The Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race is considered by the yachting fraternity and the general public to be one of Australia’s flagship ocean yacht races. The Race is an icon of Queensland and the highest profile Easter Weekend sporting event, setting sail from Moreton Bay on Good Friday annually. From the start, yachts proceed via a mark off Redcliffe Point to the North West Channel up to Caloundra and through to Gladstone, a distance of approximately 308 nautical miles.
Entrants will gather from across Queensland, New South Wales. Victoria and Tasmania as well as from overseas. They compete for the Courier Mail Cup, one of the oldest perpetual trophies in Australia that has been competed for on a continual basis.
The Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race is steeped in history and tradition with the first Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race held during Easter 1949. The first race saw seven vessels start, two of which 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 first person to finish the race was Doug Perrins on the bow of Hoana. Having sailed through strong winds and heavy seas, Hoana finished with an elapsed time of 47hrs 08min 25sec, a very creditable time which stood until 1955.
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.
Rupert Murdoch won the race (line honors) twice in 1964 and 1965 and held the race record for twelve years from 1964 to 1976.
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. The race maintains an exemplary safety record.
The popularity of the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race website ranks in the top 4% worldwide over the Easter period. Although most visits start at the Race website home page, the vast majority of an end users time is spent interacting with the Race Tracker.
The Race start is live streamed in a full visual broadcast available for free to anyone with an internet connection. The broadcast covers the pre-race, start and the first section of the racing to the rounding mark off Tangalooma.
Along the foreshores of Moreton Bay, two festivals are in existence to celebrate the race start spectacle, the Festival of Sails and the Bluewater Festival. Both festivals report growing crowds on an annual basis; in all, 60,000 spectators are estimated. Around 300 private and commercial craft gather around the start line. A third festival, the Gladstone Harbour Festival celebrates the end of the race.
The Race receives extensive coverage through all forms of media including all the free to air TV networks who cover the Race start out on the water, in the air and on the shore.
Support from External Agencies
The Race is supported by local government bodies including Brisbane City Council, Gladstone Regional Council, Moreton Bay Regional Council, and local parliamentary members.