Bay to Bay yacht race

The Bay to Bay trailable yacht race is an annual event sailed on the Great Sandy Strait between the coastline and Fraser Island the world’s largest sand island, and traverses through the Great Sandy National Park It is sailed between Tin Can Bay at the southern end and Hervey Bay at the northern entrance. The race has become a classic sailing event, Queensland’s largest yacht race and the second largest in Australia. Numbers of entrants are limited to between 200 and 250 by authorities on safety of navigation arguments. Whilst large keel yachts can traverse the straits, by sailing the tides, it can be shallow in some sections. So the race is limited to trailer sailers of both mono and multihull types. The event is sailed over two days of the Queen’s birthday long weekend in June each year, with an overnight stopover on World Heritage Fraser Island between races.

Infobox Islands
name = Great Sandy Strait

image caption = View from Indian Head, ocean side Fraser Island

native name =
native name link =
location = Australia
coordinates= coord|25|13|S|153|08|E|display=inline,title
area = 1,840 km²
highest mount =
elevation =
country = Australia
country admin divisions title = State
country admin divisions = Queensland
country admin divisions title 1 = LGA
country admin divisions 1 = Fraser Coast Regional Council
country largest city =
country largest city population =
population =
population as of =
density =
ethnic groups =


The race was born when 14 people sat down to plan a trailer yacht race from Tin Can Bay to Hervey Bay on April 18, 1980. The Meeting was held at Andy Postan's house - also in the team were Ivan Barnes, Noel Glanfied, Jim Lyall, Greg Clifford, Doug Young, Bevan Brown, Jim Alfleck, Bob Maslen, Trevor Cecil, Jim, Chris and Cynthia Wicklund and Allan Bowan. All were members of the Hervey Bay Sailing Club.A two day race format with a stopover at Garry's Anchorage, on Fraser Island, was decided on as the course length at 87km was considered too long for a one day race.Race Secretary at the time, Ivan Barnes, said the race Committee were overwhelmed when 114 boats turned up for the historic start, they had expected only 30 entries for the first event in May 1981! That meant an influx of about 500 people to the small town of Tin Can Bay.

Strong south - easterlies sent the first fleet bowling along under spinnakers at a fast pace. Some gear failure, including broken or bent masts, meant a few withdrawals but the inaugural Bay to Bay, was voted an absolute success and word soon got around in the sailing community.

Rockhampton sailor, Rob McWatters took out the line honours that year in his seawind 24 catamaran. Fastest race time was set by Hervey Bay sailor, Bob Maslen, in the catamaran 'Bob Cat', which has been a familiar sight in the annual event in years passed. Handicap winners were,Over the years the organisers have coped with conditions varying from heavy winds with resulting gear failure, to light winds with shortening of the course, to torrential rain flooding the Maryborough bridge and preventing competitors getting their cars and trailers to Hervey Bay, and rain showers at Garry's anchorage dampening all but the sailors spirits.cite web |url= |title=Hervey Bay Sailing Club |format= |work= |accessdate=]


Yacht eligibility includes; Type 1 Trailable Monohull Boats, Type 2 Sports Trailable Monohull Boats, Type 3 Open Class Trailable Monohull Boats, and Type 4 Trailable Multihull Boats.

All boats shall be:1. Strongly built, watertight, capable of withstanding solid water, properly rigged, fully seaworthy and meeting the standards of the Yachting Association Special Regulations and the requirements of Queensland Transport Marine Safety Queensland, Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol and Queensland Water Police

2. Crewed by a minimum of two persons one of whom is aged at least 18 years and capable of accepting the responsibilities of the owner and all of whom are fit to face the conditions of the race

3. Greater than 4.8m in length

4. Transported on the road without special permit and on the same trailer used to launch and retrieve it without the assistance of external equipment or detachment from the towing vehicle

