Race Distance

308 nautical miles.

The Courier Mail Cup

The winner of the Race on Corrected Time under the current recognised International Rating System (IRC) is awarded the Courier Mail Cup, one of the oldest perpetual trophies to be competed for on a continual basis in Australia since 1949.

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

EIGHT Saltash II (Ian and Bill Wright) 1986, 1992, 1993, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007
FIVE Norseman (A Wilson) 1951, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1956
FOUR Wistari (N Patrick) 1971, 1976, 1977, 1982
THREE Scampi A (R Perrins, C Loel) 1984, 1988, 2000
TWO Solo (Vic Meyer) 1958, 1959
  Leroy 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

NINE Jack Rooklyn (Apollo) 1973,1974,1978,1979, (Ballyhoo) 1975 (Maxi Apollo) 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985
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
FOUR Arthur Bloore (Hammer Of Queensland) 1988, 1991, 1996, 1998
  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: Three yachts named Black Jack have taken Line Honours eight times in total.

Fastest Yacht – Elapsed Time

Black Jack 100 (Peter Harburg)

2018 elapsed time: 16 hours 53 minutes 57 seconds

Average Speed: 18.23 knots


Skandia Wild Thing (Grant Wharington)

2004 elapsed 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 Wild Thing (Grant Wharington)

2004 elapsed 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 – Line Honours Elapsed Time

Alvis (Fred Markwell)

1957 elapsed time: 95hrs 09mins 01sec

Average speed: 3.24 knots

Slowest Yacht – Corrected Time

Kyeema (Colin Galbraith)

1950 corrected 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 were among the 1356 men women and children who set sail in the race.

Second largest fleet: 77 in 1985 (37th race)

Fourth largest fleet: 75 in 1984 (36th race)

Official Race Starter

In the history of the race, the Governor of Queensland has started the race eighteen times. Former Governor, the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, has started the the Race 6 times from 2015 to 2021 (excluding the cancelled event in 2020).

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

In 1972 the starter was Miss Australia – Miss Gay Walker.

Start Boat

South Pacific II (Ron Jenyns) has been the start boat 33 times, 30 of which were consecutive from 1984 to 2013


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.

In 2008 QCYC was the winner of the Queensland Tourism Award in the Festival and Events Category.

In 2009 the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race was, through an official governmental process commemorating 150 years of Queensland History, voted as one of the icons of Queensland.

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 19 yachts entering, 17 starting and only six 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 – Mrs V Wraight on Graphique, and Mrs E Sanderson, navigator on Sari Marais I.

The first NSW boat to be a Line Honours Winner was Kyeema, and the first steel hulled boat Southern Maid, competed.


The race starting line was transferred from Woody Point to Shorncliffe Jetty, where it remained until 1996. Due to draft constraints with the more modern yachts the Start Line was moved to accommodate 4mtr draft entrants.


The second 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 five other boats managing to finish from a fleet of 15.


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 Kintama (Russell George) who took 55 hours to complete the race, almost getting washed up at Bustard Head.


The first race where the 29 entrants competed under the International IOR Rating System, with the winner being Jim Hardy’s Nyamba.


Under the command of Commodore Frank Hunter and Race Director Ron Chapman, two additional Categories were added, namely Arbitrary and Cruising and this increased the fleet size considerably.


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.

1984, 1985, 1986

QTQ 9 televised the start live from 10.30am to midday Good Friday.


The RAAF Roulettes gave a great aerial display over the start area and followed this up with another great display of flying at Gladstone.

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 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 (2015/16) in succession. Solo (1958/59) was the first to achieve the double.


The start of the race was broadcast live, 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.


A great day on the bay leading up to the race start with a RAAF C-17 Globemaster giving a low level flypast over the start area.

Black Jack 100 (Owner: Peter Harburg Skipper: Mark Bradford) sets a new race record with an elapsed 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 with an elapsed time of 19hrs 36mins 42secs, which had stood for 14 years.


39 entrants faced the Starters Signal with a storm looming on the Eastern skyline.

Black Jack 100 leapt out of the start area on the Eastern end of the line and hit 22 knts boat speed before her whole length had crossed the Start Line.

Before the fleet had crossed the Bay from Redcliffe to Moreton Island some were dealing with 30 plus knts of wind with Ichi Ban losing her rig, leaving Envy Scooters to claim the Courier Mail Cup.

Black Jack 100 missed her record by about 2.5 minutes proving her record of 2018 was no fluke.


For the first time in the race history, as a result of the international COVID-19 Pandemic and in light of governmental advisories the 2020 race was cancelled. A Press Release explained the situation.


In January QCYC welcomes with excitement the engagement by Gladstone Ports Corporation as the new naming rights partner.  The Race will now be known as the Gladstone Ports Corporation Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race.

Again the ravages of Covid-19 were threatening to close the event just 5 days out.  Further what was shaping to be a healthy number of entrants (including a number of Super maxis from Sydney) was also buffeted by late withdrawals from southern state based entrants planning to race or sail their way to the start.  This was on account of heavy flooding throughout NSW and the risk of debris at sea plus the existing strain on NSW emergency services.

Despite the starting fleet being reduced to 35 entrants a magnificent and fast race emerged in what became challenging conditions.  Black Jack 100 was on course to smash her record only to sadly be dismasted within hours from the finish.  This allowed race debutant Maritimo (Owner: Bill Barry-Cotter; Skipper: Michael Spies) in 1 day 1 hr 7min 54s to take line honours with Mayfair in hot pursuit some 26min 18s behind.  However the “Fairy Tale” of the race emerged in Gladstone Harbour when Wistari crossed after gaining such momentum surfing the open waters doing what she was designed to do and win the “Courier-Mail Cup” as overall winner in a corrected time of 1 day, 6hrs 15min and 42s.  The overall win was her 5th and first for Scott Patrick as skipper, following his father (Noel’s) previous outstanding successes.