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PRESS RELEASE                                                                                                 8 August, 2017

SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week: Entrants prepare for a week of fun and sun

Entries for Townsville Yacht Club’s SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week have reached 65 and most are already gearing up for a week of sailing, soaking up sun and catching up with friends for the final northern regatta, held during the first week of spring.

It does not cost an arm or a leg to compete at the event, set at the 52 square kilometre Magnetic Island, named in 2009 as one of Queensland’s 150 icons for its role as a ‘Natural attraction’. Located off Townsville, it is hard to beat the beauty of the Island and its surrounds. The natives are very welcoming and the accommodation, well, it’s pretty perfect, the centrepiece of racing and all social activities.    

So far, the Cruising Spinnaker/PHS boasts the largest number to-date, with 45 entered, including Angus Fletcher, back to defend his Division 1 title with Tevake II. This sleek 17 year-old Radford 13.7m is a seasoned campaigner, according to her Victorian owner.

“We’ve successfully completed in the 2006 and 2010 Melbourne to Vanuatu races, the 2006 Vanuatu to Mackay; 2006, 2010 and 2014 Sydney to Hobarts; six Melbourne to Hobart West Coasters and numerous shorter Bass Strait races,” Fletcher says.

Notable results in recent years include line honours in the 2010 Melbourne to Vanuatu and back-to-back overall wins in the 2012 and 2013 Melbourne to Hobart West Coasters. He has also competed at Airlie Beach Race Week and the past two Magnetic Island Race Weeks.

“I’m looking forward to the race up to Keppel, then Airlie Beach and Magnetic Island Race Weeks,” the Victorian said.

Joining Tevake II are fellow ‘returnees’ Sydney yachties, Peter Lowndes and Sarah Goddard-Jones, with their Lyons 49 Wine Dark Sea.

The couple famously raced with their cats Smudge and Noodles at ‘Maggie’ Island Race Week last year, but the felines will be missing in action this time.

“We started our trip around Australia in April and after the two months practice last year, we decided the cats were not really enjoying the long distance cruising (though they loved the racing), so before we left, we found them a new home with loving new parents,” Lowndes says.

Lowndes otherwise confirms the crew is similar to last year: “We’re delighted to have Karyn Gojnich on board again. She represented Australia at three Olympic Games, is a board member of Australian Sailing and in 2015 was elected Vice President of the Oceania Sailing Federation. She’s put so much back into sailing.”  

Goddard-Jones adds: “Similar to last year, we have a largely female crew, with just three token males (including Pete) – one more than last year. Most are our regulars from Sydney racing, and we’re very much looking forward to seeing everyone again.  From Maggie, Pete’s parents will join us to sail the next leg of our trip, heading up to Gove in the Northern Territory.

On the social scene, breakfast is a friendly affair at Peppers Resort restaurant. At the Opening Night Welcome, rock band Dr Jack on Pepper’s Deck will kick-start the nightly entertainment, while drinks and a prize giving daily following racing is accompanied by the day’s highlights, made more fun by a running commentary from TV personality Scotty Hillier.

The presentation night buffet dinner at Peppers closes the week, with lots of fun activities in between, including a cocktail night at Townsville Yacht Club. See ‘Social Events’ on the official website for the day by day program.

SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week is open to IRC, PHS, Cruising in Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker yachts, Trailable Yachts, Sports Boats along with divisions for Multihull Racing and Multihull Cruising boats. 

The current crop of entries represent Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and NSW.

By Di Pearson, SMIRW media

 

PRESS RELEASE                                                                                               19 July, 2017

SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week: Cape Upstart stopover back on the menu

Because it was so well-received in 2016, SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week organisers are planning to host the Cape Upstart stopover again this year, for boats travelling from Airlie and/or Hamilton Island to SMIRW. 

“Cape Upstart is totally unique to this event,” Mike Steel, Event Chairman and Townsville Yacht Club (TYC) Director said of the event which was added to the calendar for the first time last year.

