Competitors take on Bass Strait in the Australian Offshore Challenge, 2007.
Australian Offshore Challenge, to be held in Queensland, have had to expand the number and description of classes to cater for the broad mix of vessel types, sizes, power and configuration. They are expecting to see entries from a number of manufacturers of plate alloy offshore fishing craft, at least three over 50’ luxury cruisers, manufacturers and private owners of fibreglass sports cruisers, and at least two US imported offshore performance boats. One Queensland manufacturer is preparing a custom spec’d rig especially for the event and a wide variety of private entries will be coming from WA to Tassy to Queensland.
Rigid Inflatable Boats
In addition to more 'conventional' craft, the event office has received a strong level of enquiry from importers and owners of RIB’s (sorry, RHIB’s!). Clearly this event is an ideal testing ground for these high performance speciality craft. At this stage, it is not proposed to open a separate class for RIB’s. However, if the interest is there and enough entries are received, the organising committee will consider categorising these craft in a dedicated RIB category – again by length and horse power sub divisions.
If you are a RIB importer or owner and would like to compete in a special RIB category, then contact the event office now.
At this stage the program of event is still in outline form only. Over April and May the course design team will survey the proposed course and schedule – both the on-water competitive stages and the on-land overnight stopovers.
Each overnight stopover will be finally selected for its suitability to support the berthing, refuelling and general provisioning of up to 50 boats and boat crews.
However, in general terms, the proposed course will run from Southport or Coomera starting on Sunday September 7th and finish at Airlie Beach one week later.
The following Course schedule will give crews a guide in terms of day stages and overnight stopovers. Note that the distances between stopovers are not straight line distances as the event will take you on a varied and interesting course through many islands and other places of interest along the Great Barrier Reef.
You can expect some challenging navigation and a lot of spectacular scenery with each day offering a unique and different experience through one of the world’s most beautiful coastal passages.
Being a navigational rally, the actual course to be followed will remain a secret until the start of each day. At the daily crew briefing, the day’s course instructions will be issued – one copy to each navigator. To successfully complete the day without loss of points, each competitor must plot and then follow the set course exactly. Points will be lost for arriving early or late at a checkpoint (for average speed stages), or for missing a passage control checkpoint.
For each racing stage (and there will be at least one racing stage each day), the time taken to complete the stage will determine the placings and thus the points position for each competitor.
An Event for Everyone
Several people have asked about entering a ‘slow’ boat. That is: 'Will my boat be able to compete against the big budget, factory teams – I’m only a privateer and my boat is not a racer.'
The answer is Yes, you will. The scoring system will of course, favour the best performer, but as the event is not a pure race, but a 'navigational adventure', the main focus is in making sure everyone is able to compete on their own terms and reach the end satisfied with their experience.
Under no circumstances, will a ‘slow’ boat be left behind or not be in contention for a navigational award. Our experience with these events is that the fastest boat is not always the winner when careful and accurate navigation plays such an important part of the day’s agenda.
So don’t be put off if you are not a big budget entry – the event is very much for you too.
Preparing for the Event
The team designing the event are very aware that the 800 nautical mile Australian Offshore Challenge is not your everyday boating picnic or Sunday afternoon cruise, and that to take this on requires careful preparation and planning. And this includes being prepared for the demands and safety issues that this event requires.
Tel: (03) 9867 6666
www.powerboat-world.com will be providing full coverage of the event.