02 April 2019
Yacht-racing legend Sean Langman has further cemented his long-standing support of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia by committing to a four-year naming-rights sponsorship of the Club’s first race of the Audi Centre Sydney Blue Water Pointscore Series – the Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race.
Last year’s Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race was the first to carry the name of Langman’s diversified shipyard business at McMahons Point, which has operated since the mid-1980s. This month Noakes’ multi-year support of the traditional mid-year northern series opener, until the end of the 2022 race, was formalised.
“This agreement cements Noakes’ ongoing support and commitment to the CYCA, and our interest in yachting,” Langman, who has claimed Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race line honours on a number of occasions and is a longtime CYCA Club member, said.
“The Gold Coast race has always been my favourite ocean race. It’s close to shore, a good distance, tactical and heads to a great destination, plus it always finishes around my dad’s birthday so there are sentimental reasons.”
The 384-nautical-mile Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race is a permanent CYCA calendar fixture that’s been enticing New South Wales and interstate crews and providing an ultra-competitive means of conveying them northwards to Queensland’s series of Race Weeks, since 1986.
Second only to the CYCA’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht in terms of stature, the coastal classic is widely regarded for the level of technicality required to achieve a top placing.
Key navigational challenges include strength and direction of the current, avoiding the tail-end of the whale migration, and knowing when to hug the coastline or take an offshore route, generally related to the prevailing daylight sea breeze and cold night land breeze. More often than not competitors anticipate conditions going to custard at Australia’s most easterly point, Cape Byron, for the final stretch to the finish off Southport’s Main Beach.
In 2018 four supermaxis appeared on the horizon at dawn’s first light, an extraordinary assemblage of 100-footers after various lead changes throughout the race. Peter Harburg’s Black Jack and the Oatley family’s record six-time line honours winner Wild Oats XI broke away for a nail-biting battle to the finish line, Harburg’s Queensland crew proudly claiming the honour for the local boat.
In IRC overall handicap terms the race has been taken out by boats of all sizes and vintages, more recently Bruce Taylor’s Caprice 40 Chutzpah from Melbourne (2018), Shane Kearns’ Sydney based S&S 34 Komatsu Azzurro in 2015 and 2017, and of course in a reaching race the TP52s like Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban (2016) are impossible to pull back.
Langman and Noakes have supported the CYCA since 1999, but his connection to the club and Rushcutters Bay goes way beyond the financial support and his varied sailing adventures – from his Open 66 Xena/Grundig back in the 2000s to his much-loved Ranger Maluka.
“My father spent quite a bit of time in Papua New Guinea until my parents sailed a boat pretty much like a pearling lugger called the Shirleen down, ending up in Rushcutters Bay which ultimately became my home,” he said.
“The family story is that I was born on board, although on my birth certificate does say ‘Manly Hospital’. Right from an early age I lived on a boat.”
CYCA Commodore Paul Billingham said Noakes’ long-term support, following PONANT’s recent sponsorship extension, pointed to a bright future for not only one of the CYCA’s greatest races but for yacht racing overall.
“The Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race is one of Australia’s most famous races – and Sean Langman’s support further ensures its long-term success,” Billingham said.
“We are delighted Sean has chosen to extend his partnership with us for four more years and we are excited about what the future may hold and bringing the race to thousands of supporters across the country and internationally too.”
As part of the sponsorship agreement, yachting fans in Australia and around the world will be able to watch the start of the next four Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Races – 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 – live on the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race website and social media channels.
The 2019 Noakes Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race will begin on Saturday July 27 from Sydney Harbour and long-time race partner Southport Yacht Club will support the fleet’s finish then welcome weary sailors to the shelter of the Broadwater, as they have done for the past 33 years.
The race record was set in 2012 by Wild Oats XI with a time of 22 hours 33 minutes 46 seconds.
The Notice of Race will be published in late April.