“It’s a great way for competitors, particularly those from interstate who are travelling from other regattas to unwind and get to know each other. It was a lot of fun and is a great way to start our regatta off,” he said.

“Richard and Karen Bonato kindly host and cater this BBQ event for the Club, opening their home at Cape Upstart to welcome yachties. Richard is not a yachtie, rather a motor boat owner, who is thrilled to share his piece of paradise.

“Cape Upstart is inaccessible by land, so the Club ferries competitors ashore from their yachts moored off the beach. We had around 100 attending last year and everyone made the most of the night, including a big bonfire.”

Steel’s comments are endorsed by Victorian yachtsman Mark Chew, who participated and took photos before racing his beautiful classic timber boat, Fair Winds’, at Magnetic Island last year: “It was a wonderful night with a big fire on the beach. It was really beautiful gesture,” he recalled.

“Competitors only had to supply the drinks,” he said of the memorable evening that combined convivial company and a seafood BBQ provided by the Club set amid some of the most spectacular scenery on offer in Australia.

TYC will send an invitation for Cape Upstart to all registered boat owners in August and also has other social events in the pipeline, while Queensland television personality, Scott Hillier, returns to film and comment live on the action at the daily prize giving. 

To-date, TYC has received 55 entries from monohull and multihull owners. Among them are two ‘ten timers’ for the 11th running of SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week, which will be raced from 31 August until 6 September.  

TYC members Stanley Barnes with his Supersonic 27, Librian and Mike Steel, again skippering his Dufour 36, Boadicca have not missed since the event’s inception. Not far behind them is Ian Johnson’s Salacia with nine, while Doug Ryan (Shazam), Graeme Etherton (The Boat) and Jack Maguire (Zen) have each attended eight.

The event is open to IRC, PHS, Cruising in Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker yachts, Trailable Yachts, Sports Boats along with divisions for Multihull Racing and Cruising boats. 

Entries close on Thursday 24th August 2017, so enter now to race against the current crop of 55 representing Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and NSW.

Enter online via the official website:  www.magneticislandraceweek.com.au/    

By Di Pearson, SMIRW media

PRESS RELEASE                                                                                                13 June, 2017

‘Never a Dull Moment’ at SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week

There is ‘never a dull moment’ at SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week, just ask returnees Colin and Denise Wilson, enduring owners of a yacht bearing that name who enjoy the scenic racing on the Coral Sea and the fun times the event offers.

“It’s the happiest regatta in Australia,” Colin pronounces. Wife, Denise, concurs.

“We were having withdrawal symptoms,” Denise says, explaining their last appearance in 2014 when they finished second overall to Peter Jones’ Spirit of Mateship in the PHS class, which they have elected to sail in again in 2017. 

Colin adds, “The reason we love it so much is because it’s so relaxing. Everyone is happy and the camaraderie is second to none. We love the friendly atmosphere. Everything is two minutes away – accommodation, restaurant, bar, the marina. And it’s all first-class, but doesn’t cost the earth. 

The Sydney couple who have sailed all the major’s on the Eastern seaboard with their MKL49, Never A Dull Moment over many years, also enjoys the relaxed and welcoming nature of event organisers, Townsville Yacht Club - and the social program the Club takes pains to organise.

“It’s something different every year. I remember the first time we went they organised Cane Toad races – each boat was given one to race. It was hilarious. We also love the evening prize giving sessions,” Denise says.

“You can sit an enjoy a coffee watching for the postponement flag to come down; jump on board when it does and then motor to the start line in a couple of minutes. You can’t beat it,” Colin adds with a big smile on his face.

He has only one complaint. “Everyone wants to crew for us at Magnetic Island - we actually have to knock people back - we have a waiting list. Usually I am scraping to find a full crew at away events.” 

The Wilsons, from Sydney, are looking forward to first racing at Airlie Beach Race Week and then the sail up to SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week, this year to be held from 31 August until 6 September. They were in the throes of taking advantage of the Peppers Blue on Blue Resort 15% discount off the Bed and Breakfast fully serviced price when we spoke to them.

