New Caledonia Groupama Race 2020
An island to sail round, more than 654-mile broad reaching and on the wind
The start of the 6th Round New Caledonia yacht race is mid-June 2020. A 1500 Kms course. This event is physical and tough. Weather strategy and the crews’ physical condition will are the key to victory.
Night, day, hug the coast, keep out to sea: The wind is ever changing. When to gybe? When to tack? Which sails to set? Tack inshore? Head offshore? These are the questions our crews will be asking themselves …
The Tour of New Caledonia is thus a race against the clock. It is an ocean race worthy of a Sydney-Hobart; four days racing, choosing the right weather options, never letting up: a technical and tactical contest where victory is the prize!
New Caledonia lies in the direction of the SE Trades: NW – SE. That is to say that in “normal” trade wind conditions, competitors will have a bit more 300nm spinnaker run and 300nm thrashing to windward
Four feeder races delivering yacht fleets from three Australian capital cities and Auckland, New Zealand, will be a key component when it comes to the ultimate Groupama Race around New Caledonia starting line-up.
Everything is there to make this competition a classic offshore race:
- The race is open to mono-hulls and multi-hulls
- A 654 miles windward and leeward race
- It is both offshore and coastal
- 2 favourite points of sailing, running and beating: a true giant Olympic course
- A stunning environment; the course runs alongside reefs and in a lagoon which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List
- It is run in favourable weather conditions: warm water & trade winds
- It takes place in a region where you can find some of the best sailors in the World (our closeness to Australia and New Zealand makes it possible to have quality crews taking part)
- Experienced and enthusiastic local racing crews
The world’s longest windward/leeward race
New Caledonia Groupama Race: Schedule of Events
Start in Nouméa, Finish in Nouméa, with only one compulsory waypoint: “North of the Grand Passage which is North of the Belep Islands”. Given strong winds, powerful currents and heavy swells in the extreme North, the race is from the East coast to the West coast… non-stop, without rest, and soaked by the «hot» seas of 22° South! The Sydney-Hobart has its Bass Strait; the Groupama Race has its mythic Grand Passage where you will surf down big waves and see much wildlife.
- Race start: Sunday, June 14, 2020
- Organising club: Cercle Nautique Calédonien
- Entries close: April 14, 2020
- Distance: 654 nautical miles.
- Race records:
Multihulls: Team Vodafone 2 days, 00h 33min 12s (2016)
Monohulls: Scallywag: 2 days, 13H 19min 55s (2016)
Though considered a race in paradise, the Groupama Race around the island of Noumea will prove tactically difficult for all crews who accept the challenge
Taking between two and a half five days to complete the 654 nautical mile course the fleet of monohull and multihull yachts will trace a course around New Caledonia, a jewel of the Pacific Southwest.
An offshore and coastal race
Placed exactly in the axis of the tradewinds, the Groupama Race is both an offshore and coastal race that offers sailors the opportunity to strategize and navigate the best route based on the sea state, currents and weather.
Latitude 22 ° south
The route is simple enough. Under the direction of the organising club, Cercle Nautique Calédonien Yacht Club, the fleet starts off their journey in Nouméa and finish back at Nouméa with only two compulsory points they must pass on the northernmost point of the island.
300nm surfing under spinnaker
When the fleet passes the southernmost point of New Caledonia, high-speed downwind rides are possible for the next 24-48hrs.
This is our Cape Horn
Once the sailors arrive in the far north, a transition phase awaits – Le Grand Passage – or as the locals refer to the area: “our Cape Horn”. The sea can be cross at this point; the waves bigger, and the wind and current more powerful. The sea life is also bountiful; it’s where banks of tuna, whales and manta rays abound.
From 1000m to 2m depth under the keel
As the fleet follows the descent to the island’s south there could be a 24 – 48 hour period of upwind sailing and being soaked by 26-degree warm-water waves.
Along the reef nearest to the west, some sailors try to protect themselves from the waves and look for calmer waters. Others take the option of heading further offshore before returning to the lagoon.
Eventually, the fleet ends up back at Noumea where crews are welcomed any time of the day or night by helpful CNC staff and volunteers and invited to have a hot shower and a hearty meal at the club. Then it’s down to the business of recounting the highlights and the moments when each crew’s Groupama Race was won or lost.
The French touch of the Pacific
Groupama Race Teaser
New Caledonia Groupama Race Guide 2018
New Caledonia, Pacific Heart
We hope to see you soon as part of the crew
+ 31 85 301 56 36