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Bribie Classic Boat Regatta

Bribie Classic Boat Regatta

By Andy Kancachian

The Bribie Island Classic Boat Regatta was a truly spectacular event, bringing together 91 beautiful classic boats from near and far. Set against the backdrop of postcard-perfect weather in S.E. Queensland, with brilliant blue skies, glistening water, and a colourful array of small boats, big boats, and wooden cruisers, the regatta was a sight to behold. The atmosphere was filled with joy, laughter, and animated discussions as boat enthusiasts gathered to celebrate their shared passion.

Cruising along the picturesque Pumicestone Passage to Toorbul and Donnybrook, the event evoked nostalgic memories of a rich maritime recreational past. Bribie Island and the Pumicestone Passage were showcased like never before, making it a standout event in Moreton Bay’s calendar. The warm welcome from the Toorbul and Donnybrook Community Association, along with a sponsored lunch by local Councillor Brooke Savige and the Moreton Bay Regional Council, added a sense of camaraderie and community spirit.

As the colourful boats graced the Pumicestone Passage again, this time at Pacific Harbour Marina, the crowds swelled with excitement. Enthusiastic boat owners proudly shared tales of their beautiful vessels with visitors, while the melodious saxophone tunes of local legend Leigh Thirlwell, accompanied by his talented nine-year-old grand-daughter Lotus, filled the air, creating an enchanting ambiance.

The highlight of the regatta, the Grand Parade on Sunday morning, drew vast crowds lining the foreshores. The boats, heading to the Sylvan Beach esplanade, became a magnificent spectacle amid classic cars, model boat displays, pop-up stalls, and live entertainment, creating an immersive experience for all attendees.


The moment of anticipation arrived when the three independent judges revealed the winners of the coveted hand-crafted perpetual trophies. The prestigious ‘Pride of Fleet’ trophy was awarded to Iona, a boat from Cairns, owned by Tom Sparks and Rodger Fryer. This Navigator design, a centre-board yawl day cruiser, exuded timeless beauty and craftsmanship, built with love by members of the Wooden Boat Association of Cairns.

The title of Best Classic Sail Boat 2023 went to Mary Rose, a Clem Masters design built in 1966 by Brisbane boat builder Simon Paroz, showcasing the elegance of a timber planked Carvel Sailing Sloop. Coincidentally, the Best Classic Motor Boat, named Moreton Maid, was also a Clem Masters design, a Masters 31-footer built in 1964.

In a delightful addition to the awards, this year marked the inauguration of the ‘People’s Choice Award,’ generously sponsored by Ms. Ali King, the Member for Pumicestone. The boat that claimed this honour was the Baby Dolphin, lovingly built by owner Geoff Tyler from Wynnum, modelled after a 1928 American Hacker Craft. Crafted from exquisite Brazilian mahogany in 2013, this 22-foot beauty won the hearts of the public.

Other notable participants included Three Swans, a Green Island 15 design by Mike Robers and owned by Sandy Pegg, securing the second-place position. Its Gunter rigged feature allowed easy trailering, making it a cherished asset for beach camping opportunities on Bribie.

A classic boat with exquisite lines, aptly named A Classic, designed and owned by Alan Graham from Toorbul, took the third spot, a testament to the timeless allure of craftsmanship.

The regatta extended its community engagement with a fundraising raffle for a new Joey Sailing dinghy, made possible by the Wooden Boat Association of Queensland. The lucky local winner from Bribie was elated, expressing excitement about creating cherished memories with their grandkids.

With a record-breaking attendance of over 3000 people, the Bribie Island Classic Boat Regatta has firmly established itself as a signature event for Bribie Island and Moreton Bay. It not only brought joy and pride to the community but also boosted local business and tourism, solidifying its position as a treasured Classic Bribie Island Event.



Published in print October-December 2023