Bunbury and Return Ocean Race – since 1948

Passage race – 170 nautical miles of blue water racing from Fremantle to Bunbury and Return.
In partner with Koombana Bay Sailing Club, Bunbury.

The race is part of the Farrawa Cup Series, Ocean Racing WA Blue Water Series and Ocean Racing WA Siska Series.

The Bunbury and Return Ocean Race is not the longest race in Western Australia but it is the oldest and holds a special place on the ocean racing calendar in the State.

It began in 1948 with a bold venture to sail for 100 ocean miles, overnight down a featureless unlit coast.

An idea by Keith Stevenson, owner of the beautiful Sunset Class yacht Maid Marion, spurred on by the enthusiasm of Cyril Sampson (then Commodore) and Roland Smith who were both motivated by the 1945 inauguration of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, the Club resolved that an ocean race to Bunbury be organised. An open invitation to all Clubs was sent.

Fifteen yachts entered in the inaugural race which began on 24 February 1948. The start line was inside Fremantle Harbour, opposite ‘B’ Shed on Victoria Quay with the race to begin anytime after sunset when officials decided weather conditions were favourable (that is when the land based easterly had begun). Well wishes cheered as the race started at 1am on the 25th. The course was to Bell and Fairway Buoys, around Rottnest Island to Port, lit by its two lighthouses, then south to Bunbury. Maid Marion was the first to arrive in 23 hrs, 29 mins. From 1949 onwards it became the Bunbury and Return Ocean Race.

73rd Bunbury and Return Ocean Race

Friday 12 February 2021

Yachts entered

Race Tracking

Race Results

Event Schedule:


  • 0700 For teams berthing at FSC, Galley open for breakfast and coffee.
  • 0925 North Cottesloe, first warning signal for up to two windward/leeward races (IRC only).
  • Midday (not before) North Cottesloe, first warning signal for Dolphin Race, passage to Rockingham (IRC & PHS)
  • Ferry service moorings to shore from when boats arrive in Rockingham until 1730.
  • 1630 TCYC Galley opens for food.
  • 1800 Presentations at TCYC.
  • Ferry service continues after presentation until around 2030-2100, confirm requirements with ferry drivers at TCYC.
  • 1830 TCYC dinner available from the galley, live music, socialise at the Club.


  • 0630 to 0830 TCYC Buffet breakfast.
  • Ferry service from around 0600 until teams have returned to their boats for racing.
  • 0925 Cockburn Sound, first warning signal for up to two windward/leeward races (IRC only).
  • Midday (not before) Cockburn Sound, first warning signal for Gordon Craig Ocean Race, passage to Fremantle (IRC & PHS)


  • 1830 presentations at RFBYC, Members’ Bar (all competitors and supporters welcome).
  • Presentation includes lucky draw for IRC Youth Cup sailors, please ensure they come along.

2021 Race Information:


Ocean Racing WA Season Handbook

Click to view the 2020-2021 edition

Race History

The first race for the Gordon Craig took place in 1949 and the Dolphin Race in 1953. Over the last 60 years these races have been made up of a number of different course formats from windward-leeward racing to short passage races. In the last few years the course has taken yachts from Fremantle to Rockingham for an overnight stay at TCYC and then Rockingham back to Fremantle on the Sunday.

The Bill Schulstad Memorial Trophies

These trophies will be awarded to the boats in Divisions 1, 2 and 3 with the best aggregate IRC corrected time for both races (Dolphin Race / Gordon Craig Ocean Race). Bill Schulstad was a long serving member of The Cruising Yacht Club and instrumental in the famous Cockburn Sound Regattas that dominated the offshore sailing season for many years. Bill was also deeply involved in te administration of yachting through YWA and was a life member of that organisation.