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, currently to Devonport.

Melbourne to Devonport Ocean Yacht Race

Melbourne to Devonport Ocean Yacht Race

Ocean Race distance:  195 nautical miles 
Safety Category: 2
Start Location: Portsea
Start Time:  1430 AEDT
Start Date: Thursday 27 December, 2019
Race Record: 19h 32m 56s by PROWLER in 1998

Devonport is our current destination for the post-Christmas dash across the paddock (Bass Strait) with Mersey Yacht Club kindly offering to host the fleet. Devonport has been a popular destination for ORCV in past years and is a great place to visit again.

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.  For a short time in early 2000's the race ran to Launceston (as indicated below).

Race Documents

Race History

 Year  IRC  AMS  PHS  Line DHD
2019 ((Devonport) Afrayed Knot (R6620) Tevake II (H101) Tevake II (H101) Tevake II (H101) Under Capricorn (B120)
2018 (Devonport) Merlion (H8118) Mersea (B455) Wingara (SB47 Dream (SM8)  Under Capricorn (B120)
2017 (Devonport) White Noise (Sm3535) Summer Wind (B237) Summer Wind (B237) Dream (Sm8)  
2016 (Devonport) White Noise (Sm3535) Summer Wind (B237) Magique (9567) Soiree Bleu (R34)  
2015 (Devonport) White Noise (Sm3535) White Noise (Sm3535) White Noise (Sm3535) Peccadillo (V48)  Halcyon (R75)
2014 (Devonport) White Noise (Sm3535) Hush (Sm5508) Hush (Sm5508) Gusto (B660)  
2013 (Launceston) Simply Fun (Sm42) Streetcar (B3200) Streetcar (B3200) Simply Fun (Sm42)  
2012 (Launceston) No Fearr (B3) The Secretary (6107) The Secretary (6107) Gusto (B660)  
2011 (Launceston) DeJa Vu (R166) DeJa Vu (R166) DeJa Vu (R166) Arch Rival (S415)  
2010 (Launceston) Seven (Sm1777) Seven (Sm1777) White Noise (Sm3535) Ninety Seven (B9797)  
2009 (Launceston) Akatea (G8710) Caledonia (B818) Caledonia (B818) Extasea (G4646R  
2008 (Launceston)  The Secretary (6107)  Turbo (H602)  Turbo (H602)  Turbo (H602)  


Melbourne to Launceston Ocean Yacht Race

Ocean Race distance:  198 nautical miles 
Safety Category: 2
Start Location: Portsea
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 started from Portsea, proceeding across Bass Strait to the finish line off Low Head at the entrance to the Tamar River. Finishing yachts then proceeded 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.