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It could be said that sailors are a little nuts, when you think of a sport that leaves you having shelled out enough dollars to make one a crypto billionaire and often ending up wet, cold and sore for the privilege … but it also leaves you elated and, thanks to sailors having short memories, ready to go at it again.


Those who understand will know that the Melbourne Osaka Yacht Race (or, to call it by its proper name, the Melbourne Osaka Cup), established in 1987 to test the mettle of extreme ocean-going sailors, is a “hell yeah” when given the opportunity.


After all, there are orders of magnitude …


Some like to sail.

Some enjoy twilight racing each week “around the cans”.

There are those who will step it up, racing in events such as the Sydney Hobart.

Most will say it’s a little wild to do the Sydney Hobart short-handed. But that’s just the qualifying event for the Melbourne Osaka.


At 5,000 nautical miles, the Melbourne Osaka is like doing 8 Sydney Hobart races back to back … with just two people onboard.


The Melbourne Osaka Yacht Race is made possible by the collaboration of the Sandringham Yacht Club, the Hokko Yacht Club, and the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria.


The point? 


Being one of the only South-North long distance ocean races in the world, the event’s mission is to create a proving ground for genuine seamanship skills. The event also provides the opportunity for the development of seaworthy yachts and gear.


Will there be a Melbourne Osaka Yacht Race in 2025?

Yes! After a bit of a wait due to pandemics, etc, the Notice of Race has been issued, and entries are pouring in. With only 50 Australian entrants accepted, it’s not the kind of application to let sit idle.

Route of the 2025 Melbourne Osaka Yacht Race

At the event’s launch, Alistair Murray, head of Australian Sailing, said “I’ve been aware of – and in awe of – the Melbourne Osaka Race since its inception in 1987 … it’s been run successfully eight times. It’s listed on World Sailing’s Major Ocean Events Calendar – the only Australian event to be on there.”


Sailors will leave Port Phillip Bay, head through the Bass Strait, and up the east coast of Australia. They’ll navigate through the waters of the Pacific islands of the Solomons and Micronesia, then into the currents of Japan. 


Travelling backwards through the seasons, with autumn in Melbourne, summer at the equator and spring in Osaka, crews will need to adapt to the changes.


As a bonus for this event, the finish line will be situated right in front of World Expo 2025, to be held at Yumeshima, known as “Dream Island” with the theme of “Designing Future Society for our Lives” and an expected 28 million visitors. This makes the Melbourne Osaka Yacht Race attractive to sponsors who can capitalize on the finishing line’s proximity.


Watch the fly-through, illustrating the proposed site:

Volvo Ocean 60 ‘Merit’ to compete in the 2025 Melbourne Osaka Yacht Race

Skipper Michael Schwarzel entered ‘Merit’ as soon as the Notice of Race was released, and has started preparations for the event.


“It’s something I set my sights on twenty years ago,” said Michael. “To me, it’s the ultimate challenge.”


Michael holds a Royal Yachting Association Offshore Yachtmaster Certificate and is a qualified sailing instructor.


He’s crossed oceans, won trophies, dealt with those moments at sea you’d rather avoid, plus rebuilt Merit almost from scratch after Cyclone Debbie.


Having sailed ‘Merit’ single-handed from Brisbane to the Whitsundays, Michael is looking forward to the double-handed challenge of the Melbourne Osaka Yacht Race and, in the process, is keen to inspire those who follow the race to push their own limits.

Volvo Ocean 60 Merit to compete in the 2025 Melbourne Osaka Yacht Race

Melbourne Osaka partnership opportunities with ‘Merit’

Partnership opportunities for exposure during the Melbourne Osaka Race are available, with digital marketing promotional campaigns by McKee Creative included for each partner.

Sponsors can turn the whole main sail area (or full sail wardrobe) into a billboard, as The Moreton Group did for Hamilton Island Race Week, get your logo on the spinnaker as Tourism Whitsundays did, and/or receive exposure on the length of the hull.

Sponsor Volvo Oceean 60 Merit for the Melbourne Osaka Yacht Race

Lead-up events to the Melbourne Osaka Yacht Race include the 2023 and 2024 Sydney Hobart Yacht Races, which serve to add exposure.


To learn more about Partnership opportunities, contact

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Sponsor Volvo Ocean 60 Merit for Melbourne Osaka Yacht Race - includes 2 Sydney Hobart events in the lead-up.