Roland Smith Ocean Race – relaunched in 2015

Saturday 20 April 2024:

To coincide with Keelboat Closing Day at RFBYC the race will start at 9am on Saturday 20 April.  RFBYC will be selecting one of the new Ocean Racing WA standard courses for this coastal day race. 

The race is part of the Farrawa Cup Series, Ocean Racing WA Short Haul Series and Ocean Racing WA Siska Series.
In 2015, the Roland Smith Ocean Race returned to the offshore racing calendar with a 80 nautical mile passage race from Perth to Mandurah and return. The race was named in honour of Roland Smith who was Commodore in the 1930’s and 40’s. He was part of the group of Club members who began long haul ocean racing in WA with the Bunbury in 1948 and he chartered much of Rottnest Island with his launch Pollyanna, allowing safe passage for mariners to this day. There is a memorial dedicated to him at Narrow Neck.

For 2020 the race was changed due to increased safety requirements on teams for the course area but the race was not held due to the global pandemic. In 2021 the race began off North Cottesloe. The fleet raced along the Perth coastline, out to Rottnest Island and north as far as Hillarys, finishing off South Mole in Fremantle.


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Race Information for Competitors

Supplementary Sailing Instructions, click the button to download and view.
The SSI document includes three course options, ORWA Course 1, 4 or 6 will be used.
Click to view the 2023-2024 edition
The ORWA standard courses will be used. The Race Officer will select one on the day from the following three courses:
  • ORWA Course One
  • ORWA Course Four
  • ORWA Course Six
Competitors will be advised of the course and whether any short course will be used at the warning signal for the race. 

Extract of the NoR, SIs and race notice from the ORWA Season Handbook

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Race History
The Roland Smith Race was initially a 29 nautical mile event raced in Cockburn Sound. Combined with the Gordon Craig Race it was part of what is now the Rockingham Race Regatta. When the short course racing off Leighton Beach (Dolphin and John Russell Races) wound up in 2013 the Dolphin Race took over its place in the Rockingham weekend. In 2015 the race re-launched as a shorter blue water return race and rounded Rottnest Island. From 2020 the course was shortened to a coastal day race and brought inside Rottnest Island to reduce the safety requirements on the fleet.