Finniss River Vineyard and Coorong Quays Hindmarsh Island presents 2019 Milang - Goolwa Freshwater Classic
The iconic race, 50 kilometres from Milang across Lake Alexandrina to Pt. Sturt and down the River Murray past Clayton to the river port of Goolwa.
How It All Began
Once upon a time there were two old salts who constantly argued as to who had the fastest boat on the river. The two were colourful characters; the late Bill Appleby and the late Bill Ballard and their yachts Esther and Edith. To settle the argument a decent race was planned and sailed on 27th December 1966. The course was from Goolwa to Milang and it was destined to become Australia’s biggest freshwater race.The two yachts were very evenly matched in those days and in the first three (years) races the biggest winning margin was three and a half minutes and the closest 12 seconds. Esther won the first two races and Edith won the third. From this point in yachting history other boats joined in to firmly establish the race as a yachting classic. With an emphasis on the safety of competitors, the Goolwa Regatta Yacht Club adopted the running of the race in 1974. The event is held in late January and is sailed in 8 divisions.It is conducted with the support of the club rescue fleet, the Victor Harbor & Goolwa Sea Rescue Squadron, the Police and other emergency organisations.
The racing committee led by the Vice Commodore has developed a very thoroughly researched handicap system for the local waters of Goolwa and the lakes. Due to the unique conditions of shallow inland waterways the standard handicap calculations which have been developed for ocean conditions are not an accurate reflection of performance in the Lower Murray Lakes. CBH and Yardstick values developed by GRYC for local conditions may differ from State and National figures.
Full racing facilities are provided by the GRYC including Official Start Boat, crewed by experienced race administrators, Finish Line Officials and a fleet of rescue boats stationed along the course.
Recent years have seen competitor numbers of up to 250, with the Trailer Sailer classes providing the majority of the boats but with strong representation in the River Boat, Catamaran, and Dinghy classes.
With 250 boats on the water, as many as 800 sailors will compete, and they and their friends will enjoy the festivities at Milang on the eve of the race and in Goolwa at the completion of the race.
Competition ages vary from teenagers to over 60 years of age, most of whom come from various parts of South Australia.
Club officers are suitably qualified to manage an event of this size. The combined yacht racing experience of the committee includes administration of National Championship events, Olympic qualifying events etc. The event is supported by Yachting Australia and Yachting South Australia.
Safety of competitors is of paramount concern to Club officials. The race is controlled by the Race Director whose responsibilities include monitoring the prevailing weather conditions and deciding whether or not to start each of the divisions.
Safety is enhanced by:
- Mandatory PFD ( personal flotation device )to be worn by all competitors for the duration of the Race.
- Detailed race instructions and course notes posted to each competitor.
- Utilisation of a large fleet of rescue craft stationed strategically along the course.
- Liaison throughout the race with Sea Rescue and Police.