Australia’s historical ocean race, the QantasLink Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race will set sail for the 67th time on Good Friday. An icon of Queensland, the offshore race is the biggest sporting event in Queensland to be staged annually over the Easter Weekend.
A fleet of between thirty to fifty yachts from across Australia will converge at the Shorncliffe shoreline where His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland will officially start the race at 11am on 3 April.
Competitors will travel over 308 nautical miles along Queensland’s coastline and finish at Gladstone Harbour in the Southern Great Barrier Reef region.
Entries to the event are still open and organisers are urging sailing enthusiasts to get involved. Race Director Nigel Statham said, “we have introduced some exciting new features into the race for 2015 aimed at allowing the occasional racer and serious cruiser to tick the race off their bucket list and join the cream of the offshore racing fleet on the start line.”
For the first time in the Brisbane to Gladstone, a Short Handed category is being offered. This pioneering step has been welcomed by a number of potential entrants and will make an interesting extra dimension to the fleet.
In another first, a new look Cruising and Classic Category has been introduced. Rather than the traditional format of a predicted log as used in most events across the country, the Queensland Cruising Yacht Club is pushing the innovation boundaries with a
Time-on-Time modified handicap system that allows yachts to sail all the way or use their motor in a tactical battle for corrected time honours.
Entries to date are showing that these, and the other innovations implemented into the Race for 2015 are having a great effect. Alive is currently making her way north from Hobart to defend her 2014 title and also have a tilt at beating local fleet leader Black Jack across the line. The Short Handed category has attracted a number of entries included Samurai Jack and Dream Lover whilst the new Cruising rules are seeing a new breed of skipper put their name down to line up on the start line.
Spectators will be able to view the start from on the water or at one of the two festivals that have grown up around the historic race; the Bluewater Festival in Shorncliffe and the Festival of Sails in Redcliffe. In Gladstone, to celebrate and rub shoulders with the crews and view the boats, head to Gladstone’s Yacht Club where the two Clubs will set up the Race Information Centre base for the duration on the race and will play host to the official after party on Sunday 5 April, weather depending.
Official Website www.brisbanetogladstone.com.au
– Nigel Statham