by Gemma Bird
The scene in the Nelly Bay Marina this morning, where the Sydney 32 Groove was being checked in preparation for the final day of racing at Magnetic Island Race Week 2011 was one of pink hats and pink sunnies, not to mention pink feather bowers.
Groove. Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week 2011
While the all girl crew of Groove were decked out in their pink girlie attire, owner and skipper Belinda Cooper assured us that it was nothing more than business as usual as they prepared for a possible win, or at least a chance to beat Iota, who finished four places ahead of Groove in yesterday’s windward leewards.
The Crew from 'Groove' before final day of racing
‘I think they (Iota) are the favourites today but we are trying to beat them!’ Belinda declared.
Belinda and crew all hail from Port Douglas and Cairns where the boat is moored when the girl gang, know as the Twisted Sisters, isn’t out braving the open ocean in regattas or leisurely sailing it around on weekends. Initially Belinda and crew had gotten together for a bit of fun, but two years ago decided to get a full female crew on board to compete in regattas.
‘We all sailed together on and off on occasions, we haven’t been a regular crew, I stole most of the crew off other boats – especially when it came to all girls … we sort of just stole all the girls from other crews and thought we’d come and take on the boys down here.’
This year’s Magnetic Island Race Week will be Belinda and crew’s third time sailing on the waters of Cleveland Bay. ‘it’s really just a lot of fun for all of us but this time we are trying to win; yesterday we had a really good day, the wind turned for us so it was defiantly our lucky day.’
Belinda and her crew have been attending the regatta for three years now and when asked what keeps them coming back she explained ‘It’s just a brilliant place Maggie, and we’ve done Airlie and the boat went to Hamilton. But here the weather is normally fantastic – it was a little bit breezy at the beginning of the week. But overall it’s a really great atmosphere and I think that’s the main thing that keeps us coming back year after year.’
The girls are certainly in for the fun at the regattas they attend up and down the coast, however the beach party held at Xbase on Sunday night proved to be a highlight for the ‘Twisted Sisters’ who all really enjoyed themselves. ‘The beach party was great fun! We got to see the other side and we mixed with all the party goers and the backpackers. It was just great fun! I think there were a few hangovers after that’ said Belinda smiling.
While the girls enjoyed a few drinks and the live music they knew they were up for a bit of hard work on Monday morning so they bowed out early in the evening to get some much needed rest.
‘We’ve been battered around a bit with the rough conditions and we have a few bruises to show for it, but we pull together as a team and that’s what it’s all about. So many people ask us how hard it is with a crew of seven girls, but it’s really fine, we don’t have much time for any arguments. We get along really well.’
Belinda Cooper and her Twisted Sisters were all smiles after the last race on the final day of Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week, an Overall win in the Performance Racing division adding to their memories of a great regatta.
Sailing in Groove is, as the boat name suggests, says Belinda. ‘If your boat is ‘in the groove’ it’s sailing nicely, and she did just that and brought us home a win today!'
Crew onboard Groove, with Skipper Belinda Cooper in Sunday’s racing. Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week 2011