THE 50th anniversary Marlay Point Overnight Race will take place this weekend with the strongest fleet in more than 20 years.
Entry numbers have passed 220, making it one of Australia’s largest yachting events this year.
Boats and crews are coming from Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT, Tasmania, Western Australia and all over Victoria to compete, with 90 different kinds of boats representing in what is considered the Sydney-Hobart of trailer sailer racing.
The competition will be fierce among some classes, with 28 Noelex 25 and 15 Castle 650 entered. More than 75 entries will be doing the iconic overnight race for the first time, proving the Marlay Point is still on every trailer sailor’s bucket list.
Some unique groups have come together to contest the race, including sea scout and school groups, and several families will race together.
Bill Shand and Alan Hill will be competing to commemorate their ongoing participation in this historic race. Shand took out line honours in the very first race on his Flying Fifteen, and Hill is racing to honour his late father Reg, who took the overall win in the first race in his Hartley TS16.
The race originally sailed from Marlay Point to Metung. These days, it finishes at Paynesville.
The race starts at sunset tomorrow and finishes Sunday, making it unique in the sailing world as competitors race throughout the night. Some divisions have to round Raymond Island to complete the race, creating an extra challenge often for many.
It will be a weekend of nostalgia for many who are returning to race, and a weekend of adventure for those doing it for the first time.
Windy or calm, everyone who does the Marlay Point agrees that it is a huge challenge involving great concentration and excellent navigational skills.
There will be a family fun day on Saturday from 11am to 7pm at the Marlay Point Reserve for locals to celebrate the 50-year milestone with crews, family and friends.
To enter the race or for more information about the 50th celebrations, visit www.mponr.com.au.