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Shag Islet Yacht Club Rendezvous - sounds great but where is it?

by Whitsunday Times/Sail-World Cruising on 31 Aug 2013
Shag Islet (on right) with boats anchored - photo by Nautical Nancy SW
Every year one of the most unusual sailing clubs in the world has another stunningly successful rendezvous. This year was no different.

According to the local newspaper, a total of 170 boats took part in the annual Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club (SICYC)'s rendezvous at Hydeway Bay on the weekend - and $40,000 was raised for prostate cancer research.


From humble beginnings at the first event when $280 was raised, the cruising sailors have now raised more than $80,000 for the cause in five years.

But what is it that makes this club so special? Once you join SICYC, you not only become a Vice Commodore, you also become a Life Member of SICYC. There are no joining or on going annual fees. (But you must buy a shirt).

So where is, and what is Shag Islet, that its club has such generous rules? It is an Islet between Gloucester Island and the mainland. Basically there is nothing on the islet other than Shags, and it can be accessed only at low tide when a small beach is exposed on the southern end. (This doesn't tell you much? Read on...)


Maybe the location can be guessed by the fact that the weekend's event attracted cruising sailors from Canada, the USA and Australia.

One of the best reasons for joining the club is that SICYC does sound rather impressive – combined with the 'Vice Commodore Shirt' and a suitable amount of bluff you should get access to some of the more swanky yacht clubs in the world. (At least until they wake up).

Founder Ken Thackeray said the whole weekend was packed with activities and that those who took part were a wonderful bunch of people.

There were more than 600 people at the party at a nearby resort on Saturday night and guests enjoyed fireworks and a Polynesian dancing show. (Does that give you a clue?)

The club was founded in April 2009 and now has 2500 members. More than 100 people became members on the weekend.

Mr Thackeray said most of the members were between the ages of 40 and 70 and this was also the demographic of people diagnosed with prostate cancer.


He said many of the members were doing their own fundraising on the weekend as most people knew someone who had been touched by the disease.

He said to have 170 yachts take part was a reflection of being in the cruising season and that members contributed in a silent way to the local economy.

Mr Thackeray said the formation of the Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club (SICYC) had simply made these people more visual in the local community.

Still don't know where it is? Well, you could try googling it, but here's the information free: Gloucester Island is off the coastline of North Queensland in Australia at 20 03.8 S 148 26.5 E.

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