With only 48 days to go to the start of the Queensland edition of the Australian Offshore Challenge, the promoters, Geographica, have reluctantly had to acknowledge that in the current climate, it is not feasible to conduct a powerboating event of this scale. So the decision has been made to postpone the running of the Challenge for 2008.
This means that for 2009, the Offshore Challenge will be re-cast to better suit the rapidly changing economic conditions.
Director, Roger Dickeson explains: 'The realities of higher fuel costs and general economic uncertainty mean that we, as event organisers, have to find a new format if we are going to make power boating events practical and affordable to both the industry and to the private boat owners.
We have been hugely encouraged by the strong interest for events specifically designed for power boats, but enthusiasm does not translate into actual entries with the economic pressures that currently exist.'
But the good news is that, for 2009 the Offshore Challenge will be run as a series of capital city based, shorter and less expensive events.
Starting in Victoria in February, the first event for the new Australian Offshore Challenge Series will be the Bass Strait Rally. This will start in Gippsland on Tuesday February 10th and finish in Melbourne on Sunday afternoon, the 15th.
This event will give powerboat crews the chance to experience Bass Strait by navigating out to the northern island groups in the Strait and back as part of an organised event.
2007 Australian Offshore Challenge - Simon Milder
As with all Challenge events, the format of the nav rally provides a level of safety and support not available to a solo cruiser, combined with the challenge of plotting a course through some fantastic coastal passages that few people ever get to experience.
The Victorian event will then be followed by similar powerboat rallies in NSW and Queensland throughout the year. In all, at least three capital city based, four to six day events, with minimal logistical difficulties and associated costs.
A schedule is currently being put together and this will be announced in the media and via the Offshore Challenge web site over the coming weeks.
The team at Geographica believe there is a strong level of interest from the powerboating fraternity for organised events – particularly those which offer the ’challenge’ of proper nautical navigation, and the added adventure of exploring exciting parts of our coastline in the company of other like-minded boating enthusiasts.
We will continue to refine our event calendar and the manner in which Challenge events are presented so that everyone is able to participate in an affordable and practical manner.
Throughout the past year, many people have contacted the event promoters with ideas and suggestions for bringing Challenge events to their ‘neighbourhood’.
From 2009, we will make this happen, starting in Victoria in February.
We welcome all feedback and comments on anything to do with powerboating events so please contact the event office at firstname.lastname@example.org
with your ideas and suggestions. www.offshorechallenge.com.au