Yacht rallies are big business to the ports that they visit, with ports vying between each other to win such prizes as the Volvo Round World Race or the big yacht rallies.
Mackay, on the north east coast of Australia is chortling having won the right to host two of the world's great round world yacht rallies next year, the Blue Water Rally and the World ARC.
Contenders for the Australian stop would be Bundaberg, Cairns and Darwin. As a result of the win Mackay will benefit from the visit of around 80 yachts during the year.
About 40 yachts are expected in July when they make their first Australian landfall in the 2012 World ARC, a round-the-world cruising yacht rally, and a similar number will arrive for the Blue Water Rally.
Mackay has not been known as a favoured stopover point for international yachts, with Bundaberg, Cairns and Darwin previously favoured.
Marina manager Ben Anderson told local paper the Daily that Mercury Mackay's selection ahead of Cairns and Darwin was a coup for the city and clear evidence of Mackay's growing international reputation.
'Clearly our reputation as an Australian entry port is growing, and that's due to the quality of our customs and quarantine services and the quality of local suppliers,' Anderson said. 'Their crew members all spend money here, so it's a fantastic outcome for Mackay.'
He said the stopover would be a boon for local business as the yachts were likely to stop in Mackay for a week for maintenance and provisioning.
The ARC Rally will leave St Lucia in the West Indies in January next year, sailing through the Panama Canal to Vanuatu before arriving in Mackay.
'It's about the halfway point in the rally so most of the boats will need to come out of the water for maintenance while they are here.
'Due to quarantine restrictions, boats will have to dump any remaining meat and fresh fruit and vegetables, so there will also be substantial provisions needed,' he said.
About 25 boats have already registered for the event which is open to both monohulls and catamarans from 12 metres.
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