Bunbury and Return Ocean Race – since 1948

Saturday 11 February 2023:

Saturday 11 February 2023. The 75th Bunbury and Return Ocean Race will start at 9am off Port Beach in North Fremantle and take the fleet out to sea before heading south to Bunbury and return.
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.
The current race record is held by Indian (C.Carter) from the 2016 race – 17h 42m 09s

75th Bunbury and Return Ocean Race

Results and media

Race Tracking

Competitor Information

Event Schedule:


  • 1700 – Race entry closes.


  • rescheduled
  • 1830 – Welcome, Race and Weather Briefing.
  • To be held at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club.


  • 0900 – Race start off Port Beach in North Fremantle.


  • 1800 – 46th Farrawa Cup Series Presentation Evening.
  • Includes race presentation for the 75th Bunbury and Return Ocean Race.

2023 Race Information:

Click to enter

Race Entry

Click to go to the ORWA race entry page
Click to enter
Click to view

Entry List

Click to go to the list of yachts entered
Click to view

Ocean Racing WA Season Handbook

Click to view the current edition
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