Regatta in the Red Centre

Ben Domensino, 15 April 2019

Lake Eyre's first yacht club race in three years will take place this week, thanks to floodwaters that travelled hundreds of kilometres across the Australian outback.

Central Australia's impending regatta has been made possible this week by rainwater that fell over western Queensland back in February. This heavy rain produced a slow-moving flood that started spilling into Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre from mid-March.

The lake has been steadily filling over the last three weeks and there is now enough water for the Lake Eyre Yacht Club to host its first regatta since 2016.

Lake Eyre is an endorheic lake, meaning the water that flows into it doesn't continue out to sea. The lake is the end-point for floodwaters travelling through the vast Lake Eyre Basin, which spans about 1.2 million square kilometres across parts of South Australia, Queensland, the Northern Territory and New South Wales.

Image: Water flowing into Lake Eyre North. Credit: georgeandemtravelaus/Instagram

According to information published on the yacht club's website, the event will be “laid back and not run under strict racing rules with emphasis on enjoying the rare privilege of sailing in the desert.”

In addition to the water currently sitting in Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, a second round of floodwater from rain produced by Ex-Tropical Trevor is expected to arrive in May.

The Bureau of Meteorology estimates that the combined inflows from these two rain events should cause the lake to become half to three-quarters full by June.