5. All monohulls shall be ballasted boats designed and built to resist capsize

6. Rigged and sailed according to the boats details declared on the entry form

All boats must comply with the requirements of all relevant government authorities including Queensland Transport Operations Marine Safety Regulations for smooth and partially smooth waters and Queensland Transport Marine Pollution Regulations for the Great Sandy Strait (discharge of raw sewage is not permitted in the Great Sandy Strait) Although a BBQ (toilets) and entertainment is organised ashore at Garry’s for Saturday night only, competitors are expected to carry sufficient food, water and fuel to cater for extreme conditions. cite web |url= |title=sailing instructions |format= |work= |accessdate=14/07/08]


The race is conducted in a number of divisions with separate start times; generally the slowest start first, which makes for interesting encounters down the course. The finish time limit of the first leg will be 1630hrs on Saturday north west of Fig Tree Creek, just south of Garry’s anchorage the overnight stop location. Trailer yachts line the beach, and raft together in groups in the Inlet, transport to and from the shore is provided.

Approximate Anticipated Division Groupings are;

Division 1: Type 2 Monohull Boats and Type 3 Monohull Boats

Division 2: Type 1 Monohull Boats

Division 3: Type 1 Monohull Boats and Type 4-B Multihull Boats (typically Haines Hunter Tramps, Seawind 25s)

Division 4: Type 1 Monohull Boats and Type 4-C Multihull Boats (typically Jarcats)

Division 5: Type 4-A Multihull Boats

Within the fleet if a minimum number of any particular boat class are entered then an additional class trophy is also raced for.

Handicapping, the committee applies two different handicaps to each yacht, the CBH and the PBH. The class based handicap is a measure of the boats class and design rules, where a boat does not have an established CBH the Race Committee with measurement information provided at entry, will establish an appropriate one. The PBH is measure of the capability of a particular boat and crew combination, these in theory give all competitors an equal chance of winning. PBH are often established at a boats home club, however the Race Committee has much experience of the course and the way certain boats perform on it, and issue their own Handicaps for the race.

There is a pre-race briefing for competitors at 9-30 am on the Saturday morning at the Tin Can Bay yacht club, the start begins at 11 am off the point that the club commands. Boats will have been arriving for days before the event, Friday afternoon being very busy, as it is a 3 to 4 hour drive north of Brisbane. Trailer yachts will be rafted up all along the inlet overnight before the start. Busses are organised both on the Friday night and Saturday morning so that crews can drive their car and trailer to the finish area at the Urangan boat harbour and be able to return in time for the race start. The first days race takes the fleet down the Tin Can Bay inlet, crossing behind the notorious Wide Bay Bar onto the inside of Fraser Island, sailing to about 1/5 the way north along the Island.

The second days race starts usually at 0730 hrs, in the past as early as 0630 hrs, not popular with the revellers from the party ashore at Garry’s, indeed race positions can change around this factor! The second days race is a longer one, north up the Straits pass the sorus pile marking the channel to the Mary river, where yachts have been known to ‘park’ under full spinnaker fighting the tides, while the crew takes a cooling swim. On past White-cliffs and the sand banks, up the east side of Woody Island, out to the fairway mark before rounding and proceeding up the inside of Woody to the finish line.

The finish time limit of the second leg on Sunday will be 1600hrs on Sunday north west of Datum Point Woody Island. Results will be posted on a notice board and trophies will be presented at the Hervey Bay Boat Club at the Urangan Boat Harbour usually after the racing at 2000hrs on the Sunday.cite web |url= |title=sailing instructions |format= |work= |accessdate=14/07/08]


Whilst the boats arrive and launch over several days at Tin Can Bay, just about everyone wants to haul out at Urangan boat harbour after crossing the finish line, on the Sunday afternoon. Imagine the organization needed to retrieve up to 250 trailer yachts in a matter of hours. Not only do they have to haul up the ramps, but also must de-rig and pack away before they can leave the boat harbour. It is a sight to behold and only possible (as indeed the whole event is) due to the sterling efforts of many volunteers, most of who go unheralded.


External Links

[ Hervey Bay Sailing Club]

[ Tin Can Bay Yacht Club]

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