Ocean lovers will take in some of the world’s most vivid marine treasures when they participate in the Beyond the Barrier Rally from next month.
The three-week expedition organised by Down Under Rally is set to sail for the first time in June, and again in August.
Leaving the shores of the Bundaberg Region, Beyond the Barrier Rally participants will rendezvous at Bundaberg Port Marina where their voyage of discovery into the Coral Sea will begin.
Last year the Down Under Rally's Go East Rally, which sees yachts sail from Australia to New Caledonia, was cancelled due to COVID-19.
The ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions have led organisers to come up with a new plan and route for sea-lovers in 2021.
Down Under Rally organiser John Hembrow said the response from the cruising community to the 2021 Go East Rally cancellation announcement was one of disappointment, with several asking if it might be possible for The Down Under Rally to organise a rally within Australian waters.
“Some suggested a rally circumnavigating Australia would be of interest, others suggesting a rally to Tasmania or maybe up the Queensland coast,” he said.
“As a result of the interest being shown in some sort of local rally being offered, The Down Under Rally put their thinking caps on.
“After a lot or research and pondering it was decided the likelihood of further lockdowns, and or snap closures of state borders, made it far too difficult to offer a rally which might be impacted by such occurrences.
“The conclusion was, if a rally was to be offered, the rally route and itinerary need to be within the borders of one state.”
John said the Coral Sea Marine Park was not only one of Australia’s best, but also one of the world’s most spectacular marine treasures waiting to be explored.
Having transited the Coral Sea on many occasions whilst making the voyage to and from New Caledonia, the Down Under Rally organisers were aware the Coral Sea was home to a significant number of reefs systems.
“Lying off the Queensland coast and beyond the Great Barrier Reef, from just north of Fraser Island to just south to the Torres Straits in the far north, the Coral Sea Marine Park comprises 34 reefs and 56 islets and cays,” he said.
“It covers an area of 989,836 square kilometres and is one of the world’s largest marine parks.”
John said the decision to offer the Beyond The Barrier Rally was made easier thanks to the support for the event provided by Bundaberg Port Marina.
“Participants and their vessels will rendezvous at the marina where they will spend time making last minute preparations and attending rally related events before departing on the voyage,” John said.
“The local community of Burnett Heads will benefit as a result with vessels needing to provision for the three week voyage.
“In fact, most of the businesses in the Burnett Heads area will benefit.
“Should the departure date be delayed due to weather conditions being unsuitable for the voyage it is expected that participants will pass the time by visiting some of Bundaberg’s tourist attractions such as the Rum Distillery and The Hinkler Hall of Aviation.”
John said the June Beyond the Barrier Rally was fully booked, but a few spaces were still available for the August event.
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