It is one of the best events on the Queensland Cruising Yacht Club calendar and not just for those who are sailing. With a live jazz band and a roaring fire, Saturday evening will be a great night for visitors to experience the club as will Sunday morning when you can bookend your breakfast with a wander around the marina and lawns to enjoy the spectacular boats on show.
A fleet of around 40 of South East Queensland’s finest vintage yachts are expected to be on show during the Queen’s Birthday weekend (6th and 7th June). “This event is a highlight of the classic yachting sailing calendar in Queensland and attracts a large fleet of beautifully turned out vessels from yesteryear,” commented Regatta Director Nigel Statham.
The Regatta, also familiarly referred to as ‘The Gaffers’, is not only open to sailing yachts; skippers of sailing dinghies, motor boats or those who would prefer not to race are also welcome to join in with the event and participate in the Concours d’Elégance competition. Berthing for all vessels is free from the Friday evening throughout the weekend.
On the Saturday and Sunday two races are held each day with a short break in between. The start area is positioned close into shore to allow spectators a good view of the racing. The first three races of the weekend are an ‘around the cans’ format. All boats use the same start/finish line but, with the faster boats starting six minutes earlier than the smaller and slower ones. They also sail a longer course than the smaller boats to keep the fleet together and add to the atmosphere. Boats are close enough for plenty of crosses and action around the marks. The second race on Sunday is a short passage race, once again with a shorter course for the smaller boats.
Whilst all the courses do have upwind legs, the focus is one of close reaching and downwind runs rather than long beats to windward.
Each yacht's handicap changes after each race based on their performance. This helps to keep results close and everyone in the hunt for good placing’s.
The first two days make up the Regatta series with the main prize-giving being held on Sunday evening. The four races are also the culmination of the Moreton Bay Classics’ Annual Point Score Series. The series is based on three classic event’s that begin in October each year. With five races already run and two discards allowed, a good result from the four races at the ‘Gaffers’ will be the key to a great overall result.
On the third day of the Regatta, there is a pursuit race around the bay with the slowest boats starting first. The finish line is near the Coffee Pots to allow competitors to head straight to their home port once they cross the finish line.
The Regatta also features a Concours d’Elégance competition. Judging takes place over the course of the weekend and awards are given out in a number of categories. With so many achingly beautiful vessels to choose from, judge and local icon Brian Hutchinson has his work cut out.
Yacht owners and spectators interested in the event can find full information at the Regatta’s website. Go to qcyc.com.au and follow the links.