The offer is available for 7 x 3 bedroom apartments (up to six people); 3 x Studio Superiors (two people); 5 x Hotel Superiors (2 people), inclusive of 15 rooms with marina views, with a daily hot buffet breakfast, daily housekeeping service thrown in. 

The offer, subject to room availability, ends 30th June 2017 unless sold sooner and must be booked direct, by calling the resort on: 07 47 582 400. Quote ‘Magnetic Island Race Week Early Bird Special’ to receive this special. Don’t miss out.

Magnetic Island is a scenic 20 minute ride from Townsville. The Island’s marina (a two minute walk from the ferry) and its first–class facilities can cater for over 100 boats.

The event is open to IRC, PHS, Cruising in Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker yachts, Trailable Yachts, Sports Boats along with divisions for Multihull Racing and Cruising boats. 

At the time of writing, 44 entries have been received, representing Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and NSW.

For online entry and NoR, visit the official website:  www.magneticislandraceweek.com.au/    

By Di Pearson, SMIRW media

Further information: Di Pearson, SLMIRW media manager, phone: 0410 792 131

PRESS RELEASE - 17 May 2017

The cat is out of the bag, Townsville sailors are going to work some early pre-event training into their schedules in an effort to outsail their interstate counterparts when SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week gets underway on the last day of August.

The 11th running of ‘Maggie Island’ Race Week will be held from 31 August to 6 September and members from the host, Townsville Yacht Club (TYC), are buoyed up and ready to rumble ahead of the Coral Sea classic.

"A few of us are headed to Quicksilver Port Douglas Race Week this month. It will be a good opportunity to put in some racing practice outside of our Townsville Yacht Club races,” TYC’s Rear Commodore, Tony Muller, confirms. “We have six boats making up the fleet of 11 in Division 1 for this year’s event.” 

Included in the “few of us” who will take part at both events is Muller, with his Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409, ‘Brava’, as he is keen to successfully defend his Cruising Spinnaker Division 1 title of last year at Magnetic Island.

Doug Ryan's Beneteau 44.7, 'Shazam', winner of the title in 2015 will also be on both start lines. Ryan is extremely familiar with the waters of these events, having lived in Port Douglas, where he was commodore of Port Douglas Yacht Club, before settling at Magnetic Island.

And while Mal and Sylvia Pirret only occasionally race during the TYC season with their perfectly named Beneteau Oceanis 45, 'Champagne', they are likely to be strong competition and have competed at Port Douglas Race Week to prepare over these past few years.

Other ‘Maggie Island’ regulars from TYC who have confirmed they will race at Port Douglas include Wayne Millar and his Murray 41, ‘Zoe,’ well-known for their participation in all the major regattas and races in eastern Australian.

Meanwhile, Mike Steel, Townsville Yacht Club’s Event Chairman for Magnetic Island Race Week, is feeling grateful they can go ahead with the event at all, because the region was incredibly left untouched by Cyclone Debbie.

“We all bunkered down for Cyclone Debbie, but all we saw were gusts to 30 knots. Fortunately for Townsville and the Magnetic Island region, we escaped unscathed,” Steel commented.

“We were lucky to be on the northern side of the system, unlike our neighbours in the Whitsundays and Airlie Beach, who experienced excessive damage.

“Thankfully, North Queenslanders have bounced back and we’ll see all three northern regattas run as per plan. 

“Many of Townsville’s businesses have been busy assisting residents and businesses to get back on track, so I expect by August, much of the damage will just be a memory,” ended Steel who will again bring his Dufour 36, ‘Boadicca’ to the start line at Magnetic Island.

Prospective competitors are reminded there is still a little time to take advantage of the Peppers Blue on Blue Resort 15% discount off the Bed and Breakfast fully serviced price.

The offer, subject to room availability, ends 30 June 2017, unless sold prior and must be booked direct, by calling the resort on: 07 47 582 400. Quote ‘Magnetic Island Race Week Early Bird Special’ to receive this special. Don’t miss out. 

