Sailors Gather For Island Race

TOUGH COMPETITION: Diva crew racing on Saturday of the SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week.

The sixth annual SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week was held from August 31 to September 4, attracting a crowd of  sailors and their yachts from around Australia. 

By Emma Kennedy

Records were broken, seas were choppy and beers were downed at the SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week.

Sixty yachts made their way to the island for five days of racing at the annual regatta, with five divisions providing tough competition.

Townsville boat Zoe with crewman Wes Bailey, competed in the Grand Prix division and while Bailey didn’t receive a final placing, he said the experience of competing at home was unique.

“It’s always good having a regatta in our hometown.

“The crew have done a bit of travelling with sailing over the years and it’s good to be able to come back and compete in our home waters,” he said.

“It’s a pretty laid-back, very social regatta – it’s good to bring some boats from out of town and mix it with the locals to showcase the local area.”

HARD AT WORK: Zoe crew pulling down their Spinnaker on Saturday at the race week.

The little boat that could

Small Townsville boat Diva proved one to keep an eye on in the PHS Racing division , with consistent ‘bookend’ results, either at the top or bottom of the board.

Diva finished the regatta mid-fleet in sixth place.

Skipper Dennis Coleman said people often underestimated the seven-metre Boatspeed 23 because of its size.

“I think we’ve surprised a lot of people this year.

“People write the little boat off all the time,” he said.

On day three Mr Coleman said the handicap scoring proved problematic.

“We’ve gotten two firsts and a last (so far),” he said.

“The handicap is what’s catching us.”

TOUGH COMPETITION: Diva crew racing on Saturday of the SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week.

Crew member Scott McInerny put his hand up as the bad luck charm, if history would have had its way.

“It’s my fourth attempt on this boat,” he said.

“The first time it broke, the second time I didn’t make it, the third time we broke and this time we haven’t broken yet.

“This little boat is suited to these winds of about 12 to 18 knots though – it’s very light but very heavy so it’s a lot of work.”

Crewman Steve Suters said he was pleased with Diva’s position in the regatta.

“Our top speed was 14 knots and we didn’t flip it over and we didn’t break anything,” he said.

“It’s always a good day when nobody is injured and nothing is broken – it’s nice, calm sailing and everyone gets along.”

South Australian boat shows what it’s made of

Multihull division winner, South Australian boat Gneisenau, was a surprise to everyone travelling the furthest to attend the regatta and blitzing the competition.

Skipper Ross McOmish said the Magnetic Island Race Week was a fantastic regatta and very well organised.

Gneisenau crewman Reimas Kambuts put the win down to having fun on the water with a few mates.

“Sailing’s all about camaraderie, the people you meet, the fun you have afterwards and the fun you have on the water,” he said.

“Everyone gets serious when you’re out there but the thing is you’ve got to work as a crew and I think us three work together pretty well.”

Mr McOmish said for an event that only began six years ago, it had an impressive following.

“Everything starts small and builds,” he said.

“We will definitely go back telling people to come next year.”