Magnetic Island Race Week: Racing abandoned

Racing has been abandoned at Townsville Yacht Club’s (TYC)  SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week (SMIRW) today, officials holding off as long as they could before making the decision to can it for the day.

Due to start at 11am, the AP flag when up with officials keeping competitors appraised of the situation every hour. Race Officer Jenny Birdsall kept in touch with Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson, who is lockdown in Sydney, and the decision was made. 

Shot of all the boats on the dock.
The fleet took a rest day – Scott Radford-Chrisholm pic / SMIRW

“We have a big, choppy sea, big waves. It’s back breaking conditions, so too dangerous to race,” Birdsall said. “We’ll try again tomorrow.”

In the meantime, crews stayed ashore and waited. Because Peppers, the marina and start area are so close together, there is no panic. Some played chess on board their boats, others were catching up with friends on other boats, while the remainder sat on the deck at Peppers enjoying a morning coffee. 

Jimmy Finch stadning on the stairs of his boat, smiling.
Warrigal owner and local character Jimmy Finch prepares to race – Scott Radford-Chrisholm pic / SMIRW

Event Manager, Jodie Kennedy, said: “The Deck Party started early! Now they know they’re not racing everyone is back at a fully-prepared Peppers having a good time. We have the party scheduled for 5pm on the social calendar. Live music, food, drinks and giveaways. It’s just that it’s ramped up earlier than expected!”

Sailor with blow-up duck on his head.
Infarrction crew member says ‘We’re out for a duck’ – Scott Radford-Chrisholm pic / SMIRW

A day off means crews took advantage of all Magnetic Island has to offer. There’s the Fort Walk, the Nelly Bay to Arcadia trail nature and wild life areas, the national park, a zoo, helicopter tours, not to mention all the beautiful bays – Picnic and Horseshoe among them. 

Those feeling like a lazy relaxed day headed off to the many eateries and took time out for a swim at one of the sheltered beaches under the clear blue sky that is smiling down on the Island today.  

Mike Steel, Dr Ali Bee holding Koala Poko.
Mike Steel, Dr Ali Bee and Poko – Scott Radford-Chrisholm pic / SMIRW

While crews relaxed, Mike Steel handed $1500 raised at the mud crab races yesterday, to Dr Ali Bee at the Magnetic Island Koala Hospital/Wildlife Rescue at Horseshoe Bay. With them was the young Koala, Poko. 

“Each and every donation is incredibly appreciated. We are completely and utterly dependent on them,” Dr Ali commented. “We get the odd grant, but not ongoing financial support. 

Two Koalas hugging a tree.
Hanging out at the Magnetic Island Koala Hospital – Scott Radford-Chrisholm pic / SMIRW

”It’s very special that the Race Week does this for us. It’s the second time. It was a very happy surprise to hear we were getting the donation today and we are very happy to receive it.” 

Dr Ali finished by saying: “It’s very important we encourage youngsters to come and look after our wildlife. They can then pass that message on to the next generation.”

The Magnetic Island Koala Hospital/Wildlife Rescue Is a charity. Should you wish to donate, please visit:

For full results and all information on SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week, please visit:

By Di Pearson/SMIRW media

M.O.S.S Australia