New Caledonia Groupama Race / 654nm / CAT 1 Ocean Race
Open to monohulls and multihulls greater than 8.5m, the New Caledonia Groupama Race is described as the world’s longest windward/leeward race.
It starts from Nouméa on June 14 2020 and takes a counter clockwise course around New Caledonia, alongside reefs and inside the UNESCO World Heritage listed lagoon, with only one compulsory waypoint: “North of the Grand Passage which is North of the Belep Islands”. Given the strong winds, powerful currents and heavy swells in the extreme north, the race is up the east coast and down the west coast… non-stop, without rest and with a regular soaking from the warm seas of 22° south.
Le Grand Passage
The Sydney-Hobart has its Bass Strait; the Groupama Race has its mythic Grand Passage, where you will surf down big waves and see plenty of wildlife. It’s a great gathering of international sailors for a unique ocean race around the biggest lagoon in the world. Once the sailors arrive at the northern end of the race course, a transition phase awaits; ‘Le Grand Passage’, or as the locals refer to the area; “our Cape Horn”. The sea state can be challenging at this point; with big waves, strong winds and powerful currents. The sea life is also stunning with tuna, whales and manta rays galore.
Four Feeder Races
With four feeder races delivering fleets from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane Australia as well as Auckland, New Zealand, these are a key component for gathering a great fleet, for the ultimate Groupama Race around New Caledonia. Eventually, the fleet all end up back at the starting point in Noumea where crews are welcomed 24/7 by the friendly Cercle Nautique Calédonien staff and volunteers with a hot shower and a hearty meal at the club on offer for all.