The Milang to Goolwa Yacht Race is back on again - January 2012

Monohull Trailer Sailers in Spinnaker Division at the the last Milang to Goolwa race in 2007 - Milang to Goolwa Race action, Photos by Paparazzi Digital Photography
Mike O'Reilly
One of Australia’s most popular yacht races, the Milang to Goolwa Freshwater Classic Yacht Race will be held on Sunday January 22, 2012 after a five-year hiatus because of drought and low water levels.

The Goolwa Regatta Yacht Club (GRYC) is relaunching the race with great enthusiasm now that the River Murray waters are back. The GRYC Commodore Don Richardson said the relaunch had attracted strong corporate sponsorship with local developer, The Marina Hindmarsh Island, stepping up as Principal Sponsor for the next five years.

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.

The resurrection of the event is expected to attract hundreds of boats, sailors and crew from around Australia, who view the event as a 'must do' freshwater race. 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 42-year history, thousands of boats have taken part and it took a decade of drought to halt the race five years ago.

'It will be the most significant sporting event in the region once more, but it will also be an important and fun community event,’’ says GRYC Commodore Don Richardson. 'The whole Lakes and Lower Murray River region has experienced so much suffering and hardship over the past 10 years of drought and it is fantastic to see its revival as the waters have returned,’’ he said.

The Milang-Goolwa Freshwater Classic race will be a spectacular finale to Goolwa Regatta Week, which starts the week beforehand on Saturday January 14 and will offer many community activities on and off the water during the week.

GRYC event director, Rear Commodore Locky McLaren says thousands of spectators, both locals and tourists, are expected to watch the Milang to Goolwa race along the route downstream to Goolwa.

'Many people in our riverside communities remember their first ‘Freshwater Classic’ whether they were taking part or on the banks as spectators,’’ says Mr McLaren.

'Our re-launched event is going to be something very special, and we invite all sailors who like a challenge to put the 22nd January date in their diaries now.’’

'It 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 says.

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

Information will be available from;; or by Email, gryc(at)

Traditional Riverboats versus Trailer Sailers in the 'Go For Gold' event prior to the last Milang to Goolwa race in 2007 - Milang to Goolwa Race action, Photos by Paparazzi Digital Photography
Mike O'Reilly