The Mickey Ink Port Douglas Race Week and Clipper Cup is a low-budget but high-octane event reknowned for its hospitality and tropical fun attitude. The following update was emailed to us this week:
We have 24 entries so far and almost as many telling us they will be entering. With just five weeks to go it looks certain that we'll break our recent record of 29 set last year and we're hopeful of bettering the 44 set in 1995. Not a bad effort for such a remote outpost of the sport!
We have five J24's entered in division 4 so we have introduced a sub-division for the J24 class within div 4. There are eleven J's in the Port Douglas and Cairns region that we know about so we're hoping we can get a few more interested and build an annual class division for the J's. Several J24's have entered in recent years but we're yet to see any claim a name on the famous trophy. The closest has been Bruce Clarke (Kaizan II) from Cairns who managed second place in division 4 in 2014. Bruce has entered for the fifth consecutive year and is a close favourite to take out the inaugural class division and possibly the double, going one better in division 4 this year.
We already have three boats sailing up from Townsville, Dusty Muzzle, Guilty Pleasures VI and Champagne. These guys are doing their best to encourage some more. Ron Knott and the crew of Dusty Muzzle have been competing for the trophy since 2011 and will be back to defend their 2014 division 1 win. Leon Thomas and the Guilty Pleasures team have raced here before in 2013 and will be trying to go one better than the second place they achieved in division 4 that year.
Dusty Muzzle will have a serious challenge on their hands defending their division 1 title with the likes of veteran local racing legends Belinda Cooper (Agnes) and Doug Ryan (Shazam) both previous winners on other boats.
In the multihull division Mal Richardson has entered his NACRA 36 Malice which has been winning just about everywhere it goes. We'll have some serious handicapping to do with this fast OMR cat competing against cruisers like the Seawind 1000. Malice won the 2011 Clipper Cup when all the boats raced in one division. We didn't have enough competitors for multiple divisions back then. It was a nightmare trying to handicap such a diverse fleet.
We're a lot more organised these day with five divisions this year including the J24 sub-division. Malice might get a bit of competition if we can muster some of the local racing cats to get their entries in.
The social scene is set to be huge with competitors planned to be berthed next to the club at Closehaven Marina. With a big brekkie on the go every morning and entertainment every night there'll be plenty to keep the social scene humming. It is also Port Douglas Carnivale that week so there will be a multitude of events and activities happening all around town. Perfect for any non sailing partners of visiting yachties to get involved with. Visit www.carnivale.com.au for details.
We'll also be running a fun team competition in line with the teams event that was the original Pan Am Clipper Cup many years ago. As with everything at this great club we do it all for fun as our motto proclaims “This Club was built for fun”.
Further details of the regatta can be found at http://portdouglasraceweek.com.au/ and entries close Monday 11th May with
racing commencing on the 25th to 29th.
– Mick Gwilliams, Port Douglas
FOOTNOTE: The editor of mysailing, Roger McMillan, will be reporting from the regatta and will have some subscriptions to Australian Sailing + Yachting and Cruising Helmsman to give away. So get your entries in!