News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery : The Blue Water Rally Goes 'Over the Top End'

The Blue Water Rally Goes 'Over the Top End'

'The Route'    .

The more than thirty yachts which left Gibraltar in October 2007 in the Blue Water Rally are currently cruising between Mackay, just south of Australia's most famous cruising grounds of the Great Barrier Reef, and Darwin, that northerly outpost of the 'Top End' of the Australian Outback. Here Organiser Peter Seymour reports on the progress:

By 25 August most Rally yachts had left Mackay and Rally crews now have some 5 weeks to cruise round to Darwin, involving sailing Over the Top (Cape York and Arnhem Land).

Having our new port of entry to Australia at Mackay the Blue Water Rally can now sail through the Whitsunday Islands to our previous stopover at Cairns and beyond. The Whitsundays are a classic cruising ground, with unspoilt anchorages and islands set in beautiful blue tropical seas.

During the Skippers Briefing in Mackay we provided a suggested cruise plan, enabling crews to plan their own passages between the multitude of anchorages en route to Darwin. Certainly, Cairns will be on everyone’s list, both as a tourist centre and, for some, a departure point for families and friends who have been with them over the past few weeks. During our previous 6 Rallies the major tourist highlight at Cairns has been the spectacular Skyrail and rail journey to the town of Kuranda in the Atherton Tablelands.
Crews go bush trekking -  Peter Seymour  

On their way to Cairns one of the participants, Paul on Anahi, reports:

The Whitsunday area is a particularly beautiful and unspoilt part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in the Queensland tropics. They are actually two drowned mountain ranges cut off from the mainland by past geologic events.

Today we sailed past Brampton, through the middle of Lindeman and Shaw between Goldsmith and Linne Islands, a tiny little passage where the seas were confused and the current at its strongest in our favour, to settle for the night at the most beautiful anchorage in a cove of Thomas Island (next to Dead Dog Island). This is surprisingly the first time we have actually sailed alone, stopped in an anchorage alone (as opposed to attaching to a buoy) and been completely alone………not another single yacht or person in sight…..and it is wondrous! We have watched the tide dropping away to reveal the Island’s reef, the birds are singing joyously in the trees at the end of their day and the white sandy beach looks pristine.

In the steps of Captain Cook

The Rally has already sailed along the path of Cook’s voyages from Tahiti to Australia and marvelled at the extraordinary navigational skills of the man who has been dubbed as the greatest of maritime explorers.
Cooktown -  .. .  

From Mackay onwards charts used by Blue Water Ralliers carry the names of his various anchorages and the names of his sponsors. Cook found a way through a group of islands on Whit Sunday, so the passage and the islands were called Whitsunday. Cook sailed past, charted and named many other islands (Dunk, Family and Palm), Capes (Bowling Green, Cleveland and Grafton) and Bays (Trinity, Halifax and Rockingham). In fact, his anchorage in Mission Bay at Cape Grafton is the site of modern Cairns.

A near tragedy occurred on 11 June 1970 when Cook’s ship, Endeavour, ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef. It took a day to refloat the ship by jettisoning canons, ballast and stores. Between 18 June and 4 August Endeavour was repaired near Walker Bay, at a point now known as Cooktown. On 12 August Cook used a small boat to visit Lizard Island. Here he climbed to the highest point (Cook’s Look) in the hope of seeing gaps in the reef that he could sail through. Sadly, he only saw lizards as it was too hazy.

Cook now found himself in a dilemma: to sail inside the reef was to run the risk of grounding again on coral: to sail outside the reef could mean missing the Torres Strait through the Arafura Sea – if it existed! Safely inside, Cook proceeded carefully, following the coast and reached Cape York on 21 August 1770. His voyage of some 3,500 kms had taken only about 8 weeks to sail and chart – a supreme example of his skills.
Watch out for Crocs -  Peter Seymour   Click Here to view large photo

From Cape York through the ‘Hole in the Wall’ to Darwin

From Cape York, the most northerly point in Australia, Rally yachts will sail across the Gulf of Carpentaria and most will make a stopover at the Gove Yacht Club on the coast of Arnhem Land. Crews on past Rallies have always found this the most welcoming of clubs with a reputation for some of the coldest beer in Australia! Here skippers will get a local briefing on the passage through the famous ‘Hole in the Wall’, an extremely narrow pass between shoal islands, where the current can run at around 10 or more knots. This short cut saves many miles of cruising and sets yachts well on the shortest route towards Darwin past aboriginal Arnhem Land.

