Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars - North Technology

Queensland’s Season of Sailing – Northern circuit just keeps growing

by Brendan Maxwell on 17 Jul 2012
Some of the best sailing to be had anywhere in the world is there to be enjoyed in Far North Queensland Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2009 Jack Atley
In 1983 Melbourne sailor David Hutchens, and the owner of Hamilton Island at the time, Keith Williams, started Hamilton Island Race Week. The southern states yachting community embraced this new regatta as a new adventure, but from Melbourne it was 1230 nautical miles to the Island and the naysayers expected the shine would wear off after a few tough deliveries back south.

But the event grew and grew and was followed seven years later by the Whitsunday Sailing Club’s Airlie Beach Race Week, with Hogs Breath Café founder Don Algie underwriting the event.

Just six years ago the Townsville Yacht Club sailors proposed Magnetic Island Race Week should join the party. First Sunferries, then Sealink took up the sponsorship challenge. The event grew rapidly as southern sailors realised it was a great place to spend time while they waited for the trade winds to turn to the north for that pleasant ride south.

In the late 1990’s Airlie Beach Race Week typically had 40 boats competing, Hamilton Island Race Week 120, but together the two regattas grew.

Now with a third event on the northern circuit, the combined events are even stronger, each one of them growing in size as the overall desirability of the far north Queensland’s winter sailing scene increases.

As the hundredth entry for 2012 Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week was completed today it seems this year’s Airlie Beach Race Week is going to reach a 130 plus competitors, Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 200 plus and Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week will likely attract 80 plus entries.

[Sorry, this content could not be displayed]

Denis Thompson, who is heavily involved in the regatta and race management in all three events said this morning ‘Each regatta has its own style. The three venues are remarkably different, the fleets are different in nature as are the race courses and the events all have different accommodation inventory.

‘But what they do together is offer more and more choices for southern sailors, making the long passage north into the warm tropical waters a more attractive proposition every year and this is being reflected in the extended periods boats are coming north and the increasing numbers of crew changes between regattas.’

Sydney sailor and past CYCA Commodore Geoff Lavis, the owner of one of the best known ocean racers in Australia USB Wild Thing, agrees.

‘Coming to the same venue year after year is not what my crew would want to do. We’ve been to lots of Hamilton Island Race Weeks and two years ago I crewed on one of my friends boats at Magnetic Island. This year I’ve brought my 50 footer north and we are doing Airlie Beach for the first time and then Magnetic Island. For us it’s a new adventure. However we will no doubt sail again at Hamilton Island in the next couple of years.’



Townsville sailor Leon Thomas says the expanded choice of regattas is wonderful.

‘We’ve done a bunch of Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island Race Weeks and of course we’ve not missed any of our home regattas at Magnetic Island. This year we are doing Hamilton and Magnetic.’

Thomas, one of Townsville's most successfull racing skippers originally purchased a sports boat to compete at Airlie Beach, then upgraded to a Farr 30 for Magnetic Island, has now replaced the Farr with a Sydney 38.

‘With the three regattas here in far north Queensland we have a great racing circuit and with the Palm Island group and the Whitsundays on our doorstep, the Sydney 38 allows us to cruise too.’

The most significant growth in all three regattas in recent years has been the cruising fleets. Many southern boats are taking up to six months to cruise slowly north in company, enjoy the social scene at a regatta or three, spend more time in the Islands and then head south, when the trade winds turn for the southern summer.

Now the Club Marine Brisbane to Keppel race has added more spice as Geoff Lavis explains.

‘We have in past times headed north starting with the Sydney to Gold Coast race, but this year we are cruising to Brisbane choosing enjoyable weather windows then racing in the Club Marine Brisbane to Keppel Race, a great feeder race to the other regattas, before heading for Airlie Beach.’

All the four events are part of the Queensland Season of Sailing – Sailing, Sun, and a Season of Fun.

Long may it Queensland Season of Sailing!

Bakewell-White Yacht DesignProtector - 660 x 82Mackay Boats

Related Articles

A Q&A with US Sailing’s Malcolm Page about the Sailing World Cup Miami
I spoke with Malcolm Page, US Sailing’s Olympic chief, about the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami I talked with Malcolm Page (AUS), a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the Men’s 470 class and the chief of Olympic sailing at US Sailing, to get his pulse on the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami and discuss some recent coaching changes within the Olympic-sailing program.
Posted on 20 Feb
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ give first look at the pedaling AC50
Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. The team has been sailing for the previous two days making news headlines after it was revealed in Sail-World.com that the AC50 would become only the second yacht in America's Cup history to use pedal power.
Posted on 16 Feb
America's Cup - Kiwis sign Olympic Cyclist for the Tour de Bermuda
Ttop cyclist Simon van Velthooven, a 2012 Olympic Bronze cycling medallist had been signed by the America's Cup team Emirates Team New Zealand put in a second foiling display on Auckland's Waitemata harbour ahead of the official launching of their AC50 tomorrow. With brighter skies the cycling team took their places on the pedalstals and used leg power to provide the hydraulic pressure necessary to run the AC50's control systems for the foils and wingsail.
Posted on 15 Feb
A Q&A with Shawn Macking about the StPYC’s Sailing Center and OD fleet
I talked with Shawn Macking, the StPYC’s waterfront director, to learn how the club is getting more people out sailing. I caught up with Shawn Macking, waterfront director of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, via email to learn more about the club’s Sailing Center, its hefty investment in a new fleet of ten J/70s, and how the StPYC is using this infrastructure to expose more people to the sport we all love.
Posted on 13 Feb
A Q&A with Karen Angle about the 2017 Conch Republic Cup race to Cuba
I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event. If you’re like me and have arrived at saturation with winter’s cold rain and snow, imagine racing to Cuba as part of a 13-day cross-cultural event that’s designed to lower barriers of entry at a time when some Americans see a need for taller walls. I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event and the adventures it affords.
Posted on 23 Jan
A Q&A with Anna Tunnicliffe about her return to competitive sailing
I talked with Anna Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing. Anna Tunnicliffe won gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in the Laser Radial before shifting her sights to the Women’s Match Racing event for the London 2012 Olympics. Here, she came up shy of expectation and left sailing for the CrossFit Games, but now she is returning to her roots. I talked with Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing.
Posted on 23 Jan
A Q&A with Dick Neville, Quantum Key West Race Week’s RC chairman
I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for the Quantum Key West Race Week, to learn more about the event. For the past 30 years, international sailors have gathered in Key West, Florida, each January for Key West Race Week, a regatta that has achieved legendary status due to its calendar dates, its location, and the impressive level of competition and racecourse management that this storied event offers. I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for this year’s Quantum KWRW, to learn more.
Posted on 16 Jan
A Q&A with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Race’s new deputy race director
I talked with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Round The World Race’s new deputy race director, to learn more about his role. I was fortunate to sail with Daniel Smith [36, SCO], skipper of “Derry~Londonderry~Doire” for the 2015/2016 edition of the Clipper Round The World Race, when the fleet reached Seattle last spring. Now, Smith has been hired as the event’s deputy race director-a job that will test many of the skills that he polished as a skipper. I caught up with Smith via email to learn more about his new job.
Posted on 9 Jan
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Suck it up, sunshine!
The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour, another two million watching on TV, and the constant buzz and whir of media helicopters overhead. 88 boats, from Australia, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Japan, Korea, China, oh and New Zealand, had lined up on three start lines.
Posted on 31 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - More merriment on the airwaves
Here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and Hobart Race Control So on December 29, 2016, after the River Derwent had let just three boats home (Perpetual Loyal, Giacomo and Scallywag, all inside the old race record, she went to sleep for a lot of the day. This made it frustrating for the sailors, some of whom saw the lighter side. So after seeing some of those in Dark & Stormy, here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and HRC
Posted on 29 Dec 2016