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GC Hosts Whittley National Rally

GC Hosts Whittley National Rally


Whittley Boats could quite possibly be the first in Australia to put a production wooden boat on a trailer. They started in the 1950’s, headed by Jim Whittley. Since this time, boat innovation flourished, new materials and techniques adopted, fibreglass replaced timber, and the company now producing a market-leading range of boats to give every boating family the opportunity to have the Whittley experience.

Whittley Clubs have been established in east coast states – Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. These clubs aim to give members the opportunity to meet in a relaxed social atmosphere while cruising in their Whittley boats along the beautiful natural waterways and environment of the east coast Australia. These clubs operate independently of the Whittley Company and the dealer network (although they do share a strong partnership with that same Whittley network).

The Whittley Club National Rally is organised every two years. This event, which rotates around Queensland, Victoria and New South Whales destinations, is traditionally held over the Easter break.

In 2018, the Queensland chapter on the Gold Coast, which had previously organised the event in 2012, hosted the rally. Through this event, Whittley owners from around the country had a chance to explore the stunning destinations along the magnificent Gold Coast waterways. It provided the opportunity to enrich the joys of boat ownership through forging new friendships, enhancing knowledge of the sometimes unfamiliar waterways, while participating in a well-planned three-day club event.

The Rally is an excellent opportunity for Whittley boat owners to meet like-minded people and to learn more about the Whittley boating experience. There is plenty of time to exchange boating information and ideas, and general fixes and problem solving at the end of each day.


With 51 boats registered, you can imagine it is extremely difficult to plan. There were 111 participants in vessels ranging from the Whittley CR2800 at 9m, and smallest in the fleet was Impala at 5.3mtrs. The rally committee commenced planning at the conclusion of the NSW Hawkesbury Rally, back in March 2016, and met regularly, with continuous communication. They secured the rally venue, the Couran Cove Resort, and organised registrations and catering, planned the rally trips and conducted trial runs to ascertain timing and safe anchorages, as well as securing sponsors.

The committee created three teams, a safe maximum of 12 boats in each that alternate the daily trips over the course of the event. All the planned destinations had a Trip Coordinator and First Mate who have planned the trip, and led teams on their specific ventures. Each of the colour-coded teams were appointed a Team Leader Couple who were also familiar with the areas they were covering and were able to be the point of reference for any concern from the participants during the rally. Every morning at 8.00am, each Trip Leader met with the Team Leader and at least one member from each boat in the respective group went over the day’s route and answered questions. This was conducted to ensure that there were no last-minute issues, as well as to brief people of the day’s weather. Each team departed the marina led by the Trip Leader at staggered times, and returned at different times. Full routing information was given to all Team Leaders and Trip Leaders who had previously carried out full reconnaissance. Trip Leaders would radio in to the rally committee support staff of their estimated time of arrival, so they could be assisted with berthing upon their return.


The trip to Budds Beach showcased the Broadwater of the Gold Coast. Cruising to Paradise Point via Sovereign Islands, boat crews caught a glimpse of some homes of the rich and famous. They continued south past Wave Break Island and the Seaway, while seeing the happenings around Sea World, Marina Mirage and the Palazzo Versace Resort. Before entering the Nerang River, they passed the Southport Yacht Club on the port side, then under the Sundale Bridge before motoring by the glamorous homes of Paradise Waters. The idyllic lunch spot was the sandy bay of Budds Beach. After the short stop, the fleet began a leisurely cruise south towards the Broadbeach Waters, and around the Cascade Water Gardens and its large flying fox colony.

Another day trip was taken around Jacobs Well to Tipplers. The fleet of Whittley boats headed out to Horizon Shores Marina where they had the opportunity to refuel at the on-water fuel pumps. Some of the crews headed to Anchorage Café for coffee and to take in the view. They then meandered through the myriad of small islands and mangroves, and viewed the abundant sea birds feeding on the mud flats, soldier crabs scampering from the sea birds, and the occasional dolphins at play. Heading further north than their ultimate destination, they briefly anchored at Millionaires Row for a swim in the crystal clear waters before heading south to Tipplers Café for lunch.

The third and most challenging for the boat crew was the planned day trip to Peel Island. However, the intended 50nm section of the trip through the open waters of Moreton Bay was called off due to bad weather conditions. Instead, the fleet ventured past Slipping Sands and through Canaipa Passage, before cruising among the Southern Moreton Bay Islands, known locally as the Bay Islands, which include Russell, Lamb and Karragarra Islands, and their lunch destination Macleay Island. All three day-trip fleets made it back safely to their base at Couran Cove Resort in time for happy hour.

By Andrew Kancachian

Photos by Antonia Riley

The Whittley Club of Queensland organise trips at least monthly, generally within Moreton Bay, sometimes extending trips to some of the Northern Rivers of New South Wales as far south as Clarence River, and north to Noosa and Hervey Bay. The trips are very casual and generally involve meeting up at a pre-determined anchorage and usually end with happy hour drinks on a beach at sunset. If you are interested in joining the club, phone the Acting Commodore, Julian Cox on 0423 841 346. 



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