by Rob Mundle
Sail Paradise, Southport Yacht Club’s impressive offshore regatta which is contested along the surfline of the Gold Coast’s magnificent ocean beaches, is to be staged from 21–25 March next year.
Sail Paradise - Gold Coast. Photo: Gold Coast Tourism
The change of dates from early January to March has already been welcomed in sailing circles: the rapidly expanding SB3 sports boat class has nominated Sail Paradise for its Queensland championship, and Bruce Absolon, owner of the Volvo 60 Nikon–Spirit of the Maid, has declared he will be using the series as a warm-up for the Brisbane to Gladstone race, starting 6 April. On the multihull front, Steve Austin from Vicsail in Sydney has advised that he expects at least four Lagoon cruising catamarans to be competing.
Sail Paradise had to be abandoned this year due to the extreme weather which brought the tragic floods and near cyclonic winds to Southeast Queensland in January. Many competitors had their homes and businesses impacted by the floods.
Apart from the likelihood of there being a much better weather window in March, organisers at Southport Yacht Club cited three additional reasons for changing the Sail Paradise dates:
• A consensus among competitors confirmed this was the ideal time for them on the sailing calendar
• The opportunity to use Sail Paradise as part of the preparation program for the Brisbane to Gladstone Race
• By starting mid-week sailors will spend less time away from their employment
Sail Paradise 2012 will open to a wide range of sailboats – Grand Prix and cruising keelboats, multihulls and sports boats.
Gold Coast City Council and Gold Coast Tourism have already signed on as sponsors and Australia’s preeminent regatta organiser, Denis Thompson, has been confirmed as Race Director.
For more information go to www.sailparadise.com.au or contact Bronwen Ince at Southport Yacht Club: (07) 5527 1126.