31 October 2011
Gold Coast Australia continues to make a name for the city in world boating circles by winning the latest stage of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in Western Australia.
The 68 foot racing yacht has now won all four port-to-port races in the six continent ocean challenge, sealing the victory in Geraldton this morning just after 7am local time after 24 days of racing from Cape Town.
The leg is regarded one of the toughest of the 11 month series with crews battling to plot a course between the high pressure system of the Indian Ocean and the hostile conditions of the Southern Ocean’s depressions.
Gold Coast Australia’s skipper, Tasmanian Richard Hewson, used his knowledge and experience of ocean racing in the region to give his crew the full advantage.
Hewson’s tactical decision to take an elongated route to avert the high pressure system which tormented other competitors paid off for Gold Coast Australia which crossed the line in Geraldton an incredible 288 nautical miles ahead of the nearest competitor, De Lage Landen.
Hewson and his team’s successes have beamed the Gold Coast world-wide.
Cr Susie Douglas, chair of Gold Coast City Council’s Economic Development and Tourism Committee, said the previous Clipper race in 2009-10 attracted a cumulative audience of 524 million people. Cr Douglas expected similar exposure this year.
“To have Richard and his team unbeaten in the races so far is providing enormous publicity for the Gold Coast across the world’s boating circles,’’ said Cr Douglas.
“With natural attributes including the Broadwater and 70 kilometres of one of the world’s best coastlines, coupled with the Southport Yacht Club and nationally recognised infrastructure at the Gold Coast Marine Precinct, the city is Australia’s hub for boating.
“We also boast one of the highest rates of boat registration per capita in Australia, so Richard and his crew know there are a lot of boaties at home barracking for them.
“It’s quite apt that Gold Coast Australia is out in front representing our water-loving lifestyle so well.’’
The Clipper fleet – which includes boats from The Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland, the United States, Singapore and other destinations – will arrive on the Gold Coast between 11-13 December following the New Zealand to Australia leg of the global series.
Almost 6000 international and domestic visitors are expected to arrive on the Gold Coast for the two-week stopover, injecting close to $9 million into the local economy.
“The backdrop of the Gold Coast, a city famous for fun, really has attracted the interest of international event organisers,’’ said Cr Douglas.
“Adding to the arrival of the Clipper fleet has been other international events including the Armor All GC600, the Australia vs. Ireland International Rules and the international Gold Coast Sevens – Fever Pitch rugby union competition.’’