Hawaiian Airlines and AOCRA held the first ever international outrigger canoe race on stunning Sydney Harbour, on Sunday 2nd March, with 93 crews competing on the day.

Teams from all over the world came, including from New York, Singapore and New Zealand, with a special men€™s team of Hawaiian Airlines employees. Teams travelled from Perth, Darwin, Cairns, the Gold Coast, Tasmania and BOCC was represented by 3 Mixed crews and a Master Women’s Crew.
Master Crew

Master Mixed — Vern (S), Deb, Ken, Russ, Moo, Wendy
Open Mixed — Liz (S), Emma, Penny, Jasmin, Owen, Phil
Master Women — Min (S), Tracey, Jill, Marianne, Lyann, Val
Master Mixed — Paul L (S), Axel, Paul W, Simone, Jody, Faye

A huge thanks for all involved to making this INAUGURAL event a reality for BOCC. Coach Topfer for prepping us. Paul Webb and Owen for towing our canoes. And Faye and Axel driving convoy, rigging and equipment. Steerers and crew members, without you it would not have happened.

Victorious Master Mixed Crew finishing 2nd in their division.

Victorious Master Mixed Crew finishing 2nd in their division.

Although the weather was gloomy, spirits were high. Tom Carroll, was Master of Ceremonies for the day’s program of events starting from Middle Harbour Yacht Club. The race start was covered by Chanel nine weather, with Hawaiian dancers and the sounding of the conch shell.

Crews paddled fiercely out of Middle Harbour, around Middle Head, over exposed ‘bombies‘, Vernon! Hugging the northern side of Sydney Harbour, passing light houses and sheer cliffs, to find the QE2 Ship, at anchor. Once rounding the stern, Sydney Harbour€™s beautiful and iconic features were on display. The race continued under the Harbour Bridge, where a COOEE was heard to echo across the fleet. The turnaround point near Luna/Bradfield Park, and then back to Middle Harbour, hand blistered and aching muscles very much having to be the order of the day!

Every BOCC crew finished in the top 9 of their division with the Master Mixed Vernon crew, hanging in with a gutsy effort, to secure second place. The conditions were very flat, The Brisbane River training, our belief in each other and fitness showed as we mowed down 4 crews in the last 5-six kilometres. Race distance was 22.98km.

Mark Forbes (AOCRA pres.) said, €œWe are convinced the Hawaiian Airlines Sydney Harbour Challenge will indeed become one of the world€™s most prestigious outrigger canoe racing events in the years to come.”

The trophy adorned with fresh leis smuggled in from Hawaii

The trophy adorned with fresh leis smuggled in from Hawaii

If you want to see the action from the day, visit Rambo’s coverage of the event on his site Rambo’s Locker.

A full list of the day’s results can also be found on Webscorer.

Special thanks to Deb Gittins, BOCC Registrar, for supplying us the account of BOCC’s attendance at the inaugural Hawaiian Airlines Sydney Harbour Challenge.