No better place to go sailing than North Queensland in the winter

The fleet racked up at the Magnetic Island Marina. (Credit Glimmer Photography)
The 8th SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week, on from 28th August through to 2nd September 2014, will be where racers and cruisers come together to have some serious fun in a stunning location.

Magnetic Island, which is located just off the north Queensland city of Townsville, is picturesque as well as challenging. In late August the sun is out, the whales offshore and the island alive with sailors and their friends. On the water, the warm winds of spring are already pumping ensuring both great sailing conditions and a test for the tactically-minded navigator. Slipping in and out of the pristine bays, keeping clear of the occasional low-set rock and waving to the spectators on the shore are all part of the excitement of Magnetic Island Race Week.

This year’s event will be held over five days in seven class – IRC, PHS, Cruising Spinnaker, Cruising Non Spinnaker, Sports Boats, Multihull Racing and Multihull Cruising.

Racing will again be under the management of International Race Officer, Denis Thompson, who has been with the event since its first year.

The courses will be a mix of Cleveland Bay races, windward/leewards and the highlight, the Around the Island Race.

All the event details are in the Notice of Race, here. The online entry is now open and available here. Entries will close on Friday 22nd August 2014.

The event organisers have only made a few changes from last year’s race program. Racing starts on Friday 29th August with the Strand Bay Race. This race gives the local community the chance to engage with the event by drawing them down to good viewing locations along the Strand to cheer on the competitors.

On Sunday only a few of the classes will be racing on the bay. Alongside the big boats there will be Community Day at Arcadia where there will be a Discover Sailing session and the kiteboarders racing in front of the beach displaying their colours and exciting speed.

The Parties

The main onshore meeting point will be at Peppers Blue on Blue. This is where the crews will get together after each race day to debrief over a cool drink and enjoy exceptional North Queensland hospitality.

On the Saturday night there will be a Party Night at Arcadia, just a short walk from Peppers or a free bus ride to and from the beach location. The theme will be around the sailors and the community with the rest of the party details being kept hush-hush until the sailors arrive at the venue.

Berthing

All Race Week entrants will be berthed in Nelly Bay Harbour, right next to Peppers Blue on Blue, with the berth fee included in the event entry fee.

Charter

The event organisers are working on making some charter boats available for the event. Condor from Airlie Beach is likely to be in the fleet and available for corporate sailing. The Airlie Beach Beneteau agents have been also been approached. The final details of available charter boats is being worked out by the chair of the Sail Townsville and Magnetic Island Race Week, Paul Victory.

Whose coming ?

There are a number of new Townsville-based boats which will be competing. Townsville Cruising Yacht Club’s Leon Thomas has sold his old Sydney 38 Guilty Pleasures and replaced it with a Farr 40, of the same name. He will no doubt be looking forward to taking on Wayne Millar’s Zoe.

Fellow club member Mike Steel has upgraded to a Dufour 36, called Boadicca, and is another starter.

Two cruising entries have been received already - Royal Prince Alfred’s Peter Byford with his Jeanneau 49 L’Espirt, and Townsville Cruising Yacht Club’s Guy Carton with his Wright 10, No Legends.

Race Weeks supporter Jason Antill will return this year bringing with him his Dufour Team.

Mooloolaba Yacht Club’s Mark Jacobsen plans to bring his Sydney 38, Hasta La Vista, to Magnetic Island for the first time. 'We are going to do Airlie Beach Race Week and then head up to Magnetic Island. It will be good regatta to bring along my wife and kids,' Jacobsen said.

With Sydney big boat skippers, Quest’s Bob Steel and Flying Cloud’s Howard Piggott, singing the praises of Magnetic Island Race Week, the event organisers expect a solid number of entries from southern Queensland and south of the border.

Sail Townsville

The 2nd Sail Townsville will be on again from 23rd August to 2nd September. Sail Townsville’s activities wrap around the major event of the regatta, the Magnetic Island Race Week.

Sail Townsville is designed to broaden the whole experience of racing at Townsville in the late winter period. Victory explains that the forward plan for Sail Townsville is to attract different classes to compete and for the event to expand to two to three weeks.

'For the last couple of years we have been on a chase for world championships events. This year we have been chasing the Laser World Championships, but we haven’t secured them just yet. For 2015 we have secured some national events and we are still chasing some more world championship type activity as well,' Victory said.

For 2014, the program will include international kiteboarding which will run in the week leading up and during the Magnetic Island Race Week, a Tasar class championship event and the North Queensland Schools Championship.

Season of Sailing

The Magnetic Island Race Week is the final event in Tourism Queensland’s Season of Sailing program. The winner of that prestigious award will be presented their trophy at the completion of racing at Magnetic Island.

For more SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week information, go to www.magneticislandraceweek.com.au!SeaLink_Magnetic_Island_Race_Week