The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (RPAYC) is to host the 5.5 Metre Class World Championship 2020 to take place from 9-13 January, with the Scandinavian Gold Cup, Alfreds Gold Cup, the Royal Kaag Classic Cup and Hanko Evolution Cup to be held in the lead-up.
Prior to the Worlds, the famous 100 year-old Scandinavian Gold Cup (an inter-nation trophy), will also be hosted by RPAYC, starting on 3 January. The two events are expected to attract a large fleet from both Australia and overseas and will be sailed on the Palm Beach Circle on Sydney’s beautiful Northern Beaches.
With entry barely open, already nine boats have signed on, including locals from RPAYC, which can boast the largest and expanding 5.5 Metre fleet in Australia, with 11 registered. Three internationals have also announced their intentions early.
Italian Alfredo Delli will represent Italy with the famous Classic Carabella, while Craig Symonette is sailing for the Bahamas with the Modern Al-Baba. Symonette’s secret weapon is Flavio Marazzi, a Swiss sailor with four Olympic Games under his belt; in the Star class from 2000 to 2012. Kaspar Stubenrauch from Germany will sail the Evolution Antares.
The RPAYC has an historic association with the 5.5M class. Club member, Bill Northam, won Australia’s first ever sailing gold medal at the Olympics Games in the 5.5M at age 59. He remains the oldest Australian to win sailing Olympic Gold, and in the process, debunked all myths that elite sailing was for the younger set only.
Northam sailed Barrenjoey to Gold at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics crewed by Dick Sargeant and Peter ‘Pod’ O’Donnell. Beforehand, in 1963, he joined O’Donnell and Sargeant as crew on Sir Frank Packer’s Gretel, the Challenger for the 1963 America’s Cup.
Although coming to sailing late at 46 years of age, Northam was a natural all-round sailor who received many accolades for his Olympic success and also made his mark on the offshore scene, including the Sydney Hobart.
“We are looking forward to hosting the 5.5 Metre Worlds and the Scandinavian Gold Cup and to welcoming our fellow sailors from overseas,” Australian 5.5 Metre president, Martin Cross said, “It has been 15 years since Australia last hosted the Gold Cup and Worlds, so we are proud it has come full circle back to Australia.”