Open Search

WISTARI Celebrating fifty years of race entries in 2018

Race Facts & Stats

Race Distance

308 nautical miles.

The Courier Mail Cup

The winner of the Race is awarded the Courier Mail Cup, one of the oldest perpetual trophies to be competed for on a continual basis in Australia.

Consecutive participation

Laurabada raced 50 consecutive Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht races sailing 43 with her builder Ivan Holm Snr at the helm and the last 7 races with Ivan Holm Jnr as skipper. The majestic ketch contested her 50th race in 2002.

Multiple Courier Mail Cup winners

Saltash II (Ian and Bill Wright) 1986, 1992, 1993, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005 Fastest corrected time, 1993: 21hrs 15mins 54secs (Race Record) Average handicap rated speed: 14.48 knots

Norseman (A Wilson) 1951, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1956 (Handicap) Fastest corrected time 1955: 29hrs 5mins 06secs

Wistari (Noel Patrick) 1971, 1976, 1977, 1982 Fastest corrected time 1976: 26hrs 01mins 24secs

Scampi A (Ross Perrins, Colin Loel) 1984, 1988, 2000 Fastest corrected Time 1988: 28hrs 42mins 07secs

Solo (Vic Meyer) 1958, 1959 (Line Honours and Handicap winner) Fastest corrected time 1958: 27hrs 48mins 37secs

Leroy Brown (Warren Wieckmann) 1989, 1991 Fastest corrected time 1991: 40hrs 07mins 24secs

Mouse Of Malham (Bill Dayan-Smith, Norman R Wright Jnr) 1960, 1963 Fastest corrected time 1963: 29hrs 31mins 24secs

Quantum Racing (Ray Roberts) 2008, 2009 Fastest corrected time 2008: 35hrs 08mins 44 secs

Wedgetail (Bill Wild) 2010, 2013 Fastest corrected time 2010: 34hrs 44mins 45secs

Black Jack no.77 (Peter Harburg) 2015, 2016 Fastest corrected time 2015: 50hrs 55mins 11secs

Multiple line honours winning skippers

Jack Rooklyn (Apollo) 1973,1974,1978,1979, (Ballyhoo) 1975 (Maxi Apollo) 1982, 1983, 1984 Fastest elapsed time 1982, Maxi Apollo: 29hrs 46mins 56secs

Mark Bradford (Black Jack – Two different boats with the same name) 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 Fastest elapsed time 2010: 21hrs 52mins 23secs

Fred Markwell (Alvis) 1952, 1953, 1954, 1956,1957 Fastest elapsed time 1956: 48hrs 29mins 29secs

Vic Meyer (Solo)1958, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963 Fastest elapsed time 1958: 34hrs 52mins 50secs

Arthur Bloore (The Office) 1985, (Hammer Of Queensland) 1988, 1991, 1996, 1998 Fastest elapsed time 1988: 29hrs 53mins 47secs

Sean Langman (Grundig Xena, Grundig, AAPT - All the same boat) 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005 Fastest elapsed time 2004: 20hrs 36mins 48secs

Kerry Spencer (Bobsled) 1992, 1993, 1995 Fastest elapsed time 1993: 21hrs 59mins 43seconds

Multiple Line Honours winners – three or more

Apollo (8), Alvis (5), Solo (5), Hammer of Queensland (4), Bobsled (4), Grundig Xena,/Grundig/ AAPT (4), Black Jack no.77 (4), Ilina (3), Wild Thing (3), 

Note: Two boats named Black Jack have taken Line Honours six times in total.

Fastest Yacht – Elapsed Time                   

Skandia (Grant Wharington)

2004 course time: 20hrs 24mins 50secs

Average speed: 15.09 knots

Fastest Yacht – Corrected Time  

Saltash II (Ian and Bill Wright) 1993 course time:  21hrs 15mins 54secs

Average speed: 14.48 knots

Slowest Yacht – Elapsed Time

Alvis (Fred Markwell) – Race winner, Line Honours

1957 course time: 95hrs 09mins 01sec

Average speed: 3.24 knots

Slowest Yacht – Corrected Time

Kyeema (Colin Galbraith)

1950 course time: 70hrs 20mins 38secs

Average speed: 4.38 knots                   

Closest Finish – Elapsed Time

Laurabada (Ivan Holm) beat (Syonara Peter Docker) for Line Honours by 41 seconds after both yachts sailed the final 10 nautical miles in a nip’n’tuck duel after over 41 hours of intense racing in 1967

Closest Finish – On corrected time

Scampi A (Ross Perrins/Colin Loel) beat Silver Shamrock (Peter Cavill) by 26 seconds (corrected time) in 1984

Most Races

Laurabada raced 50 consecutive Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht races sailing 43 with her builder Ivan Holm Snr at the helm and the last 7 races with Ivan Holm Jnr as skipper. The majestic ketch contested her 50th race in 2002.

Largest Fleet

1998 - Golden Anniversary Race. - A combined fleet of 226 keel and multihull yachts created a spectacular sight attracting the largest crowd to ever witness a yacht race start in Queensland.

Four sailors from the inaugural race including winning skipper John Bourne was among the 1356 men women and children who set sail in the race.

