56th Annual Marlay Point Overnight Race

56th Annual Marlay Point Overnight Race

The Marlay Point overnight race is an institution for many people. This year it is being held on March 9 and 10. As the race moves into its 56th year in 2024, there are people who have participated every year, and families that have participated as multi-generations. It’s not unusual to hear, “my dad took me” when people are asked when they first sailed in the race.

The Marlay Point overnight race is open to all mono-hull, multi-hull and sports trailable yachts. Participants travel from interstate each year to participate. It is the only overnight race for trailer sailors in Australia and is on the must-do bucket list for many.

The race originated with the Lake Wellington Yacht Club and in more recent years has been hosted combined by Gippsland Lakes Yacht Club and Lake Wellington Yacht Club. The race originally began at Marlay Point and traversed the lakes to Metung, but in this century the finishing point has been Paynesville.

Since the race began in 1969, about 4000 yachts have participated, and more than 11,000 sailors have sailed in the Marlay Point overnight race. This year, 100-140 yachts are expected to participate. It is one of the few races that are started using flares, fired into the sky at sunset on Saturday, March 9.

The starting line is at Marlay Point at sunset, and the course takes sailors across broad lakes and through narrow straits, all under the cover of darkness, adding its own challenges and excitement.

For many sailors, especially those with multi-generations of family aboard for 12-24 hours, the race is an ideal bonding experience.

 Marlay Point Overnight Race © MPOR

The finish time for each class of yacht is always weather and wind dependent. Boats are expected to begin arriving into Paynesville from dawn on Sunday, March 10. The official finish time is 4pm on Sunday.

As yachts sail past Montague Point and into Paynesville, it is quite a sight. Spinnakers are encouraged, and these sails add to the colour and spectacle of the race. The shore or boat based audience will be able to observe yachts arriving throughout Sunday.

A cooked breakfast will be available at the Gippsland Lakes Yacht Club at Paynesville from 7am. Locals and visitors are all welcome to share a meal with sailors and hear their high tales about sailing the course.

GLYC committee will open the bar from 3pm, with musical entertainment. A presentation evening will be held later in the day.

Find out more at mponr.com

by Jeanette Severs

Source: https://yachtboatnews.com/56th-annual-marlay-point-overnight-race/

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