G’Nome flies in for Airlie Beach Race Week

Desperate times call for desperate measures – so when you haven’t missed Airlie Beach Race Week for 15 years and you don’t want to change the trend you don’t let obstacles stand in your way – just ask Terry Archer, owner of the Grainger 075, G’Nome.

“Desperate people do desperate things at times – this was our desperate time, says Archer, who found a novel way to get his boat to Whitsunday Sailing Club in time to sail in the Multihull Passage Series – he flew his Grainger 075 into the Club’s pond by helicopter!

Archer takes up the story: “I had arranged with a local trucking company to take the boat by road, but they had to have permit, as the boat is 6.2 metres wide. Then you have to get Telstra and others to say it won’t interfere with their infrastructure, then you have to go to the police for a permit and a road escort, because the boat is so wide.

“It was all too hard for a truckie to do in a timely manner, so I had a chat with a person who has a helicopter, and he said as long as the boat doesn’t weigh more than 800 kilos, he could do it. We weighed the boat, and it was fine.”

The chopper came to Woodwark at the back of Pioneer Bay, rigged the boat ready to move and flew it the approximate five kilometres to the Airlie Beach based Whitsunday Sailing Club.

“It arrived about 8.30am – it had straps around four corners of boat – it’s a trimaran – it took around 15 minutes before it was sitting in pond at the Club,” recalls Archer, who had jumped in his car and raced round to meet the boat.

“I had two-way radio so I could talk with the helicopter pilot. I released hook that was holding the straps, then the wash from his rotors blew us up onto the pontoon at the Club, but it just left a little scuff on the side – just cosmetic.

“It was so easy to organise, compared to trying to take it by road. I reckon if I had to move the boat again, I’d use the chopper again,” added Archer, who said the chopper cost was about 50 percent more than by road, but 100 percent easier.

The boat hadn’t been in the water for seven or eight years. Archer and co. have been working on it for 18 months.

“We had a few teething problems when we first got back in the water. We went for a sail Wednesday and Thursday and had small problems, small glitches, but we’re going good now. It’s a good little boat. In the 8-10 knots we’ve been sailing in, it probably hit a top speed of 13½ half knots. 

“I had the GPS going when it was flying by chopper and she did 35 knots through the air. We’re calling that our top boat speed!” 

By Di Pearson, ABRW media

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