SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week: Opening night celebrated – racers ready to go!

A weak breeze confronted competitors and race officials on the opening day of the 2023 SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week (SMIRW), but it did not faze most, who felt lucky to be at this Northern Queensland regatta at all – entries were sold out within 13 minutes of opening – a record unlikely to be broken by any other major regatta Australia wide.

Principal Race Officer for the for the Townsville Yacht Club (TYC) organised event, Denis Thompson and his crew were left with a conundrum regarding start time. Originally set down for 11am, it was not to be, the fickle wind not suitable. However, Thompson was hopeful that a 5 knot breeze would get the fleet of monohulls, sports boats and multihulls away around 12.30pm.

“I think the weak north-westerly will go north and then north-east in the afternoon. We’re thinking -10 knots, enough to get a race in,” Thompson said.

However, the crews celebrated opening night in style last evening at Peppers Race Headquarters and this morning did not go to waste. Competitors enjoyed a lazy breakfast at, others caught up with mates, or took a swim at Peppers and checked out the official race apparel from Musto. CEO, David Oliver, is on hand to look after everyone’s needs as he always does at SMIRW.

The shop is open in the morning before racing and two hours after racing. Shorts have been the fastest seller, so patrons are warned, ‘don’t miss out’.

Also in the range this year is gear designed by artificial intelligence – a world first for sailing gear. The shirts feature a slogan on the back: ‘A great skipper knows how to delegate blame’. They too, are selling quickly. Not surprising…

Between his ‘pop-up’ shop hours, ‘Oli’ is racing on Boadicca, the Dufour 36 Performance yacht owned by Event Chairman and TYC Vice Commodore, Mike Steel. They are racing in Spinnaker Division 3 alongside others, including last year’s winner and TYC stablemate, Brava, Tony and Selena Muller’s Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409.

Oliver is not deck jewellery by any means. Steel is happy to have the yachtie with serious sailing cred to his name aboard. Apart from other wins, Oliver crewed the victorious 2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart winner, Victoire. Owner, Darryl Hodgkinson, is also at SMIRW with his latest Victoire, a Carkeek 40 that has also achieved the notable results ‘Doctor Darryl’ strives for.

While competitors are on the water today, ashore there is Rachelle’s Liptember Long Lunch, with entertainment from Tess Latu at Peppers Boardwalk Restaurant. This event is sold out.

Tonight’s entertainment, following the daily prize giving at Peppers Race Headquarters, an event in itself with TV personality Scotty Hillier hosting, features the band ‘Shots Fired’.

A mix of boats from monohull racers, cruisers, sports boats to multihulls from around Australia is taking part in SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week in 2023.

For all information including results, please visit:

By Di Pearson/SMIRW media

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