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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.


Most Race Starts

Laurabada - 51 starts; last in 2018
Wistari - 50 starts; last in 2018


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

SEVEN Saltash II (Ian and Bill Wright) 1986, 1992, 1993, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005
FIVE Norseman (A Wilson)  1951, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1956 
FOUR Wistari (N Patrick) 1971, 1976, 1977, 1982
THREE Scampi A (R Perris, C Loel) 1984, 1988, 2000
TWO Solo (Vic Meyer) 1958, 1959
  Leeroy Brown (W Wieckmann) 1989, 1991
  Mouse of Malham (B Dayan-Smith, N R Wright Jnr) 1960, 1963
  Quantum Racing (R Roberts) 2008, 2009
  Wedgetail (B Wild) 2010, 2013
  Black Jack 77 (P Harburg) 2015, 2016

NOTE: Two different boats named Ichi Ban have won, one in 2017 and one in 2018


Multiple line honours winning skippers - 3 or more

EIGHT Jack Rooklyn (Apollo) 1973,1974,1978,1979, (Ballyhoo) 1975 (Maxi Apollo) 1982, 1983, 1984
SEVEN Mark Bradford (Black Jack 66) 2009, 2010, Black Jack 77) 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, (Black Jack 100) 2018
FIVE Fred Markwell (Alvis) 1952, 1953, 1954, 1956,1957 
  Vic Meyer (Solo)1958, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963 
  Arthur Bloore (The Office) 1985, (Hammer Of Queensland) 1988, 1991, 1996, 1998 
FOUR Sean Langman (Grundig Xena, Grundig, AAPT - All the same boat) 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005 
THREE Kerry Spencer  (Bobsled) 1992, 1993, 1995 


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 77 (4), Ilina (3), Wild Thing (3), 

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


Fastest Yacht – Elapsed Time                   

Black Jack 100 (Peter Harburg)

2018 course time: 16 hours 53 minutes 57 seconds

Average Speed: 18.23 knots



Skandia (Grant Wharington)

2004 course time: 20hrs 24mins 50secs

Average speed: 15.09 knots


Fastest Conventionally Ballasted Yacht – Elapsed Time                   

Ichi Ban (Matt Allen)

2018 course time: 19 hours 36 minutes 42 seconds

Average Speed: 15.70 knots



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


Largest Fleet

1998 - Golden Anniversary Race. - 196 yachts (plus 30 multihulls) 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.

Second largest fleet: 66 in 1999 (51st race) and 2008 (60th race)

Fourth largest fleet: 55 in 2018 (70th race)


Official Race Starter

In the history of the race, the Governor of Queensland has started the race seventeen times. The current Governor,His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, has started the last four Races.

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

In 1972 the starter was Miss Australia.


Start Boat

South Pacific II has been used as the start boat 31 times, 30 of which were consecutive from 1984 to 2013


Race Directors

The Race Director for the first race was Mr C Eaton. For the next 26 years, there was no one individual in charge of the race with a committee structure used instead.

Since 1976, Mr H Prendergast has been Race Director 14 times, Mr R Chapman 13 times and Mr N Statham and Mrs K Sommerville 4 times each.



In 2018 the Race Director was awards the Australian Sailing - Queensland Sport Professional Award in recognition of his work with the race and in particualar the Live Streaming of the start.

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 for the first time, 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.


Black Jack 100 (Owner: Peter Harburg Skipper: Mark Bradford) sets a new race record with a course time of 16hrs 53mins 57secs and an average speed of 18.23 knots. Ichi Ban (Matt Allen) came second over the line and also broke the previous record which had stood for 14 years.

Organised and Hosted by


The Official website of the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race.

Website highlights

22 Apr 2019 - 09:24
15 Apr 2019 - 11:47



Get in touch

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