Bunbury and Return Ocean Race – since 1948

Save the date for the next event:

Saturday 12 February 2022. The 74th 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.

74th Bunbury and Return Ocean Race

Event information – available closer to the 2022 date

Yachts entered

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Race Tracking

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Race Results

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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.

Race results and tracking history
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