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By David Bradburn

After the enjoyment of sailing my yacht this March in the inaugural Cygnet 20 Gaff Rig Association event on the Gippsland Lakes, I looked forward to our second outing at the 2021 Noosa Gaff Rig Regatta, organised by the Noosa Yacht & Rowing Club.

The regatta, which is designed for yachts with gaff, gunter or similar rigs, attracted 4 Cygnet 20s with 8 owners participating as either skippers or crew.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a gaff rig is a four-cornered sail, rigged fore and aft, controlled at the head by a spar (gaff). For a given hull design and mast length, this type of rig carries 25 percent more sail than an equivalent triangular sail.

Benefits of gaff rigs are that: there is less stress on the mast, allowing for softer and simpler rigging, and making it easier to fold the mast down; the mast can be shorter and stronger with a lower centre of gravity; maintenance costs are lower; they are easier to use when first learning to sail, making them an excellent starter rig.

This year, the Noosa regatta was part of the riverside Noosa Come Together Festival and served as a fundraiser for the Yacht Club’s Sailability program, which gives disabled people the opportunity to learn to sail.

A few of us arrived in Noosa early, intent on enjoying two days of cruising prior to the regatta festivities beginning. Our plan was to motor, and sail when we could, up the Noosa River, through Lake Cooroibah (Kabi Kabi for ‘place of possums’) and on to Lake Cootharaba (Kabi Kabi for ‘wood to make studded clubs’), then along the Kin Kin (Kabi Kabi for ‘red soil’) Creek to the shallows of the Everglades.

I love discovering new places and absorbing the ambience, scenery, and vibe, and doing so in sunny 24 degrees weather was magnificent. The journey allowed for some exhilarating sailing and the opportunity to observe first-hand the pristine nature of the region.

While the Cygnet 20s can accommodate up to 4 people, I sailed single-handed. A great feature of this size of boat, and set up, is that you can cruise by yourself, however I appreciated cruising in the company of Will and Sue, (Cygnet #11, Amethyst, NSW) and Darryl (Cygnet #13, not yet named, ACT).


Cygnet 20 enthusiasts from around Australia: Steve (Cygnet #8, Dreamkumtrue, NSW), Michael and Ilana (Cygnet #23, currently being built, QLD), Elaine (Cygnet #14, Cinnamon, QLD), Michael (Cygnet #3, Hopewell, QLD), Neil (Cygnet #22 currently being built, QLD) enjoyed meeting each other and the club did a wonderful job welcoming everyone. It was great to meet Phil, the organizer, and crew from pilot cutter Lucille.

Pre-race we were briefed by Noosa Yacht Club and given course advice by John, Michael’s brother-in-law. Then, at 1.30pm, a series of horn blasts, began proceedings. There were three short races. The course was simple with essentially two markers and a start line opposite the club.

Darryl, sailing Amethyst, made a quick start along with Dreamkumtrue, both jockeying for the lead with a Frenchman, sailing Petit Bateau (an O’Day 20), with Cygnet well behind.

Cygnet improved to hold 2nd for most of the third race until Darryl, with help from Neil (#22), took 2nd place in a photo finish.

Overall Cygnet 20s placed 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th. The winner of the regatta was the Frenchman who won all three races. The $600 regatta profit was donated to Sailability.






Suggestions for our next get togethers:

Myall Lakes Cruising, NSW. A great weekend escape exploring the Myall Lakes National Park (448km2).

Lake Macquarie Cruising, NSW. A weekend exploring the largest permanent coastal saltwater lake in the southern hemisphere (twice the size of Sydney Harbour, 110km2).

Southport to Moreton Bay, QLD. A lovely cruise from Southport to Moreton Bay via the Gold Coast Broadwater, a large and protected waterway, extending from Southport to the southern end of Moreton Bay, bordered by land on both sides.


Please contact me to express your interests,

comments, or suggestions:

David Bradburn Mobile: 0412 656 271






Published in print October-December 2021