Australian Offshore Challenge Gold Coast to Whitsundays Rally

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

The Gold Coast to Whitsundays Rally takes power boaters on a 700 nautical mile 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 Queensland.

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. 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 like-minded friends.

Course Schedule

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

DAY DATE START OVERNIGHT DISTANCE nm
Thurs 25 Aug Pre-start Activities Horizon Shores Marina
1 Fri 26 Aug Horizon Shores Mooloolaba 73
2 Sat 27 Aug Mooloolaba Hervey Bay 102
3 Sun 28 Aug Hervey Bay Lady Musgrave Is 92
4 Mon 29 Aug Lady Musgrave Is Yeppoon 114
5 Tues 30 Aug Recreational day around Gt Keppel Is —
6 Wed 31 Aug Yeppoon Percy Isles 105
7 Thurs 1 Sep Percy Isles MacKay 68
8 Fri 2 Sep MacKay Hook Is 67
9 Sat 3 Sep Hook Is Abel Point Marina 20


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 18 knots, but will be pushing it to do 25 knots 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.

Jetskis and RIB’s

We have had a number of enquiries from owners of PWC’s (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 PWC’s and smaller RIB’s and pontoon boats.

This will be Class 1A for PWC’s (all types and sizes) and Class 1B for RIB’s and pontoon boats over 5 metres.

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.

So if you are planning to enter and want to maximise your budget, get your entry in by Tuesday, 31st May 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 29th July.

To obtain a copy of the Regs and Entry Form, go to the web site or call or email the Event Office and we will send you them.

Call (03) 9867 6666 email: info(at)offshorechallenge.com.au

Offshore Challenge website