Magnetic Island Race Week: From lay day to race day

Yesterday was a lay day at SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week (SMIRW), it was also Father’s Day, which translated to fun times for all at the Townsville Airport Father’s Day at pretty Picnic Bay on Magnetic Island. 

Teams readying to race on the beach next to a packed pier.
Teams readying to race – SMIRW pic

Free kids’ activities, markets, food stalls, a sand castle competition, mud crab races, food and entertainment at Picnic Bay Hotel and the famous Beer Can Regatta, meant there was something for everyone. 

The Beer Can Regatta is a real novelty at the week-long Maggie Island Race Week. Teams, including sponsors Star 106.3 Radio, with the breakfast team of Crystal and Brady at the helm, joined the fun. Each team builds their own boats from whatever materials they can lay their hands on – including beer cans – and then race to a buoy and return to the beach. 

Brady and Crystal and their Star 106.3 Radio boat on the beach.
Brady and Crystal and their Star 106.3 Radio boat – SMIRW pic

It’s a real crowd-pleaser among the yachties, locals and visitors to the Island. Throughout the race, the flour bombs tossed from the jetty by spectators, were coming down like rain, amid a lot of cheering and laughter.

The mud crab races also bring on the cheers and the ‘c’mons’. Twenty were auctioned off to anyone wanting to participate  over two races, and the bidding, as usual, was fierce. 

“We (the Boadicca crew) paid $310 for a crab that came last,” lamented Boadicca’s owner, Mike Steel, who doubles as SMIRW Event  Chairman. 

“It was a sprinter when they auctioned it, but it ran out of juice before the start,” he said laughing. It’s a great event and we raised $1500 for the Magnetic Island Koala Hospital. They do such a good job looking after injured wild life here.”  

Spectators await the race on the pier.
Spectators await the race – flour bags hidden – SMIRW pic

Following a long day of fun in the sun, it’s back to the serious business of racing in the Townsville Yacht Club (TYC) organised Race Week.

Racing starts from 11am and organisers are sending the mix of multihulls, yachts, keelboats and sports boats on a variety of courses.

SeaLink Spinnaker 1 Division boats have two races on the Bay. The first starts at 11.30am and takes them from the start off Peppers Blue on Blue to the Nautilus Marine mark, to Cleveland Bay and onwards to the finish. 

SeaLink Spinnaker Divisions 2 and 3, along with the Non-Spinnaker Division, are undertaking one race. They also head to the Nautilus Marine mark, then to Orchard Rocks, White Rock, back to Orchard Rocks and onto the finish. 

The Multihull Division has the virtually the same course, but an extra leg to Cleveland Bay has been thrown in. 

This morning there is a gentle south/sou-easterly breeze blowing under a sunny blue sky, with a few small puffy clouds floating by. Blissful. The forecast is for 10 knots on the Bay, giving the light weather performers their best chance of success. 

Lance Denby is leading the Non-Spinnaker division going into the day’s racing, having won both Races 1 and 2 with his Bavaria 38, Ostara. Having seen the weather forecast, he is gleefully rubbing his hands.

“Racing has been excellent. We’re one of the smaller boats in the fleet, so it’s good to get a couple of wins up,” Denby said. 

“High wind suits us. When it’s lighter we tend not to do well at all. We’re happy with today’s 10 knots – that’s enough to do the job. We are absolutely looking forward to the day and we’ll obviously be trying to stay up front again.” 

For full results and all information, please visit: www.magneticislandraceweek.com.au/

By Di Pearson/SMIRW media

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Multihull Group
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West System 3