EVENTS - Australian Offshore Challenge Queensland

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Gold Coast to Whitsundays Rally, August 25 to September 3

EVENTS - Australian Offshore Challenge Queensland
EVENTS — Australian Offshore Challenge Queensland

Planning is well underway for the upcoming Queensland edition of the Australian Offshore Challenge.

The Gold Coast to Whitsundays Rally takes powerboaters on a 700nm odyssey through some of the best cruising waters in Australia. The survey team has mapped out an exciting course that navigates a series of day-stages through a huge variety of coastal passages.

These include Pacific Ocean swells, bar-ways, island hopping, river estuaries, mainland island stopovers and coral cays of the Great Barrier Reef. You will cram more boating excitement into this one week than most people experience in years of ordinary boating. We visit major cities, coastal havens, deserted beaches, rocky inlets, as well as some of the best fishing and diving spots in


"Although the event is a navigational rally and the competitive pace is on every day, you will have plenty of recreational time both during each day’s activities, plus we arrive at each overnight stop-over in plenty of time to enjoy time ashore," said organisers. "Some of this will be organised functions, others will be free so you can explore, relax, prepare for the day ahead and socialise with a bunch of new likeminded friends."

The final course survey will fine-tune the details, but in outline, the Gold Coast to Whitsundays Rally will follow this schedule:

Day 1 (Fri, Aug 26): Horizon Shores to Mooloolaba
Day 2 (Sat, Aug 27): Mooloolaba to Hervey Bay
Day 3 (Sun, Aug 28): Hervey Bay to Lady Musgrave Island
Day 4 (Mon, Aug 29): Lady Musgrace Island to Yeppoon
Day 5 (Tues, Aug 30): Recreational day around Great Keppel Island
Day 6 (Wed, Aug 31): Yeppoon to Percy Isles
Day 7 (Thurs, Sept 1): Percy Isles to Mackay
Day 8 (Fri, Sept 2): Mackay to Hook Island
Day 9 (Sat, Sept 3): Hook Island to Abel Point Marina

Being a navigational rally, the actual course to be followed will remain a secret until the start of each day. At the daily crew briefing, the day’s course instructions will be issued — one copy to each navigator. To successfully complete the day without loss of points, each competitor must plot and then follow the set course exactly. Points will be lost for arriving early or late at a checkpoint or for missing a passage control checkpoint.

The crew with the lowest points score overall will be the winner of the navigation award. Other awards cover non-navigational aspects of the event, such as the Spirit of the Challenge award and awards recognising the recreational aspects of the Offshore Challenge.

Several people have asked about entering a "slow" boat.
That is: "Will my boat be able to compete against the bigger, faster teams — it cruises comfortable at 18kts, but will be pushing it to do 25kts in any sort of sea." The answer is "Yes, you will."
The event is not a race, it is a navigational adventure, and the main focus is making sure everyone is able to compete on their own terms and reach the end satisfied with their experience.

Under no circumstances will a "slow" boat be left behind or not be in contention for a navigational award. Our experience with these events is that the fastest boat is not necessarily the winner when careful and accurate navigation plays such an important part of the day’s agenda.

So don't be put off if you are not a big-budget racer — the event is designed for you too.

Organisers said they have had a number of enquiries from owners of PWCs (jetskis) about entering the Queensland rally. For Queensland, these smaller craft will find the course and conditions much more manageable than is the case in Tasmanian waters, so the organisers have decided to add an additional class for PWCs and smaller RIBs and pontoon boats.

This will be Class 1A for PWCs (all types and sizes) and Class 1B for RIBs and pontoon boats over 5m.

Organisers said: "If you own a jetski and would like to enter, register your interest now, so that we can firm-up the competition details and support services for all entrants in this class of water craft."

Those of you who have read the Official Regulations will note that there is a significant discount for Early Entries.
"$500 in fact, off the boat fee," said organisers.

So, if you are planning to enter and want to maximise your budget, get your entry in by Tuesday, May 31 and take advantage of the early-entry discount. It is not a fixed commitment because a Refunds Policy applies right up to close of entries on July 29.

To obtain a copy of the Regs and Entry Form, go to the website, phone or email the Event Office and they will send you them.

For more information, phone (03) 9867 6666, email: or visit


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