King Island - fantastic destination for an ocean yacht race is now open to yachts without HF marine radio.  Top things to do when visiting King Island.

2021 M2KI boatsinharbourThe ORCV is always keen to explore the latest technologies and has been a long campaigner for reducing barriers to ocean racing and sailing.  For the 2017 Melbourne to King Island Category 2 ocean race, the ORCV have again received approval from Yachting Victoria for yachts to use satellite phone and VHF with DSC in lieu of HF marine radio.  Cost savings will be several thousand dollars for any yachts new to sailing to this wonderful destination.  The Notice of Race will have more details on Eligibility.  If you need any assistance with Safety compliance for a Category 2 event, the ORCV has ocean racing mentors at all major keel boat yacht clubs that would be happy to assist.

The annual Melbourne to King Island ocean yacht race, conducted on the Labour day long weekend in March, is one of the ORCV's shorter ocean races, at 114 nautical miles.  In addition to attracting some seasoned ocean racing campaigners, many use this as one of their first ocean races before progressing onto longer voyages.   

All ORCV events receive fantastic support from our Finish destination hosts, and the legendary hospitality and assistance crews enjoy from the King Island Boat Club at Grassy, is no exception.  Our great friends at the King Island Boat Club will again have volunteers on hand 24/7 to escort yachts into the Grassy Harbour and assist with mooring, no matter what time of the day or night you arrive.  Other volunteers work hard in shifts around the clock on their BBQs serving the famous King Island Steak sandwiches, and behind the bar.  Nothing is too much trouble, from arranging local dignitaries to attend the race presentation to transport arrangements around King Island.

So you have arrived in Grassy Harbour after the ORCV's 114 nautical mile Melbourne to King Island yacht race. What next?

First order of business for most is to kick back and relax at the King Island Boat Club at Grassy Harbour to quench a well earned thirst from a Bass Strait crossing.  Their famous King Island Steak Sandwiches are well worth the trip and have been known be enjoyed by some vegetarians amongst the crews.  To wash off any Bass Strait salt, unique bathroom facilities are provided by the King Island Boat Club.  Water tanks have been repurposed to create a circular shower block.  They also provide King Island country style cooked breakfast.

Before the dash back to Port Phillip Heads the next day, here a list of some of the Top things to do at King Island:

The timing of Race presentation at the King Island Boat Club will depend largely on the weather and all yachts will be notified well in advance.

2013 Grassy PenguinsTake a short stroll along the breakwater and say hello to the ORCV Race Management Team located in the radio van which will be parked near the end of the breakwater in Grassy Harbour.  Be careful not to trip over the flotilla of fairy penguins that come ashore at dusk each night to rest in their burrows along the breakwater.

2012_M2KI_cheeseThere is lots of great things to eat on King Island and none more so than a selection of dairy products from the King Island Dairy. The King Island Boat Club has again organised a range of ‘Cheese Bags’  that can be purchased at the club. They include delicacies ranging  from wonderfully ripe King Island brie to the delicately flavoured cinnamon King Island yoghurt.  These goodies usually don’t last longer than the first ‘happy hour’  onboard on the return trip – so why not buy two bags - one to enjoy with your friends when you get home! 

King Island also has a great reputation for producing Australian s premium natural beef.  A number of  packs of King Island Beef, either scotch fillet or porterhouse steak, will be available for purchase at the boat club. The packs are "cryovaced" so they travel well onboard and if allowed to age make sensational eating.  Many of these packs never make it back as far as the "Heads".  If the weather is fine the temptation to enjoy a large juicy steak on a leisurely cruise back to Port Phillip Bay overcomes many crews.

If you are still feeling hungry – catch a lift over to Currie on the West side of the King Island to the wonderful King Island Bakehouse.   The Bakehouse has an extensive range of gorgeous gourmet food, including their award winning crayfish pies.  These pies are well worth the trek as they are packed full of delicious fresh King Island crayfish wrapped up in a buttery pastry shell. Eat in or takeaway. Open daily 7am-5pm. Phone: 6462 1337

2012_M2KI_crayfishIf you want more than just a taste of King Island crayfish why not purchase a whole cray to take back home. Foodworks, in Currie normally sell crayfish over the long weekend.  It is advisable to place orders at least 24 hours in advance. The crayfish will be priced at the market rate on the day. Call 6462 1144 or visit Foodworks on King Island.

If the sailing has not been punishing enough how about  an additional physical challenge on Sunday morning.  You could enter the King Island Imperial 20 - the only coast to coast footrace in Australia.  The King Island Imperial 20 has an event for everyone.  The main feature is a challenging 32km run. For the not so energetic there are support events which include a 8km run and 32km and 8km walking race and Teams Running and Walking events. This is not just another run... be prepared to indulge in the truly unique King Island lifestyle, generous hospitality and incredible food.  

King Island is one of Australia’s undiscovered island retreats. Wildly rugged, windswept and attractive, it boasts over 145km of untouched coastline. To  experience this rugged coastline and breathe in the freshest air in the world  - and perhaps take a dip in the water - a visit to the Lavinia State Reserve located on the north east coast of the island is not to be missed.  The reserve was named after the 52 ton schooner Martha Lavinia that, in 1871 travelling from Tasmania to Adelaide struck a reef offshore near the Reserve.  Within the northern section of this reserve lies  Lavinia Beach and two fresh water lakes: Lake Martha Lavinia and Penny’s Lagoon. With white sand seeming to stretch forever and a world  class surf break Lavinia Beach is one of the most popular surfing and fishing locations on the island.  Penny’s Lagoon is a rare perched lake found in only three locations in the world. It’s freshwater is held by compacted sand and organic matter. The lagoon is a favourite swimming spot for locals and visitors. 

