The 9th edition of the Spirit Marine Queensland Beneteau Cup was held over the weekend on Moreton Bay. The mood and the waves were high.
28 boats took to the water on Saturday for the annual regatta, starting with the Friendship Challenge, which involved the Beneteau fleet against other French marques.
“It was very windy, between 20 and 30 knots and it was hard going around Mud Island,” recounts Jane Virtue, who heads the Queensland Beneteau Owners Group. “We experienced big waves on the way back and there were a few casualties, including a wrapped spinnaker which put that boat out altogether.”
Sunday made for better sailing and the fleet moved to more protected waters for a circuit around Peel Island. “Everybody really enjoyed Sunday’s racing,” says Jane. “The course took three hours for the faster boats and four hours for the rest. We have two divisions, cruising and performance, whereas previously we had spinnaker and non-spinnaker. Adding the cruising category has attracted a lot more boats to the event.”
After two days of sailing, the winner overall in the performance class was a Beneteau First 34.7, Tow Truck, owned by Andros Stenders. In the cruising category, Ron James’ Oceanis 41, Synergy came out on top. Jane’s boat, The Matrix, placed third overall.
Lee Randall was at the helm of the Oceanis 45, Enavigo, owned by Lachlan McFarlane, which took line honours and won the Beneteau Bell. “The boat did very well. It was definitely the boat!” says Lee downplaying his steering skills.
The aim of the regatta, now in its ninth year, is to foster camaraderie among Beneteau owners, to get together to discuss their boats and share their passion for racing and cruising. “We formed the owners’ forum initially to compare notes and workshop any questions we had about our boats,” explains Jane. “It was a good way to share knowledge about how to fix things if they arose and eventually we decided to hold an annual regatta. We have members of all ages and all backgrounds, from all over south-east Queensland and as far away as Gladstone, united by our love of the Beneteau brand,” says Jane.
Spirit Marine has been naming rights sponsor for three years and Lee Randall says he has seen it go from strength to strength in this time. “Largely due to the hard work and passion of the Queensland Beneteau Owners Group,” he adds. A Beneteau is “not just a boat”, says Lee. “There’s a lot of camaraderie, it’s a fantastic product, winning design and innovation. The event showcases that. It is important for building the culture and reinforcing loyalty to the brand, and of course, promoting the brand to owners is part of that,” says Lee. Most of all, says Lee, “it’s a lot of fun, it’s a great time of year and a good way to kick of the season!”
For a full list of race results visit www.spiritmarineint.com