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The Great Race – Gold Coast to Brisbane off the beach classic

by Kelvin Holdt on 11 Jan 2013
Southport Yacht Club The Great Race
On Saturday 9th February 2013 Southport Yacht Club will be hosting the Great Race - for the ninth time since its inauguration in 2005. Year after year, the Great Race attracts competitors from all over Australia, looking to test their stamina and willpower in this 70km endurance race from the Gold Coast to Brisbane.

The Great Race is possibly the longest off-the-beach sailing event of its kind to be staged in Australia. Starting just outside the hosting Southport Yacht Club’s Hollywell Sailing Squadron on the Gold Coast, competitors make their way up towards Brisbane. The narrow and twisted waterways between the mainland and the islands will test the competitors’ tacking and boat handling skills before the open vastness of Moreton Bay will provide some challenging wind and waves. Finally, the race will finish just off Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Manly.

This Year see’s the introduction of a ½ Marathon which will use the same start area but finish at Weinam Creek which is 20.5nm (38km) from the start and just before the entrance into Moreton Bay, this has been introduced for those who don’t meet the criteria set out for the full race.



This is an intense race. The current race records were set in 2012 with 2:33:32hrs elapsed time for Multihulls, 3:25:09hrs elapsed time for Monohulls and 2:39:58hrs elapsed time for Foiling boats, with the majority of the fleet taking between 4 and 6 hours to complete the course. Concentration and strength are called on for varying angles and sailing conditions that are encountered as you plot your way through the myriad of channels. Competition is fierce all the way, and with tactics changing constantly, you arrive at RQYS or Weinam Creek absolutely spent and hurting, but with a strange little smile of satisfaction on your face that only fellow competitors can relate to!

We’ve picked the weekend with the most favourable tide. Now it is just up to the breeze and to the competitors to set new race records. Entries for The Great Race are open to all off-the-beach dinghies with a yardstick rating less than or equal to 112, and all off-the-beach multihulls with yardstick no higher than 100.
The Great Race ½ Marathon is open to all off the beach dinghies with yardstick rating of greater than and including 113 and less than or equal to 123.

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