The crew of 2018 overall winner Smuggler will have to wait another year before they can defend their title on the 1,064-nautical-mile journey. Credit - Andrea Francolini

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s (CYCA) 1,064-nautical-mile PONANT Sydney Noumea Yacht Race, planned to start on 6 June 2020, has been postponed due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

The postponement of the 2020 PONANT Sydney Noumea, the CYCA’s longest ocean race, is disappointing but unavoidable in the current climate.

“We are incredibly saddened to postpone the 2020 PONANT Sydney Noumea Yacht Race but the health and safety of our competitors, Members, staff and other stakeholders including our partners, is the CYCA’s number one priority,” CYCA Commodore Paul Billingham said.

“The race will, however, go on – and we look forward to confirming a date for the 2021 PONANT Sydney Noumea Yacht Race soon.

“We thank everyone, including entrants, yacht owners, CYCA Members and particularly our partners PONANT for their understanding.

“Our thoughts are, however, with everyone either directly or indirectly affected by the coronavirus at present – and we would like to take the opportunity to specifically thank the frontline workers, including the medical staff across NSW and around the country, for their tireless efforts in this unprecedented time.”

The CYCA will look to stage the PONANT Sydney Noumea Yacht Race, reintroduced in 2018 following a 20-year hiatus, in June 2021 – with many of the currently entered grand-prix yachts expected to return to take part.