Official Race Starter

In the history of the race, the Governor of Queensland has started the race sixteen times.

In 1965, His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester started the race.

In 1972 the starter was Miss Australia.


In 2009 the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race was voted as one of the icons of Queensland. 

In 2008 QCYC was the winner of the Queensland Tourism Award in the Festival and Events Category. 

In 2001 the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race was selected as one of the platforms for the Centenary of Federation celebrations and a Centenary of Federation perpetual trophy is awarded to the winning team each year. 

Worst weather

The Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race has weathered worse storms than the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race with Cyclone Emily causing havoc in 1972 as winds reached up to 96 knots. There were no casualties but only five of the 25 race starters finished the race that year.

Historical Timeline


The first Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race was held with a fleet of seven yachts racing and six finishing. Line Honours went to Hoana (George Pickers) with a course time of 47hrs 8mins 25secs.  The overall race winner was Sea Prince (John Bourne) with a corrected time of 34hrs 22mins 18secs.  

Two yachts carried radios while Brisbane’s Homing Pigeon Club supplied pigeons to the others for position reporting. Each yacht issued with birds was to release two each day.


The second Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race was held with a fleet of 20 yachts entering, 16 starting and only five finishing. Kyeema, the race winner, reportedly finished the race in a 45mph gale. The last boat finished at 10.23am Wednesday, 37 minutes short of 5 days.

The race also saw the first women compete - V Wraight on Graphique, and Dorothy Sanderson, navigator on Sari Marais I.

The first NSW boat to be a Line Honours Winner as Kyeema, and the first steel hulled boat Southern Maid, competed.


The race starting line was transferred from Woody Point to Sandgate, where it has remained ever since.


The last major change was made to the course when it became compulsory for yachts to leave Lady Elliott Island to port thereby sailing to the north of the island.

Competitors were also required to carry ‘two way radio telephones’ for the first time.


Fifteen yachts battled out of the bay in heavy conditions and a collision led to Cimba going aground on the northern end of Bribie Island. There were no injuries and she was re-floated with no major damage. Solo took out the double with only four other boats managing to finish.


The first challenge by Australia for the America’s Cup by Gretel, created immense interest from the general public and increased the knowledge and ability of designers, builders and spar makers in all aspects of Australian yachting.


The 20th race saw Laurabada competing in her 16th Brisbane to Gladstone and owner Ivan Holm and the crewman Doug Kemp competing in their 20th.

This was one of the slowest races to date, few boats had passed Mooloolaba by dawn on Saturday.  At least 10 yachts anchored off Breaksea Spit on Sunday night, with more using ‘the pick’ outside Gladstone Harbour.


Cyclone Emily hit and winds reached up to 96 knots. There were 25 race starters and 20 of those retired. Of the five that completed, four were from NSW and one from Victoria.

The smallest boat, Harmony (Peter Hopgood) won with Line Honours going to Kintima (Russell George) who took 55 hours to complete the race, almost getting washed up at Bustard Head.


Apollo, logging 10-12 knots, grounded on Lady Elliott Island at about 9.15pm Saturday night, her port side stove in becoming the first Brisbane to Gladstone in which a vessel was lost.  No injuries were reported however and salvage subsequently proved futile.


Di Hard (Bruce Tardrew), sailing under the burgee of the Royal Papua Yacht Club became the first overseas yacht to win the race.


The Golden Anniversary Race, a record fleet of 196 keel yachts created a spectacular sight attracting the largest crowd to ever witness a yacht race start in Queensland.                             

Line Honours went to Hammer Of Queensland (Arthur Bloore) after several attempts to cross the finish line in a light South Westerly wind and strong ebb tide.

Four sailors from the inaugural race including winning skipper John Bourne were among the 1356 men, women and children who set sail in the race.


A world record was set for a point to point race over 300 nautical miles by Bobsled (Kerry Spencer) who clocked speeds of up to 29.7 knots and completing the race with an average speed of 14.1 knots in a time of 21hrs 59mins 43secs.


A record was set by the Steenland family whose 30.7m schooner, South Passage, had 30 members of the family aboard, 24 sharing the name Steenland, their ages ranging from 3 to 77.


A small alteration to the course was made with yachts now rounding a mark 200m east of Garnet Rock beacon off Redcliffe Peninsula and the finish line in Gladstone Harbour moved to the Western side of Auckland Creek.


Skandia (Grant Wharington) sets a new race record with a course time of 20hrs 24mins 50secs and an average speed of 15.09 knots.


Wild Thing became the largest yacht to ever enter the race at a LOA of 100 foot or 30.48 meters.


Black Jack (no.77) became only the second yacht to win both Line Honours and the Race overall for two years in succession.  Solo was the first to achieve the double double in 1959



The start of the race was broadcast live, throughout the globe via social media channels bringing the excitement and spectacle of some of the best local, national and international boats and crews to anyone with a smartphone, tablet or computer.

Organised and Hosted by


The Official website of the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race.

Latest News

23 Apr 2018 - 14:03
2 Apr 2018 - 18:14
2 Apr 2018 - 18:04



Get in touch

Race Director Queensland Cruising Yacht Club PO Box 399 Sandgate QLD 4710 Phone: 07 3269 4588 Fax: 07 3269 0818