A spotlight on Australia: Welcoming Newcastle, New South Wales, to the Clipper Race circuit

Making its debut on the Clipper 2023-24 Race, Newcastle, New South Wales will welcome the intrepid Clipper Race crew as it hosts the global sailing event for the first time.

Featuring as part of Leg 4: The Australian Coast-to-Coast Leg, crew will race around the south of Australia from Fremantle to Newcastle, facing the testing conditions of the Roaring Forties, known for its strong winds and huge rolling swells, before racing up the East Coast and docking at the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club (NCYC) for some well-deserved rest and relaxation.

Before arriving in Newcastle, Race Crew will face a real mix of tricky conditions. Mark Light, Clipper Race Director explains: “Heading around the south of Australia, strong depressions will give tremendous winds and big seas which in turn will create some fantastic downwind surfing conditions for the Clipper 70 Race yachts and their crews. Once around Tasmania, the fleet will head north and do battle with the notorious Bass Strait, forever wary of the weather phenomenon known as the ‘Southerly Buster’ which is prevalent in these parts, as they head towards the port of Newcastle, NSW for the very first time in Clipper Race history. After a challenging race the crew will be ready to enjoy the amazing beaches, bars and great hospitality that the stopover will offer.”  

Expected to arrive at the NCYC between 1-4 January 2024, Race Crew and Supporters will get to celebrate the New Year in Newcastle’s bustling metropolis, with everything from stunning beaches and street art to iconic ocean baths, cool cafés and designer hotels.

Image: Race Crew battling the rough conditions during the last edition of the Clipper Race 

The NCYC, which has grown to be a nationally recognised name in both sailing and sailing development, is no stranger to hosting large sailing events. NCYC was the first Club to win Australian Sailing Club of the Year twice, first in 2019 and again in 2022, and the creators of SailFest, reviving the Newcastle Regatta, one of Australia's oldest regattas.

Race Crew, and Supporters can expect a warm Aussie welcome at NCYC, and the opportunity to soak up the region’s best beaches, bars and spectacular Hunter Valley wine region which is just a short drive away and renowned for excellent wineries in stunning surroundings. Newcastle’s biggest attractions are its beautiful beaches and harbour, and the small and friendly population of less than half a million makes Newcastle a laid-back place to visit as the crowds are fewer and the pace is slower.

Paul O’Rourke, CEO at the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club said: “We are delighted to host the Clipper Race stopover as it will help showcase both the sport of sailing to our city, and our beautiful harbour city to the world." 

Image: The city of Newcastle, NSW from above  

After several days of soaking up everything the city and coastline has to offer, the Clipper Race fleet will depart the NCYC on 10 January to take on the final race of Leg 4 up to Airlie Beach, Whitsundays ready to be greeted by tropical waters and beautiful scenery.