Milang to Goolwa Freshwater Classic

After an absence of five years because of drought and the associated record low water levels, the Milang to Goolwa Freshwater Classic, SA, was back with a vengeance earlier this year.

The return of the 50km race in late January marked the 42nd running of the event and attracted a fleet of 194. The event takes participants from Milang, where sailors stay en masse on Saturday night, across the often wind-swept Lake Alexandrina on Sunday. Fastest boat home in the light conditions was Julian Newton’s Elliott 7.8 Game Over from the Cruising Yacht Club at North Haven in an elapsed time of just over five hours.

This year was everything organisers could have hoped for, except perhaps a little more breeze. Boats of all shapes and sizes -- including several entries from Victoria and one from Darwin Sailing Club -- faced the starter on the Sunday, culminating several days of water and shore-based festivities and the very first Goolwa Regatta Week, which was organised as a celebration to mark the return of the race.

According to the Goolwa Regatta Yacht Club, the return of what is easily their biggest and most publicised event of the year has been great for the whole region.

“There’s a whole new, positive feel about at the club now that water levels are back to normal and members and boats are returning,” said Club Commodore, Don Richardson.

“We’re very pleased to report that club membership has returned to the level it was pre-drought and on the water there’s plenty of participation and enthusiasm in our race program.”

Richardson predicts next year’s event may well re-write the record books for race entries as it will fall on the Sunday of the Australia Day weekend.

-- Peter Muirhead

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