by George Shaw
Japanese tradition headlines as local and overseas dignitaries hail the start of the seventh Melbourne-Osaka Double Handed Yacht Race. Traditional Japanese entertainment, featuring women in kimonos and a sake barrel will complement a blessing of the fleet in both Shinto and Christian styles at Sandringham Yacht Club on Sunday evening.
Wasabi, Osaka competitor
A delegation from the Osaka Hokko Yacht Club, along with the Mayor of Bayside and Office bearers from the Sandringham Yacht Club and Ocean Racing Club of Victoria will party with both local and international competitors in the most demanding race to start from Australian waters.
'The Melbourne-Osaka is one of the world’s most unique and challenging yacht races. It covers 5,500 nautical miles from Melbourne to Osaka crossing the Pacific Ocean from south to north without stopping,' said race organiser and past competitor, George Shaw.
'The race also travels through the seasons; autumn in Melbourne, summer at the equator and spring in Osaka.
'During this six week journey, yachts encounter storms with 60 knot wind gusts and 70 foot high waves. The race is a real test of the crew’s skill, courage and endurance under extreme conditions,' he said.
The race, which will start from Portsea Pier on 17 March, is the longest, most extreme ocean race to start in Australian waters and is the equivalent of nine Sydney-Hobart Yacht Races, end-to-end.
Each yacht must be crewed by only two people.
'Testing boats and crews to the limit, the Melbourne – Osaka cup is recognised as one of the great challenges in ocean racing. It also links two cities that share many cultural and trade connections,' Mr. Shaw said.