Entries now open for 2014 Milang-Goolwa Freshwater Classic

Tight Racing
Louise Edwards
The ‘Milang Goolwa’ Yacht Race is back with a full Goolwa Regatta Week! One of South Australia’s most popular yacht races, The Marina Hindmarsh Island Milang-Goolwa Freshwater Classic will be held on Sunday 26 January, 2014. Entries open on Friday 1st November 2013, online through www.goolwaregattaweek.com.au and close at midnight on Thursday 16th January 2014.

The Marina Hindmarsh Island Milang-Goolwa Freshwater Classic race will be a spectacular finale to Goolwa Regatta Week, which starts the week beforehand on Saturday 18 January and will offer many community activities on and off the water during the week. The 2014 Goolwa Regatta Week will again include the popular Marina Challenge, but this year using an extra canal, providing even more up close opportunities for spectator viewing.

'Goolwa Regatta Week and the iconic Milang to Goolwa the next day are further examples of how the River, the Lakes and yachties bring communities together', GRYC Commodore Brendan Murray said.

Trading Tacks
Louise Edwards

The Milang Goolwa race was relaunched in 2012 after a five year hiatus due to low water levels. GRYC Commodore Brendan Murray said the 2013 race was a great success with 211 entries in eight divisions – a healthy increase from the 2012 race. He also said the success of the race was evident in the willingness of corporate sponsors to maintain their association with the event with The Marina Hindmarsh Island continuing as Naming Rights Sponsor and taking on sponsorship of the Goolwa Regatta Week.

The race begins at the lakeside town of Milang and continues across Lake Alexandrina and down the River Murray to the river port of Goolwa, a total distance of 50-kilometres. Racing is open to many off-the-beach monohull and cat classes as well as trailable yachts and vintage river boats.

The Freshwater Classic still holds the record as the largest freshwater yacht race in the southern hemisphere when 584 boats competed in 1986. In its long 44-year history, thousands of boats have taken part and it took a decade of drought to halt the race from 2007-2011.

'It is the most significant sporting event in the region, but it is also an important and fun community event,’’ said Brendan Murray. 'Now the water is well and truly back, we’ve seen a resurgence in the economy, culture and lifestyle of towns and communities along the Lower Lakes, Lower Murray River and Fleurieu Peninsula. Given there has been so much suffering and hardship over the years of drought, it is fantastic to see the revival as the waters have returned’’ he said.

Spinnaker Yachts
Louise Edwards

GRYC event director, Vice Commodore Locky McLaren says thousands of spectators, both locals and tourists, are expected to watch the Milang Goolwa race along the route downstream of Milang, past Clayton and on to Goolwa. He is encouraging spectators and competitors to note the date of the race in their diaries now.

'Many people in our riverside communities remember their first ‘Freshwater Classic’ whether they were taking part or on the banks as spectators and we invite all sailors who like a challenge to put the 26th of January in their diaries and enter on-line as soon as possible.’’

'The race links the three lake and riverside towns of Milang, Clayton and Goolwa in a singular event, the communities are involved in the staging of the event, and the whole course offers spectacular viewing.'

'We also believe the race will draw attention at holiday time to the Southern Fleurieu, where the Lower Lakes, the River Murray and the Coorong form exciting waterways and recreational playgrounds, ’’ he said.

The night before the big race
Louise Edwards

'The whole Goolwa Regatta Week will showcase the lakes and the river as a tourist attraction.’’

Information is available from Goolwa Regatta Week; GRYC or by email, gryc@gryc.com.au.