The iconic Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race (B2G), which draws tens of thousands of spectators to Redcliffe’s Festival of Sails, will be back this year - with its future assured.
Queensland Cruising Yacht Club (QCYC) has confirmed the historic race will start at 11am on Good Friday (April 2) with a new sponsor securing the ‘viability’ of the event.
Gladstone Ports Corporation has signed a partnership with QCYC for long-term naming or title rights to a race second in stature only to the Sydney to Hobart.
Last year saw the first cancellation in 73 years of the B2G which starts off Shorncliffe Jetty, and initially follows the coastline of the Moreton Bay Region.
Sponsorship from Gladstone Ports Corporation will now see the event, which began in 1949 from Woody Point, through to the milestone 75th race.
“After the rigours of COVID-19 in 2020, resulting in the loss of major sponsorship and subsequently the cancellation of our great ocean race, it is especially rewarding for my hard-working team of volunteers to see this wonderful partnership formed, providing security and certainty for the future of the race for the term of the agreement,” says Ian Gidlow, Commodore of the QCYC.
Shane Newcombe, the CEO of Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism (MBRIT), is delighted with the announcement.
“This is wonderful news for the race and the thousands upon thousands of people who love watching it from the Redcliffe Festival of Sails,” he says.
“Not only is the race an amazing spectacle, it’s an important part of our region’s calendar and we are thrilled to see it back.”
Acting CEO of the Gladstone Ports Corporation, Craig Walker is delighted the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race is back on the calendar in 2021.
“The Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) is honoured to partner with such an important and iconic event for the entire region and the state.” said Mr Walker.
“We have a long history of supporting the community and we are excited to play a role in ensuring the viability and continuance of this treasured and historic Queensland race.”
B2G Race Director Karen Somerville adds: “This generous partnership with Gladstone Ports Corporation provides financial certainty for the race and now our B2G team can move to ensure delivery of a very special event from 11 am this Good Friday and into the future.”
Gladstone Ports Corporation has supported the race for years helping set-up a temporary pontoon for yacht arrivals and giving complimentary berths in the marina for all yachts.
The Corporation also hosts and supports the Gladstone Harbour Festival and B2G Village.
The first race saw seven vessels start from Redcliffe during Easter 1949, six of which completed the race.
Only two yachts carried radios while the others held homing pigeons that were to be released twice a day for position reporting.
The first person to finish the race in 1949 was Doug Perrins on the bow of Hoana with an elapsed time of 47 hrs 08mins 25secs which stood until 1955.
In its second year, the B2GYR saw 20 yachts with the first women to compete. In 1955, the starting line was transferred from Woody Point to Sandgate.
In 1959, 15 yachts battled heavy conditions, resulting in a collision that saw an entrant run aground on the northern end of Bribie Island.
There were no injuries and the yacht was re-floated, however, only four boats managed to finish the race.
Bad weather hit again in 1972 with Cyclone Emily forcing 20 out of 25 yachts to retire. Winds reached up to 96 knots and the five that finished were from New South Wales and Victoria.
In 1983 Di Hard (Bruce Tardrew) became the first international entrant to win.
The Golden Anniversary Race saw a record-breaking 196 keel yachts participate, adding up to 1356 men, women and children who set sail including four sailors from the inaugural race.