In 2007, Guy Chester as a director of EcoSustainability organised a rally with a few yachts departing from Cairns to visit the isolated Louisiades Archipelago located 100 nautical miles east of ‘mainland’ Papua New Guinea, about 540 nautical miles from Cairns and 600 nautical miles from Townsville. The success of this saw a further five rallies, organised by Ecosustainability, giving yachties and the Louisiade people many unforgettable experiences and memories.
Since the last of the rallies in 2013, less than 30 yachts visit the Island group each year. To carry on the tradition that Guy Started in 2008, Multihull Cruising Yacht Club are organising a rally leaving Townsville in September 2020 with the support and assistance of Guy and Ecosustainabilty.
The Louisiades comprise sand cays, lagoon reefs, limestone outcrops (up lifted coral reefs) and continental islands with many safe anchorages. There are skull caves, coral reefs to snorkel, mangrove lined creeks, coconut shaded beaches, lagoons, creeks, waterfalls and shady forests to explore as well as abundant opportunities for fishing and diving. They are inhabited by very welcoming Melanesian people, who effectively have a no cash economy. Most folk live in villages comprising from one family to hundreds and look forward to festivities and trading with the yachts.
The Rally is a cruise in company across the Coral Sea and then four weeks sailing throughout the spectacular Louisiades, with a mix of events and time for independent exploration of the islands and their friendly communities. Leaving Townsville on 12 September 2020. Yachts need to muster a week before departure at Breakwater marina in Townsville, we kick off with a dock party to meet fellow rally goers, followed by a week of preparation including safety, communication and navigation briefings.
After clearing customs in Australia, we head to the Duchateau Islands, after a day or two of rest we head to Panasia Island, anchoring in its spectacular sheltered lagoon, we then make our way around the islands visiting many of the communities and schools spread out across the beautiful Calvados chain , donating goods, interacting with villagers getting to know how they survive through subsistence farming and how they make their goods out of whatever nature provides before heading to Misima Island where we clear customs, in readiness for our return to Townsville.
Our lead organiser Brett Hodder has participated in 2 previous Louisiade rallies, and then subsequently made a further independent trip in 2015.
While the event is fun and enjoyable for yachties, there is also a serious side: to give something back to the community. We will be taking much appreciated goods for the local communities and be raising funds to donate to local causes, the Louisiade people have basic needs with limited access to many items which we take for granted in our lives.
All boats are welcome, sail, power, mono and multihulls. The success of the rally for everyone relies on extensive preparation, the rally organisers will guide you and assist with all the necessary pre-rally requirements, including paperwork, boat and crew readiness.
Early bird entries opened in Oct 2019, and we now have a full fleet of yachts registered. Final payment for the rally will be required by May 2020, at which time there may be a few open spots, should any of our entrants have to change plans. If you would like to find out more about the rally and go on a wait list for any available slots, please fill in the registration of interest form below, and we will keep you updated should any vacanices occur.