At this early stage, entries from Queensland, NSW and Victoria exceed 20. The event is open to IRC, PHS, Cruising in Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker yachts, Trailable Yachts, Sports Boats along with divisions for Multihull Racing and Cruising boats. 

Discounted Early Bird entry closes on 31 May, so enter now via the official website:  www.magneticislandraceweek.com.au/     

By Di Pearson, SMIRW media

PRESS RELEASE                                                                              14 March, 2017

Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week entry open – 40th and 80th birthdays for first entrants

Online entry to Townsville Yacht Club’s 2017 Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week is open, with the first entry coming from Akarana as she celebrates her 40th birthday while her owner, Ian Hamilton, is to celebrate his 80th during the September event.

Celebrations for Akarana, known to all regulars at Magnetic Island, have already begun, according to the owner’s daughter, Vicki, who is now skippering the yacht.

“In 2013 there was a changing of the guard,” says Vicki, who has not looked back since taking over from her father, who at 79 still enjoys being involved.

“Dad turns 80 on the 2nd of September, so he’ll be aboard to celebrate during Maggie Island Race Week. He’s really looking forward to it. He loves to sail,” says Ian’s daughter, who only has to cross the water between Townsville and Magnetic Island to compete.

So a double celebration is imminent at the 11th running of Sealink Magnetic Island, to be held from 31 August to 6 September. And the dress-up themes the crew has become renowned for will be on again, although the Hamiltons remain tight-lipped but promise they will not disappoint.

“You’ll just have to wait and see,” says Vicki, whose crew enters into the spirit of the event wholeheartedly. Previous themes have included Barbie in 2009, cowboys in 2010, 1970s rock stars in 2011, sexy pirates in 2013, Mexican fiesta in 2015 and last year it was burlesque (dad Ian took centre stage in a tux).

Akarana, a Farr 1104, was designed to the IOR rule as a rule beater by the eminent Bruce Farr. “The hull was state of the art in those days, being fibre, built of foam sandwich with a steel frame, but has since been reconstructed in laminated hardwood,” Vicki says.

She was trucked from Compass yachts Sydney in October 1976, fitted out in Townsville by Ian Hamilton and launched in 1977 in time for the annual Easter Ocean race from Townsville to Dunk Island, which she won.

Rated as a one tonner, she went on as to win the Mooloolaba 79 SCOR series and followed up with success in the inaugural Gladstone to Cairns race and subsequent Cairns to Moresby race.

Since then, Akarana has been a regular in TYC races with moderate results. Vicki sailed her to third overall in Cruising Division 2 at Magnetic Island Race Week last year, nine years after her father Ian became a divisional winner at the inaugural event.

Over the years Akarana has sustained her share of damages. The shortlist includes five booms, three masts, three motors and two rudders, but the Hamiltons enthusiasm never wanes.  

Vicki and her crew wouldn’t miss Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week for quids.

“It’s a relaxed and fun event and dressing up adds to that feel. We love it. We use the event to also enjoy a holiday. It’s so easy to get to, but like another world. It’s a great way to have an island holiday with your mates. It’s my ‘play up time’ of the year. 

“My kids used to call it ‘Mum’s naughty weekend away,” she adds, laughing. “It’s a week of fun with my crew mates, mostly women – I didn’t plan it that way - it just evolved. They’re very experienced now, capable, so I enjoy pushing them. They gain more confidence that way.”

Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week enjoys the distinction of closing the northern circuit of major sailing events each year. It attracts entries from Australia wide. It is a wonderful way to wind down before heading home or back to work. With divisions for IRC and Performance Racing, Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker Cruising, along with multihulls, this event is growing in stature by reputation.

Director of Townsville Yacht Club, competitor and Event Chairman, Mike Steel, reminds prospective competitors: “Peppers Blue on Blue Resort is offering a 15% discount off the Bed and Breakfast fully serviced price, but the offer is subject to room availability and ends 30 June, 2017, unless sold sooner.

“Bookings must be made direct with the resort by calling 07 47 582 400 and quote ