Townsville fleet beefs up ahead of Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week

Guilty Pleasures III - Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week
One of Townsville’s best known sailors, Leon Thomas, a regular winner at Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week, has stepped up to the plate ahead of the FNQ winter regatta season, bringing a highly regarded offshore racer to the Townsville Yacht Club fleet.

His new yacht Guilty Pleasures IV is a Sydney 38, formerly campaigned as Yeah Baby, with a host of Sydney-Hobart races under her keel.

Leon said ‘The northern regatta circuit is now very strong with our own SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week, which runs from August 30th to September 4th, now a key part of the scene.

‘The Townsville racing fleet is getting better and better and the competition is hot, with some top-quality boats from Melbourne and Sydney racing up here with us.

‘This boat will make us competitive at Magnetic and this year at Hamilton Island Race week but it’s also a great boat for cruising and with the Whitsundays and the Palm Island group is on our doorstep that’s very important.

‘We have only had the boat since just before the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race this last Easter year, and we competed in the race. We scored a Performance Racing Division 2 win.

‘We have done two races so far against Wayne Millar’s 41 footer Zoe, a multiple regatta winner. Zoe is a bigger, faster boat, but you never know in light conditions. For instance we beat her across the line in a Townsville Yacht Club race a few weeks ago.

‘Certainly, we expect to be close on handicap. It is fantastic for both campaigns to have some close racing because we can gauge ourselves against them and learn from them and make some continuous improvements and the benefits of sailing against them we should hopefully speed-up our learning experience.

‘My crew and I are looking at shipping the boat down to Sydney for the Australian Sydney 38 titles next January, but we need to race hard at Hamilton Island and Magnetic Island Race Week to get right up to pace.’

A steady flow of southern-based boats have come up to this event over the last six years because Sealink and the Townsville Yacht Club have worked to make sure the Magnetic Island regatta is old-fashioned affordable fun. It’s sailed out of a well-laid out marina; it has a great social program, experienced regatta management, friendly locals, plenty of accommodation options and a stunning island, and it’s close to a major regional city with good air connections.

Regatta Director Denis Thompson, who has been heading up the on water management team since the inaugural regatta, said ‘This is a very enjoyable regatta at every level. The course area starts just outside the marina and it’s a very picturesque sailing area. It’s a wonderfully laid back event and as the last in the Northern series, it is plainly just going to keep growing.

Eligible boats shall enter online no later than Friday 24 August 2011 via the event website at

The social calendar is sure to have something for everyone with shore-side activities happening every day during the regatta. Following the success of shore-side parties from previous years, this year the regatta will again feature a lay-day party.

Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week shore supporters and local residents alike can enjoy a full day of entertainment, kicking off at 1000 hours, local time, with an exciting lineup of live music, market-like displays, children’s activities, food and beverages and much more.

Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week