Setting sail for the Exemplar Clipper Cup

Monday 4 April 2011

Setting sail for the Exemplar Clipper Cup


by Mick Gwilliams
Rear Commodore, Port Douglas Yacht Club

In May Port Douglas Yacht Club will host the 2011 Exemplar Coaches and Limousines Clipper Cup Regatta. The open class, single division six race series is to be staged over the two weekends of Port Douglas Carnivale starting on Saturday 21 May and concluding on Sunday 29 May.

History of the Clipper Cup

The yacht race that created the name Clipper Cup originally began in 1972 when members of the Waikiki Yacht Club in Hawaii created a 755-mile "fun race" that they billed to “race the winds of paradise”. It was to be an annual summer race around the major islands of the island state of Hawaii.

With sponsorship from Pan American Airlines driven by an Australian named Dick Gooch, the Clipper Cup Yacht Series was born in 1978 as an International Offshore Rule  team event with a record 78 entries from around the world.

In 1985 the end came about when Pan Am dropped Hawaii from its overseas routes.

Dick Gooch returned to Australia bringing the trophy with him and 10 years later it came to far north Queensland and to Port Douglas Yacht Club.

The first Clipper Cup to be held in FNQ was a tremendous success inspired by Dick Gooch who made the trophy available to PDYC for the inaugural Clipper Cup Series in 1995 and to this day it sits proudly on display as the trophy for the regions premier sailing event.

Mirage Resorts came on board as naming rights sponsor and the event was a huge success with an eventual 42 entrants crossing the start line from as far afield as New Zealand, PNG, Victoria, NSW and Southern Queensland.

Competitors included Sydney Hobart veteran Arthur Bloore and his maxi Hammer of Queensland, Kiwi yacht Thai Airways  skippered by New Zealand sailing legend Chris Packer and winner of the first Mirage Resorts Clipper Cup Regatta, Wayne Millar from Townsville skippering Australia Challenge 2000.

What's happening in 2011?

The club is delighted to have once again for 2011, Exemplar Coaches and Limousines as the major naming rights sponsor for this year’s regatta.

With a prize pool of $8,000 nine entries have been received so far and with plenty more potential competitors in the region and interest from as far afield as Townsville this year’s event could be one of the biggest for many years.

Local entries include sponsors Gordon and Cheryl Wellham on Kai Lani, three times winner Doug Ryan on Magic, PDYC Club Champions Helen and Mick Gwilliams on Ice, Two times winner Tim Preuss on Ann Sea and the clubs J24 Port FM Mais Oui. 

The Clipper Cup Series originally staged by Waikiki Yacht Club was raced as an international team event and in recognition of this the inaugural PDYC Inter Club Team Challenge between PDYC and other visiting clubs will be a part of this year’s regatta.
Teams will consist of an even number of yachts nominated by each club with the times that these boats record in each of the six races being fed into a separate program to determine the overall Club Team Challenge winning team.

PDYC is calling for Sponsorship for this challenge to provide for a fun incentive for the clubs recognising the spirit of sportsmanship that exists between clubs. Each year a sponsor will be given naming rights to the Team Challenge but this year’s sponsor being the first will be given perpetual naming rights to the trophy.

Offers for sponsorship close on Tuesday 26 April and are invited from both individuals and businesses. To have your name on the Team Challenge Trophy just come up with the best offer. Contact Port Douglas Yacht Club for further details.