Latest Sydney Hobart race winner sailing at Magnetic Island Race Week

2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart winner Victoire turning south at the Heads
A Coup for SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week with news that Victoire, the overall winner of the 2013 Sydney Hobart, will be sailing at this year’s series.

Running from August 28 until September 2, 2014 and part of Sail Townsville, this will be the eighth time the regatta has showcased both Far North Queensland’s famous hospitality and its magnificent, sparkling waters.

Daryl Hodgkinson, skipper of Victoire
Victoire’s skipper, Daryl Hodgkinson said today, 'We're absolutely doing Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week. Our accommodation is all sorted and there is a lot of enthusiasm amongst the crew. Hamilton Island is not part of our programme, but we are doing Airlie Beach, along with the feeder events to get us up there. It's all about enjoying our sailing and having something new in our calendar, which is just fantastic. It's really good to have other things to look forward to. The Hobart is not the be all and end all, so we are in a fortunate position now and can go off to chase some of our other goals'.

The quality of the entries says a lot about the growing importance of the event. Last year Bob Steel, the dual Sydney to Hobart winner, last year sailed his magnificent TP52, Quest, to victory at Magnetic Island Race Week. He said today, 'We all really enjoyed the regatta. It’s a lot of fun. From our hotel rooms to the start line took just 10 minutes. During the intervening time back in Sydney I've been telling everyone that Magnetic Island is a ‘Must Do’ regatta, which is part of the reason why Daryl is going to do it this year.'

Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week concludes the Season of Sailing, which began on the Gold Coast in March. Sponsored by Tourism and Events Queensland, the winner is presented with the Season of Sailing Cup after the cessation of racing at Magnetic Island. Last year’s winner was the Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, which is the organising authority for the Sydney Hobart.

Howard Piggott’s Beneteau First 40, Flying Cloud, collected the prize after their good result in the final leg of the Season of Sailing. 'Magnetic Island is a great venue, offering terrific sailing waters, with very hospitable and friendly people, and to cap it all off, there is awesome, close competition. What a location! At the 2013 regatta, the Sou'easter Trade Winds were the best on offer during the whole period. This is one event you should do', said Piggott, who was very enthusiastic about Magnetic Island Race Week and along with Bob Steel, returns for 2014.

Also back for more is International Race Officer, Denis Thompson. Indeed Thompson has been managing the on-water affairs of Magnetic Island Race Week for all of the previous seven years. In 2014, the following categories are offered - IRC for the dedicated racers, Performance Handicap System, Cruising with and also without Spinnaker, as well as Multihull Racing and Cruising. Multihull entries continue to grow at all major regattas and Magnetic Island is to be no different. For five days, the various types of sailing will race in Cleveland Bay, together with laid windward/leeward courses and the spectacular Around the Island Race.

With such a high level of interest then, it is little wonder that there are boats already entered in many of the categories. Leon Thomas from the Townsville Cruising Yacht Club is bringing his new-to-him Farr40, Guilty Pleasures IV. They will certainly be keen to take on the other 40-somethings, which is one of the most competitive fleets, right around Australia. Also representing Townsville is Mike Steel and his boat, Boadicea. Steel has also recently upgraded and now skippers a Dufour 36.

In this part of the world, the cruising divisions are always popular. Cruising with Spinnaker’s first entrants are Townsville’s own, No Legends, which is Guy Carton’s Wright 10 (metre) and all the way from Pittwater, NSW, comes L’esprit. The latter is Peter Byford’s new Jeanneau 469 Sun Odyssey. Now to keep things really simple, berthing for entrants at Nelly Bay Harbour is included and charter vessels are being sought, currently.

Please contact the Townsville Cruising Yacht Club for more information regarding charters on (07) 4772 1192.

Entries close on August 22 with the Notice of Race and all other information available from the Event website.

It’s not all about sailors, however. Spectators will be able to see the boats during the Community Day at Arcadia (Sunday), as well as competing in the Strand Bay Race, where there are many vantage points along The Strand, which is on August 29. Kiteboarding, Discover Sailing and the North Queensland Schools Championship round out the activities that form Sail Townsville.