A long way to travel – but Tasmanians love SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week

4 September, 2018

A long way to travel – but Tasmanians love SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week

Three boats and numerous other sailors have made the long distance trip all the way from Tasmania to SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week in Northern Queensland – it’s a regatta that appeals to sailors from all walks of life, from club racers to Olympic and America’s Cup sailors. 

Brett and Jacinta Cooper are here with their family; daughters Jorja 14 and Indy 12, plus Jacinta’s 77 year-old mum, all sailing on the Cooper’s luxury Beneteau 57, Mistraal. They have sailed all the way from Hobart, stopping off at various races along the way.

The Hobart pair has done it all, from local races to the Rolex Sydney Hobart and they have been enjoying Queensland’s ‘norther circuit’, which typically starts with the Sydney Gold Coast Race and finishes here at SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week, Australia’s friendliest and most relaxed regatta, according to all you speak to.

They left home in April and will return home soon. “Oh well,” she says, realising the holiday is coming to an end.

“We first came in 2013. Two apartments were for sale at Peppers and we bought them. Now we come every school holidays – we love it here,” Jacinta says.

“The kids love riding their bikes; that’s what they’re doing now, and swimming, there’s lots to do,” she says.

As to the racing, Jacinta says, “We’re a sea boat, big and heavy, it’s been very light weather, but here it matters less for us. It’s just fun.”

And they do bring new meaning to fun – on the race course. “We had the barby fired up and were cooking prawns and sausages just before the start of the race and it was still going when we started,” she said amid laughter.

Hughie Lewis loving sailing Ponyo - Photo Credit Andrea FrancoliniHusband Brett had just finished up doing the SB20 Nationals in Hobart which he and the crew won. They finished sixth at the Worlds, best of the Aussies.

“We have to go home because I’m campaigning the SB20 Europeans and we need to get training,” Brett says.

“We love it here at Maggie Island. It’s not every day you get to sail with your family. Jorja did offshore races with us from a very young age – she’s crossed Bass Strait. The girls enjoy the boat and sailing it – they’ve done hundreds of miles already with home schooling thrown in.”

Brett says of Magnetic Island Race Week, “This is a laid-back friendly event – and what a venue. We get a private concert every night too,” he says of their berth just behind the stage at Peppers Resort where the entertainment is each night.

Hughie Lewis, a famous Hobart yachtie is here again too. He’s been loaned David Currie’s Farr 40, Ponyo.

“It all started with us offering David our spare main when his was torn at Magnetic Island last year. Now he’s kindly loaned us the boat,” Lewis explains.

He and the crew opted out of IRC Racing and instead are in Spinnaker Division 4. “We want to have fun here – and using David’s boat we don’t want to put ourselves in any situation where we might damage it by sailing in the cut-and-thrust of IRC,” the Tasmanian admits.

“We have a group that doesn’t always sail together, including some friends. We’re ‘Gerry and the Atrics’; we’ve got to get our Zimmer frames on the boat somehow,” he says amid laughter.

Ponyo has had her moments, winning Race 2, but her performances have been up and down in the mainly light airs this week.

For all information including full results:       

By Di Pearson, SMIRW media

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