CYANT has a rich history and is closely associated with events and activities relating to sailing, cruising and keel boat racing in north Australian and South East Asian waters. Starting from very humble beginnings in 1969, when a few trailer sailer owners got together with the object of conducting family cruising races CYANT has built a strong and lasting association with the Darwin Sailing Club and Dinah Beach Cruising Yacht Club as well as organisations and individuals in Indonesia and other parts of SE Asia.
Initially CYANT organised habour races as a means of getting yachts and members together. These races proved very popular and culminated in the first Bathurst Island return race in 1972. At this time, the Bathurst Island race was possibly the longest race initiated for trailer sailers in Australia – some 100 nautical miles (on a good day!).
As the popularity of the CYANT events grew, did the CYANT fleet, both in numbers and size, and gradually CYANT membership swelled to incorporate an increasing number of non-trailable keel boats and multi-hulls. This led to increasingly challenging courses such as the Round the Islands Race (a 360 nm circumnavigation of Bathust and Melville Islands, sailing through all points of the compass).
It was therefore a natural progression that a long ocean race to foreign shores would eventuate, building on a centuries-old tradition of maritime exchanges between the Northern Territory and its northern neighbours, with Makassan fishermen regularly visiting the northern Australian coastline in search of trepang.
CYANT founded both the Darwin Dili Race (in then Portugese Timor, now Timor Leste (East Timor)) in 1973, which was Australia’s first international sailing event and the Darwin to Ambon International Yacht Race in 1976.
However, CYANT’s origins meant that it was not all about the serious business sailing and racing. Social activities were always intrinsically involved in any event that CYANT organised. In 1974, following the destruction of Darwin by CycloneTracy on Christmas Eve, it was CYANT who led a ‘revolt’ again an edict issued by Major General Stretton (in charge of Darwin’s evacuation and emergency arrangements) that there would be no celebration of New Year’s Eve. The first CYANT New Year’s Eve ‘do’ was quickly organised at the DSC, proving a raging success and a much needed break for the sailing fraternity of Darwin who had lost so much. CYANT continued the tradition of running New Year’s Eve functions at the DSC until the mid 1990s.