Melbourne to Devonport Race - The Rudder Cup

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Ocean Race distance:  195 nautical miles 
Safety Category: 2
Start Location: Portsea
Start Time:  16:00 AEDT 
Start Date: 28 October 2022
Race Record: 19h 32m 56s by PROWLER in 1998


Devonport Race MapThis year, the Melbourne to Devonport, The Rudder Cup as Australia's oldest ocean race will be honoured as the ORCV race that runs on the "Melbourne Cup" long weekend.  With a start off Queenscliff, the fleet will race to Devonport to be greeted and kindly hosted by the Mersey Yacht Club.

The Devonport race is a qualifying event for the 50th Melbourne to Hobart "Westcoaster" and is expected to attract another large fleet. Devonport has always been a popular destination for ORCV 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.  

The Rudder Cup is part of the ORCV Offshore Championship and is open to yachts fully crewed, 4+autohelm and double handed.

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

Entry and Documents

Race Documents, Click here
Online Entry and Update Entry, Click here
Yachts Entered, Click here

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.  The race continued using alternative trophies including the Doc Bennel Perpetual Trophy funded by the Royal St Kilda Yacht Club.

In 1968, the original Rudder Cup trophy again came to light and was presented to the Cruising Yacht Club of Victoria, now known as the ORCV, by Edgar Newland’s son. The Rudder Cup Perpetual Trophy is awarded to the measurement handicap winner of the race across Bass strait to Northern Tasmania – typically Devonport or Low Head at the mouth of the Tamar River.

The 195nm Melbourne to Devonport race forms part of the ORCV Offshore Championship and is open to yachts racing fully crewed, “autohelm plus 4” or Double Handed.

This is a Category 2 event, as amended by the ORCV Special Regulations which allows for use of Satellite Phone in lieu of HF radios by suitably equipped yachts.


Race History

 Year  IRC  AMS  PHS  Line DHD
2021 (Devonport) ORC - Scaramouche (43) Vertigo (R935) Scaramouche (43) Vertigo (R935) Gusto (B420)
2020 (Devonport) RMS Cole Walker (SM2024) RMS Cole Walker (SM2024) Summer's Lease (AUS551) Lord Jiminy (S118) Joker on Tourer (MY1250)
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.