The Rudder Cup
In 1907, Thomas Fleming Day, editor of the American magazine "Rudder" wrote to his friend, the Commodore of the Geelong Yacht Club, T. A. Dickson, suggesting a race across Bass Strait to Tasmania in order to promote the sport of yachting. Day struck a trophy worth 60 guineas, a fortune at the time, as a prize for the winner.
More than 100 years later, yachts are still racing across Bass Strait for the honour of winning the Rudder Cup. The Rudder Cup is Australia's oldest ocean race and the 5th oldest organised ocean yacht race in the world, predating the Fastnet by nearly 20 years and the Sydney to Hobart race by nearly 4 decades.
The inaugural race was run from Port Phillip Heads to Low Head at the mouth of the Tamar River, a distance of 198 nautical miles. This first race was won by the 14.6m yawl Thistle skippered by Edgar Newland with a crew that included his wife and daughter. Conditions were reported to be very rough, so much so that Mrs. Newland refused to relinquish the Rudder Cup so as to dissuade other yachtsmen from attempting such a dangerous race.
This original trophy came to light again in the 1960's when it was presented by Edgar Newland's son to the then Cruising Yacht Club of Victoria, now the ORCV, to be used again for the dash across Bass Strait. Today, the trophy is presented to the winner of the annual post-Christmas dash across the paddock (Bass Strait) race.
Melbourne to Devonport Ocean Yacht Race
|Ocean Race distance:||195 natical miles|
|Start Time:||1430 AEDT|
|Start Date:||Wednesday 27 December, 2017|
|Race Record:||19h 32m 56s by PROWLER in 1998|
Devonport is our new destination for the post-Christmas dash across the paddock (Bass Strait) this year and Mersey Yacht Club have kindly offered to host the fleet. Devonport has been a popular destination for ORCV in past years and it will be exciting to visit again! This race forms the offshore race for the 3 race Bass Strait Series which includes the Cock of the Bay and MYC Top of the Island Race.
The 195nm Devonport race starts off Portsea, proceeds across Bass Strait to the finish line at the entrance of the Mersey River. Finishing yachts may then proceed up the Mersey to the marina at the Mersey Yacht Club for the final race in the Bass Strait Series and the post race hospitality.
Melbourne to Launceston Ocean Yacht Race
|Ocean Race distance:||198 natical miles|
|Race Record:||18h 44m 05s by GUSTO in 2012|
In previous years the destination for post-Christmas dash across the Bass Strait has been Launceston.
The 198nm Launceston Race starts from Portsea, proceeds across Bass Strait to the finish line off Low Head at the entrance to the Tamar River. Finishing yachts may then proceed up the Tamar to the marina at Beauty Point for the final race in the series and the post race hospitality and prize giving dinner conducted by the Tamar Yacht Club.