CapeWickham 14th Hole XA1No trip to King Island is complete for a sailor without seeing the famous Cape Wickham Lighthouse from a landlubbers perspective. Situated at the northern tip of the island and surrounded by the Cape Wickham State Reserve, the lighthouse stands 52 meters above sea level and is the tallest in Australia. The lighthouse was constructed in 1861 and still guards the entrance to the strait today. Also within the reserve are the gravesites of some of the crew of Loch Leven, a ship that was wrecked nearby. A cairn shows a map of the old Victoria Cove settlement that used to exist here, and interpretation boards tell the story of numerous wrecks in the area.

If you are after a more leisurely sightseeing  activity closer to Grassy a visit  to the Calcified Forest in the Seal Rocks State Reserve located in the south-west of the island might be on your agenda.  An easy 30 minute walk from the reserve car park takes you to the fascinating calcified forest, where you can view the 700 year old calcified root systems of an ancient forest. Look out for Bennets wallabies, echidnas, blue tongue lizards and an abundance of bird life along the way.

Some other activities to do if you are staying longer than the weekend. The island is also famous for kelp harvesting and the best place to view the workers harvesting the kelp is on the west coast of the island directly out front of the Golf Club. You can also visit the Kelp Industries Visitors Center located at 89 Netherby Road Currie during a normal working day to  find out more information about the harvest and view a collection of photographs.

2012_m2KI_kelpharvestThe spectacular new Cape Wickham Golf Links has a world Ranking of #24 by Golf Digest.  The scenery is breathtaking.  It offers a rare and dramatic mix of coastal holes, with some leaning gently toward the ocean, others set atop a rocky headland.  The 11th almost “in” the sea and the 18th built directly above the beautiful beach at Victoria Cove.  Few courses interface with the ocean quite like Cape Wickham Links.

See the King Island Tourism Incorporated website for more tourist information.











Soon after the start of the recent King Island race, two boats did not comply with the Sailing Instructions to keep west of the defined Bay Exit course designed to ensure that we do not interfere with any large ships traversing the Heads. AIS data, visible to race management, and also the Port of Melbourne, clearly showed the two boats east of the required course.

Race management protested the boats involved and while all parties agreed on the facts found, the protest committee dismissed the protest due to a procedural technicality. Looking forward, all entrants in the ORCV ocean races can be assured that race management is carefully watching the passages of yachts in the Head region, using AIS and tracker data and input from our Coast Guard start boat and will diligently protest any yachts not complying with the Bay Exit requirements.

What will the Weather bring to this year’s King Island Race?

I am not sure why the Sydney-siders have been lending us their weather for the last few weeks but it makes it harder to predict what is going to happen. The reason we are having Sydney weather is that the center of the high pressure belt has moved well south of Tasmania, which is unusual for this time of the year.

In looking at the weather maps you can see from the 08:00 weather map to the 11:00 weather map the system is moving quickly so it should bring wind. All models are now in agreement that southerlies will prevail on the course for the duration of the event. The big issue for the fleet is in the early part of the race as the wind will be light and variable so it could be a struggle to get away from the heads.

Looking at the Predict wind model the Canadian and the American models are in agreement so I would have a reasonable level of confidence with a finishing time of sunset for a Beneteau First 40. The really hard tactical decision for the fleet is East or West of the Rhumbline in the early light wind stages of the race. So Tacticians should be watching the weather like a hawk  today as that early decision is going to determine whether it’s  Chocolates or boiled lollies.

Happy and safe sailing  



Predictwind summary



Looking At The Long Range Forecast We Might Need To Delay The Band!

The weather for this weekend's King Island Race is looking very interesting. The long range outlook is for light winds and smooth seas. The Predictwind model for a Beneteau First 40 has the journey taking 25 to 32 hours. As the race is over  4 days away a lot can happen between now and then of course but maybe start to think about light wind race strategies. Additionally, since the weather models are not in agreement the reliability of the forecast is low. Forcast Map




Predictwind summary

2016 King Island Race

Join us for our first ORCV Ocean Race in 2016 - the famous Melbourne to King Island Race.

To be conducted over the Labour Day long weekend in March (March 11-12), this Category 2 race will see the fleet head off from Queenscliff, out through the heads and across Bass Strait to the finish at Grassy Harbour, King Island, Tasmania.

While the 114 nautical mile hit out across the Paddock is one of the shorter ORCV ocean races, it’s not without challenges, with wind and tidal influences keeping everyone on their toes until the very end. After a record breaking win by Primitive Cool in 2014, in just 9 hours, 50 minutes & 21 seconds, the pace has well and truly been set.

The ORCV has got dispensation from Yachting Victoria to allow yachts to compete in the King Island race, substituting HF with a satellite phone. So all you sailors out there without a HF let us know if you are interested in competing as we have many volunteers who will help you get to Category 2. We should be able to arrange that you can hire or borrow some of the more expensive items that you need to reach Cat 2. So get in touch with us via email, Facebook or call the office and we will get all sorted.

For all the boats and crews that completed the very successful ORCV Beyond the Bay programs in 2014 and 2015, the King Island race presents a fantastic opportunity to put those new found ocean skills into practice. As for the more seasoned ocean going boats and crews who know this race well, the ORCV looks forward to welcoming you all back for the legendary hospitality of the King Island Boat Club. This race has it all - socialising, having fun, competition and great sailing. And, don’t even kid yourself that you’ll stop at one steak sandwich, oh, and did we mention the take home cheese bags from the King Island dairy and the famous King Island beef packs? You know you want to..

Don't forget King Island sailors - King Island no has two world famous golf courses, so you might want to stay after the race for a game!

Melbourne to King Island Notice of Race has now been published. Entries will be open soon - watch this space!

The Notice of Race is available here.