The cessation of the Darwin Dili Yacht Race led CYANT members in search of other sailing destinations. Spearheaded by Bill Jelley, the Darwin to Ambon International Yacht Race was founded in 1976.
Commencing with just ten local participants from Darwin but growing to a fully fledged event on the world cruising calendar. The number of participants going to Ambon peaked in 1997 at 95 yachts from 11 countries.
The Darwin Ambon Yacht Race ran from 1976 until 1998 and became very well known world wide within the sailing fraternity and throughout Indonesia. During the early nineties there were a number of follow on events from the Darwin Ambon Yacht Race. This included a second race from Ambon to Bitung in northern Sulawesi across the equator 400 miles to the north and a series of regattas off the city of Ujung Pandang now known as Makassar in south Sulawesi.
These events peaked in 1995 with the Arung Samudera (Sail the Oceans) event held to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Indonesia. In that year, over 130 Darwin, Australian and international yachts left Darwin for both Ambon and Bali to participate in a series of sailing events in Indonesia which culminated in the Bali to Jakarta Yacht Race run in conjunction with the Bali to Jakarta Tall Ship Event.
In 1999 ongoing civil unrest in Ambon caused the Darwin to Ambon Yacht Race to be cancelled after 22 years.
The overall Race Record was established by the Darwin catamaran Zuma in 1998 with a total elapsed time of 53:49 hours. The Monohull Race Record of 68:57 hours was set in 1997 by Walk on the Wild Side. The Cruising Division Race Record of 76:29 hours was also set in 1997 be the yacht Storm.
The Ambon race was supported by many individuals and organisations. The major commercial sponsor in the later years (1993 - 1998) was Perkins Shipping. The NT Government also provided significant ongoing support for the event.