In 2004 the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia celebrated 60 years since its foundation and on 26 December 2004, started for the 60th time its internationally famous ocean race, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
The CYCA was formed in 1944 and, despite its name, quickly became the leading exponent in Australia of ocean racing, rather than cruising, at that time a little-known sport.
In 1945 a planned cruise to Hobart quickly turned into a race and the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race was born.
The race immediately captured the imagination of the Australian public and it soon developed into an international yachting classic, attracting competitors from around the world.
For most of its life, the CYCA has been based in Rushcutters Bay, a sheltered southern inlet of Sydney Harbour where it now has a modern clubhouse and extensive floating marina capable of berthing maxis of up to 30 metres LOA.
In addition to the annual Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, its blue ribbon event, the CYCA conducts annual coastal passages from Sydney to the Queensland Gold Coast and further north to Mackay, one design regattas such as the Rolex Trophy and the spectacular CYCA Big Boat Challenge maxi yacht race on Sydney Harbour each December.
Ocean racing attracts competitive people, so in retrospect it is no surprise that in 1965 the CYCA conceived the idea of challenging for the Admiral’s Cup in England although, at the time, the idea of sending a yacht racing team half way around the world with its yachts caused something of a stir.
To the surprise of the major ocean racing nations the CYCA team finished a close second and returned in 1967 to win the Admiral’s Cup and establish Australia as a force in international ocean racing.
Acknowledged as leader of Australian ocean racing, the CYCA has also pioneered in the commercial sponsorship of sport in Australia, attracting enthusiastic sponsorship for the
Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and other ocean racing events in the early sixties while other sporting administrations were merely flirting with the concept.
Its current principal sponsor, Rolex SA, has been the naming right sponsor since the 2002 race and has committed its support at least until the 2010 Rolex Sydney Hobart and possibly beyond.
Members of the CYCA have represented Australia in many international sailing events and when longtime member Syd Fischer approached the club to Challenge on his behalf for the 2000 America’s Cup, the board of directors readily agreed to do so. His Challenger, Young Australia 2000, with the youngest crew in Auckland and the youngest skipper in the history of the Cup, did a fine job in representing Australia and the CYCA.