About the race

About the race

On Saturday 27 July 2019 the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia will start the 34th Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race, an event that is second only in status to the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race among long ocean races conducted by the Club.

The CYCA introduced the Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race in 1986 as 'the great winter escape', taking advantage of the completion of the Gold Coast Seaway. Extensive harbour works funded by the Queensland Government had opened up an all-weather entrance at the Southport bar to deep keel yachts, large pleasure craft and fishing trawlers.

Appropriately, the official starter of the inaugural Jupiters Gold Coast Yacht Race was the then Premier of Queensland, Sir Joh Bjelke-Peterson, who fired the starting cannon to send a fleet of 83 boats north with the promise of much warmer weather.  An equally colourful character in the late Jack Rooklyn sailed his famous maxi yacht Apollo to a double victory, taking line honours and first place on corrected time.

Since then the 384 nautical mile race has attracted fleets of between 70 and 80 yachts each year, with entries coming mainly from New South Wales and Queensland, but also from Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and New Zealand.  In 1997, a record fleet of 86 boats took part.

Most of Australia's best-known ocean racing yachts, their skippers and crews have competed at some stage, with names like Apollo, Hammer of Queensland, Sovereign, Brindabella,  Condor of Currabubula, Sydney, Wild Thing, Grundig, Wild Oats XI and Black Jack on the honour roll of Line Honours winners. 

Handicap winners, overall and in divisions, have included Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race winners Indian Pacific, Wild Oats, Ragamuffin, AFR Midnight Rambler and Sting,  along with other well-known boats as Witchcraft II,  P&0 Nedlloyd, the veteran Southerly, Chutzpah, Loki and Living Doll.  Big boats have also taken their share of handicap honours, including Apollo, Ragamuffin, Wild Thing, Ichi Ban and Grundig.

The Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race marks the start of the Club's sixth month Blue Water program which is regarded as an important stepping-stone for owners and crew to gain vital offshore racing experience in the lead-up to competing in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

The CYCA conducts the Sydney Gold Coast Race with the co-operation of Southport Yacht Club, which provides outstanding club and marina facilities for the visiting yachts in a relaxed semi-tropical setting. This close relationship between the two clubs continues.