Couta Boats back after cancellation

Queenscliff and Sorento Couta Boats ‘Around Mud Island’ Race is on this Saturday, March 23. (Supplied)

Queenscliff and Sorento Couta Boats will set sail ‘Around Mud Island’ this Saturday following a previous event cancellation due to hot weather.

The Queenscliff Couta Boats ‘Around Mud Island’ Race was cancelled on March 9 due to hot weather, with the event rescheduled for March 23.

Queenscliff Lonsdale Yacht Club’s (QLYC) Geoff Cook said the upcoming event would be bigger than previously expected as the club races with Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club (SSCBC).

“With the weather forecast, the risk was too high aboard an open boat in 40 degree-plus weather,” he said.

“The good news is that it will now be a combined race with Queenscliff Lonsdale Yacht Club Sorrento Couta Boat Sailing Club, another important event to see more couta boats on Port Phillip.

“An armada of couta boats will bring back memories of old when they raced out to catch the Barracuda and raced back with their catch to get the best price.

“First received top price and now we are sailing for trophies and pleasure, but the emotional rewards are well worth the effort.”

Mr Cook said he looked forward to competing in the race and seeing people embrace the history of couta boats.

“The couta boats are Queenscliff’s living history because that’s where they all started, and our yacht club is trying to reignite the enthusiasm for couta boats,” he said.

“It’s looking hot with not a lot of wind and a bit of current. So, it’s going to be a hot day in the sun, but we’ll survive, and it will be an opportunity in disguise.”

SSCBC will lay a start line between Sorrento and Queenscliff on the Channel’s north side, in the vicinity of ‘Chinamans Hat’, with QLYC providing additional support boats.

The division two couta boats race will begin at 11am, with the division one couta boats and keelboats kicking off at 11.30am on Saturday, March 23.

The long passage trophy race will see boats navigate up the Symonds and down the Pinnace and South Channels.