Arriving in Darwin – Black-striped Mussel Procedures and Paperwork

Since the first Rally we organised in 1995 there has been a problem with the black-striped mussel, which can enter the seawater systems of boats and clog them, thus causing enormous damage. The Northern Territory Government has, therefore, imposed a mandatory inspection system and a requirement for flushing water systems on our yachts before they are allowed to enter any of the Darwin marinas.
Arriving in Darwin -  Peter Seymour  

Darwin is also the point of our departure from Australia and for the preparations for entry into Indonesia. Our Support Manager, Richard Bolt, will be on hand in Darwin to assist the Rally from 24 September. However, more of that later – there is much cruising ahead over the coming weeks before we report the Darwin stopover.

by Peter Seymour


Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

7:55 PM Sun 31 Aug 2008 GMT

Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

News - USA and the World

ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Strong competition for RS:X fleets by Olga Maslivets, International RS:X Class Assoc.,

470 Men and Women Worlds - Game on for Olympic Qualification by 470 International Association Class,

A complete recap of the most successful Melges 20 World Championship by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,

ISAF Santander - Upwards path for Austrian women's 470 crew + video by Luissa Smith, International 470 Class Association,

470 Men and Women World Championships - Racing abandoned on day 2
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Day 4 images from Santander
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander: Emerging Nations Program sailors shine
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Teasing winds play havoc on day 4
ISAF Sailing World Championships: Hot conditions in Santander on day 4
Santander ISAF Sailing World Championships joins Bart’s Bash
PWA Cold Hawaii World Cup - Grounded fishing boat creates problems
Marseille One Design - GC32 Armin Strom Sailing Team emerge victorious
Rolex Big Boat Series 2014 - Ready for another 50 years
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Farr 40 Day 4
2014 Rolex Swan Cup - Eleventh-hour victories
Extreme Sailing Series - Kiwis clinch Act win in Istanbul + Video
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Two long races today for the J70 fleet
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Impressive to sail out of the Golden Gate
Extreme Sailing Series - Istanbul delivers four days of great racing
ISAF Sailing Worlds Santander - Day 3 images by
Extreme Sailing Series: Emirates Team NZ bounces back for series win
Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds - Light winds and current test six classes
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Solid Day 3 for US Sailing Team
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Day 3 images by Jesus Renedo
Marseille One Design 2014 - GC32 Armin Strom blitzes final day   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Una Etapa 0 complicada para todos   
Santander 49ers: Olympic Gold Medallist says two into 90 does not go!! *Feature   
GBR aiming for first ever Nacra 17 Games berth at Santander Worlds   
Volvo Ocean Race: Man and sail overboard as Leg 0 serves up drama   
ISAF Sailing World Championships Santander 2014 – Images by Dan Ibsen   
Santander Worlds – already a spectator success   
ISAF Sailing World Championships Santander 2014 - Day 3 morning report   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Tales from the extreme   
Volvo Ocean Race: Latest starter wins opening race   
2014 J/70 World Championship - Healy, Abdullah, Becker and Borges win   
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Full-blown, once again   
ISAF Worlds - Americans jump up Laser and Laser Radial leaderboard   
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Farr 40 Day 3   
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Day 2 images from   
America's Cup: Luna Rossa sailing with two foiling AC45's + Video   
Extreme Sailing: Emirates Team NZ retain second overall   
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Rio Olympic Laser spots snapped up   
Rolex Swan Cup - All set for final showdown   
Upper Midwest sailors need help to take it to the next level   

For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News  

Switch Default Region to:

Social Media





New Zealand

United Kingdom

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World






Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text


Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery


Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery





Privacy Policy



Cookie Policy



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT