June 2. Joining him on the anticipated seven to eight day run to the French territory will be his son Jai, his brother, Brent, and nephews Gus and Ollie.

All three of the younger McKays are just 19, and are apparently “pretty excited” by their planned transit across the Tasman and Coral Seas. There will also be serious trans-oceanic experience on-board in the form of David Graney who logged a circumnavigation aboard Wendy Tuck’s Da Nang-Vietnam in 2015-16 Clipper race. McKay also has several Launceston to Hobarts under his belt on his brother Brent’s boat,  Rad, a well-performed Radford 35.


Like many Ponant Sydney to Noumea competitors, She’s Apples Two  will then tackle the 2018 Groupama Race around New Caledonia. The organising club, the Cercle Nautique Calédonien Yacht Club is hoping for a diverse, quality fleet for the bi-annual 600 nautical mile event, with four separate international races finishing prior to the June 17 start date.

For the well-travelled crew of She’s Apples Two, there will be some post-race cruising in New Caledonia’s world-heritage listed lagoon, before taking-in Vanuatu, then back to the Whitsundays in time for Hamilton Island Race Week on August 18.

Provisioning and the meal menu is still being worked-out, but the skipper is confident there will be enough for the eight-strong crew to last the trip, as they aren’t going to worry “too much” if the boat is a couple of kilos heavier due to a few delicacies.

Around 30 boats are expected to take-on the longest fully crewed race on the Australian offshore calendar.

The weight equation will be more critical for the TP52’s, with at least three lining-up for a crack at Brindabella’s time of 5 days 20 hours, four minutes, set in 1991, the last time the race was held.

Comanche could potentially halve the record if Jim Cooney decides to push the button for the Rolex Sydney Hobart line honours winner to resume its offshore campaign.


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