The Cairns HOTTI

The Cairns Head of the Trinity Inlet, also known as the Cairns HOTTI, is a 13.5km aquatic endurance event run on the Cairns Trinity Inlet. The Cairns HOTTI is a multi-sport event and attracts participation from rowers, outriggers, dragon boaters, surf boaters, surf skiers and kayakers. The Cairns HOTTI is run under head race conditions and is North Queensland's answer to the Head of the Yarra, the Head of the Tweed and the Head of the Brisbane.

Cairns HOTTI 2022.

The Cairns HOTTI 2022 has now been completed and by all accounts was a absolute success. Congratulations to all competitors for completing the course and as host for this regional aquatic event, the Cairns Rowing Club sincerely thanks you all for taking part and making this event the success that is was.

Event results can be veiwed at this link -> Results 

Cairns HOTTI 2023 planning will soon be underway...............

Planning for the Cairns HOTTI 2023 will commence shortly. As part of the planning process, the Cairns Rowing Club will be seeking inputs from all Aquatic sport participants to ensure that Cairns HOTTI 2023 provides a competitive event for all. As part of that process, we will welcome inputs from all competitors, with the aim of developing this event into a truly regional aquatic event for all water based sports. 

Details on the Cairns HOTTI are set out below.

Registrations fee

Historically, the Registration Fee for the event is $30 per competitor. Boat steerers, sweeps and coxswains DO NOT attract a registration fee.


The Cairns HOTTI is run on the second Sunday in September. The 2023 Cairns HOTTI will therefore be run on Sunday 10th September 2023. 

Race registration and race briefing will commence at 6.00am on race day.

Boat launching will commence at 7.00am.

Race start will be at 7.30am.


The Cairns HOTTI is run on the Trinity Inlet in the heart of Cairns.

Boat launching will be from the Fearnley Street boat ramp, opposite the Cairns Rowing Club. Trailer parking will be in the Fearnley Street Car Park.

You will find the Cairns Rowing Club here

Pre-race Social Function

A pre-race social function will introduce the competitors to each other and provide a brief race overview.

At this stage, a pre-race Social Function will be held on Saturday 9th September, at the Bungalow Hotel on Aumuller Street, commencing at 6.00pm. The cost for the Social Function is NOT included in the entry fee. Dinner and meal costs will be as per the menu. No other costs are applicable. All competitors, supporters and spectators are invited.

Post-race Brunch

A post-race Brunch will also be held at completion of racing on Sunday 10th September. Brunch will be at the Cairns Rowing Club and will commence at approximately 10.30am. All competitors, supporters and spectators are invited. 

Race Distance and Course

The course covers a distance of 13.5 kilometres as it circumnavigates Admiralty Island on the Trinity Inlet. The start line and finish line are located opposite the Cairns Rowing Club.

The course is buoyed at each change of direction to ensure that the minimum course distance is covered by all crews, and to take away the home crew advantage.

Click here for a copy of the Course Map.

The event is run under Maritime Safety Queensland permit conditions and supported by a fleet of safety boats and marshal boats.

A medical boat will also be stationed on the course as a precaution for any medical emergencies.

Race Format

The event is run under head race conditions and is open to all water sport crafts, including rowing shells, outriggers, dragon boats, surf skis, kayaks and surf boats.

Crews will leave the start line at 30 second intervals. Smaller and slower boats are released first, with the faster boats bringing up the rear of the field.

The challenge in head racing is to complete the course in the fastest possible time, and has individual crews trying to stay in front of the chasing crew, while also trying to catch the crew in front.

Race Winner and Category Winners

Fastest overall time around the course FOR EACH BOAT CATEGORY will be declared the event winner for that category and will be awarded the HOTTI perpetual trophy for that category.

A CATEGORY is defined as a class of boats. Rowing shells, outriggers, surf boats and dragon boats are all CATEGORIES.

Medals will also be presented to fastest crews for each of the boat classes within each category. A listing of all boat classes is included on the registration form. Please let us know though if we have missed anything.

If you're SERIOUS about competition, the Cairns HOTTI is for you!!

For those wanting to go hard, the HOTTI is seriously challenging.

What to expect...

For the Rowers

For those rowing crews wanting to win the event, race time will be around 50 to 55 minutes, depending on wind and tide conditions. Longer if both are against you. The official fastest lap time in race conditions is 53 minutes and 53 seconds. The unofficial fasted lap time is currently 50 minutes and 51 seconds.

For the Outriggers

For those Outrigger crews wanting to win the event, expect a race time between 70 to 75 minutes!  Fastest official lap time for the outriggers is 72minutes 20 seconds.

For the Dragon Boats

For those Dragon Boaters wanting to win the event, expect a race time between 75 to 80 minutes!  Fastest official lap time for the outriggers is 76minutes 14 seconds.

For the Skis

For the Ski crews wanting to win the event, expect a race time between 60 to 65 minutes!  Fastest official lap time for the outriggers is 63minutes 40 seconds.

For the other competitors.....

Other boat classes are relatively new to the event and race times therefore still being set. Take up the challenge and set the course record for your boat class.

If you're looking for a SPECTACULAR environment, the Cairns HOTTI is for you too also!!

For those wanting to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Inlet under the safety of a fully controlled event, the HOTTI course will showcase the magnificent natural environment as you circumnavigate Admiralty Island on the Inlet.

Enjoy the mangrove forests, spectacular mountain ranges and bird life as you complete your lap. A more leisurely approach will need about 90 minutes, depending on the class of boat. Feel free to take your time.

All crews will of course complete the lap under the watchful eyes of a fleet of safety boats, ensuring your safety at all times.

So why not take advantage of this great sight-seeing opportunity and join us for this unique tropical North Queensland Sporting event!!

While you are here.....

There is of course lots to do in Cairns while you are here!

Why not use your HOTTI experience to take a look around the great tourist destinations Cairns has to offer while you are here.

...and last but not least

Our goal is to make this event a 'must do' for ALL WATER SPORTS, so please do watch this space for event details.

Look forward to seeing you at the Cairns HOTTI in 2023


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