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Bribie Classic Boat Regatta holds its 25th anniversary regatta May 25-26, 2023

Pictures and story by Alistair Gray 

Bring the kids, invite friends and put together a picnic. Come and enjoy one of Bribie Island's keystone winter events, the Bribie Classic Boat Regatta. It is the regatta's 25th anniversary event, hosted by Bribie Island Community Events Inc. (BACE) and is the largest classic boat regatta in Queensland. The annual event showcases the maritime recreational past, with boaties travelling from far and wide, with a strong involvement of local boaties and the surrounding communities of Donnybrook and Toorbul. 

Last year saw the return of the regatta after a break related to Covid. It was a great success, with locals and visitors turning out by the thousands to see the fabulous display of classic boats. Imagine looking across the Pumicestone Passage towards the bridge to see the water chocked full of boats of all sizes, ages and types. It is spectacular and something not to be missed. See the large 48-foot classic motor cruisers, the speed boats with highly polished wooden decks, the old wooden yachts with classic sails, outrigger canoes and much more. Two old steamboats will also join the regatta this year. Besides the boats, there will be a display of classic cars, model boats, various beach activities, food, drink and live music.  

“It is the 25th regatta since Alan Graham, a local wooden boat builder, staged a one-day event for putt-putt boats on the Pumicestone Passage, Bribie Island,” Secretary of BACE Inc. Dr Doug Wilson said.  

A ‘classic boat’ is defined as one built between 1943 and 1975, while a ‘late classic boat’ is defined as made after 1975 and older than 25 years. 

The event will start on Friday May 24, with boaties gathering in the late afternoon at the Oyster Bar, Sandstone Point Hotel for registration, briefings, and a get-together. For the public, all the action starts the following morning. 

Saturday May 25 You will see boats launched at the boat ramp at Bellara from 7am. The boats will then depart from 9am for a spectacular cruise on the Pumicestone Passage to Donnybrook, where the boaties will enjoy a free lunch put on by the Toorbul Community Association. After lunch, the fleet of boats will return to the Pacific Harbour Marina for public viewing between 1.30pm and 4.30pm. The return of the boats to the marina creates an excellent opportunity for mum, dad and the kids to walk along the marina walkways and get a close view of these magnificent old craft. Check out the workmanship and detail of these classic crafts, usually moored at anchor and only seen from afar. On the hard, there will also be more boats to see, a display of classic cars, community club activities, model boats and boat building, other pop-up stalls, food and entertainment. 

The members will enjoy a special anniversary dinner at the Bribie Hotel in the evening with trophy presentations for Pride of the Fleet, Best Sailing Boat and Best Motorboat. 

Sunday May 26 Watch the Grand Parade of Boats leaving the marina at 9am with the best viewing from Sylvan Beach as they circle around and finally either pull up on the beach or anchor just offshore. The display of boats is spectacular and not to be missed. The water will be churning with action, so camera enthusiasts should bring their cameras and lenses for some superb shots. There will be every type of craft to see, from rowboats, putt-putts, motor cruisers, sailing boats, surf boats, dragon boats and outrigger canoes, with visitors given the chance to vote on the People's Choice Award with presentation. Around the beach area, there will be speciality pop-up stalls, classic cars, model boats, ice creams and a sausage sizzle. Mark your calendars, as this is a day you don't want to miss. 


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