The cat is out of the bag, Townsville sailors are going to work some early pre-event training into their schedules in an effort to outsail their interstate counterparts when Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week gets underway on the last day of August.
The 11th running of ‘Maggie Island’ Race Week will be held from 31 August to 6 September and members from the host, Townsville Yacht Club (TYC), are buoyed up and ready to rumble ahead of the Coral Sea classic.
“A few of us are headed to Port Douglas Race Week this month. It will be a good opportunity to put in some racing practice outside of our Townsville Yacht Club races,” TYC’s Rear Commodore, Tony Muller, confirms. “We have six boats making up the fleet of 11 in Division 1 for this year’s event.”
Included in the “few of us” who will take part at both events is Muller, with his Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409, ‘Brava’, as he is keen to successfully defend his Cruising Spinnaker Division 1 title of last year at Magnetic Island.
Doug Ryan's Beneteau 44.7, 'Shazam', winner of the title in 2015 will also be on both start lines. Ryan is extremely familiar with the waters of these events, having lived in Port Douglas, where he was commodore of Port Douglas Yacht Club, before settling at Magnetic Island.
And while Mal and Sylvia Pirret only occasionally race during the TYC season with their perfectly named Beneteau Oceanis 45, 'Champagne', they are likely to be strong competition and have competed at Port Douglas Race Week to prepare over these past few years.
Other ‘Maggie Island’ regulars from TYC who have confirmed they will race at Port Douglas include Wayne Millar and his Murray 41, ‘Zoe,’ well-known for their participation in all the major regattas and races in eastern Australian.
Meanwhile, Mike Steel, Townsville Yacht Club’s Event Chairman for Magnetic Island Race Week, is feeling grateful they can go ahead with the event at all, because the region was incredibly left untouched by Cyclone Debbie.
“We all bunkered down for Cyclone Debbie, but all we saw were gusts to 30 knots. Fortunately for Townsville and the Magnetic Island region, we escaped unscathed,” Steel commented.
“We were lucky to be on the northern side of the system, unlike our neighbours in the Whitsundays and Airlie Beach, who experienced excessive damage.
“Thankfully, North Queenslanders have bounced back and we’ll see all three northern regattas run as per plan.
“Many of Townsville’s businesses have been busy assisting residents and businesses to get back on track, so I expect by August, much of the damage will just be a memory,” ended Steel who will again bring his Dufour 36, ‘Boadicca’ to the start line at Magnetic Island.
Prospective competitors are reminded there is still a little time to take advantage of the Peppers Blue on Blue Resort 15% discount off the Bed and Breakfast fully serviced price.
The offer, subject to room availability, ends 30 June 2017, unless sold prior and must be booked direct, by calling the resort on: 07 47 582 400. Quote ‘Magnetic Island Race Week Early Bird Special’ to receive this special. Don’t miss out.
At this early stage, entries from Queensland, NSW and Victoria exceed 20. The event is open to IRC, PHS, Cruising in Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker yachts, Trailable Yachts, Sports Boats along with divisions for Multihull Racing and Cruising boats.
Discounted Early Bird entry closes on 31 May, so enter now via the official website: www.magneticislandraceweek.com.au/
By Di Pearson, SMIRW media