Queenscliff Lonsdale Yacht Club



The Club


Queenscliff Lonsdale Yacht Club is a sailing organisation which has been on the shores of Swan Bay and the lower reaches of Port Phillip for over 100 years.

The Club was established in the 1890’s and in 1947 it was re-formed as the Swan Bay Boat Club, changing its name to Queenscliff Lonsdale Yacht Club in 1972. Over the years it has contributed to a number of significant chapters in the history of Queenscliff and of yachting.  We believe this Club is probably one of the oldest sailing organisations in Victoria.

The Clubhouse and Boatshed

The present clubhouse rests on the shores of Swan Bay alongside King Street and was built by the original members of the Club, their families and friends. The Committee and members of QLYC voluntarily maintain this great venue for the enjoyment of members and the community alike.

At high tide Swan Bay provides sufficient depth of water for paddle craft, dinghy and catamaran sailing. The clubhouse remains the base for Club social activities, as well as providing an ideal venue for various community activities.

The amenities of the clubhouse include the open and congenial club rooms with views of Swan Bay, a well-equipped kitchen, secure storage in the boatshed, ample car parking, boat launching ramps, a grassed rigging area plus pens for storing dinghies and catamarans on trailers.

Yacht Racing on Port Phillip 

Yacht racing on Port Phillip and around the area of Queenscliff is an institution and QLYC continues to encourage the sporting and social aspects as part of the overall community culture, which delights the visitor to the area.

The challenges and rewards of sailing at the southern end of Port Phillip are many. The scenic backdrop to club events is unsurpassed. The shore lines of the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas are second to none.  Both these characteristics offer wind shelters which allow sailing when other venues in the bay are unsailable.  The currents generated by the tidal stream through the Rip and the shipping channels combine to provide challenging tactical operations for sailors.

In recent years the Club has seen the emergence of larger yachts, and the re-emergence of the traditional Couta vessels that race in a mixed fleet.

Additionally, the club introduced a unique winter series of racing a few years ago which provides for a crew based championship, in which crew sail on a number of yachts over winter and compete through being on a winning yacht most number of times.

The Sailing Calendar

QLYC’s sailing calendar is extensive, with trophy races and weekly events attracting a fleet of QLYC boats plus visiting sailors from around the bay. 

Weekly races are held from October through April each year and incorporate two major Series of races plus many individual trophy races. Winter races are held once every three weeks, aiming for 5 races.

The major trophy races are dispersed within these series to add some variety including a few longer races beyond the Queenscliff environs.

Race briefings are held at Noon most Saturdays outside the Queenscliff Harbour office. The Club Captain and Officer of the Day (OOD) provide the race briefing and all intending race participants sign on. All yachts competing in races must comply with Australian Sailing regulations. Races usually commence at 1330 and conclude after 1600 with the OOD directing proceedings from the cockpit of our own QLYC vessel ‘Swan’.

Annual Events

Annual trophy races which the club hosts for its members and visiting yachts include the following:

The Channels Race

This course includes the West and Coles Channels to the north of Queenscliff, with a length of approximately 18 nm.

Around Mud Islands Race

This was a Victorian State Championship race for trailable yachts and Couta boats of approximately 20nm in length, held in February each year. It circumnavigates the Mud Islands group in the centre and lower reaches of Port Philip Bay. This is now a club race with an open invitation to other clubs to compete.

Champagne Stern Chaser

In this great annual race each boat has a unique start time and the closest boat to the finish line at a specified time is declared the winner. This results in a tight and lively finish, with many boats competing for line honours. Traditionally, champagne and nibbles were served during rafting up by all competitors in the old harbour after the race, where many stories of lost chances were shared.

Cole Cup (Race to Portsea) 

This race has a long history with the club. The trophy which was presented to the club dates from the 1930’s when the original race was from Melbourne to Portsea via the South Channel. The current race provides a dash to Portsea pier from the start at Queenscliff (and return) via a number of specified marks in the South Channel.

Lady Nelson Trophy 

This race commemorates the involvement of the ‘Lady Nelson’ in the discovery of Port Phillip and the trophy is a magnificent wooden framed portrait of the 60 Ton Brig. It is a highly sought-after trophy due to its imposing size and maritime history.


Irwin Trophy 


The Irwin trophy has a long history with the club and commemorates the sailing achievements of Bob Irwin and his family.  Lindsay Irwin sailed his Sparrow from the Swan Bay Boat Club with great success in the 1940’s. The race is an extended event around the channel marks of both the Western and Southern shipping channels of the Bay. Bob’s son is a well-known sail maker in Melbourne.

The Commodore’s Cup 

A special race hosted by the Commodore which traditionally has been followed by a Cocktail Party at the Clubhouse where winners and losers celebrate late into the night.

Dinghy Sailing & Off the Beach (OTB) Activities


The original sailing competitions and activities of the Swan Bay Boat Club centred on the building and sailing of small dinghies, and racing in the area around the present club premises located on Swan Bay. Dinghy racing was a weekly pastime of many of the young around Swan Bay and Queenscliff as an affordable sport at a local level.


QLYC currently offers OTB activities for all ages. The Club has a variety of sailing and paddle craft including a fleet of Sparrow dinghies. At our regular ‘Discover Sailing’ days, people of all ages are encouraged to take up the sport. 

Additionally, we offer ‘Discover Sailing’ activities in our fleet of larger racing boats and between the two activities, many local people and visitors have participated in learning or trying out sailing through valuable experiences given by our club members. 


The Honour Boards – Members past & present

QLYC displays its proud history in the form of the Honour Boards, trophies and photographs of Honorary Life Members and Club Champions which adorn the walls of the club.

Honorary Life Governor & Life Members

QLYC is honoured to have long standing supporter Jack Golightly Snr as our Honourary Life Governor.


We also enjoy the ongoing dedicated support of the following Honorary Life Members:

Alan Holmes (deceased) & Alex Eagleson (2003)

Bill Cosford (deceased) & Bob Mayne (2006)

Brian Golland & John Barry (2012)
Colin Bishop & Steve Lee (2013)

Jill Golland (2017)

The Burgee & Logo


Our Burgee was developed by our early members to incorporate the Swan Bay origins of the club with the swans that inhabit the area. In 2001 the club affirmed this Burgee will continue as the official flag of the club, maintaining the traditional link with the colorful history of the Club.

In 2017, a new logo was adopted to reflect the burgee on the original Swan Bay Boat Club Honour Board. The logo is used on Club documents and is embroidered onto Club livery.

Current Flag Officers & Committee 2022 - 2023

Commodore – Geoffrey Mathews

Vice Commodore Bernard Reed

Rear Commodore – Greg Carey

Secretary – Felicity McKenzie

Treasurer – Peter Curtis

Club Captain – Ian Campbell

Committee Members – John Barry, Maurice Kuter, Sue Kuter, Colin White

We Support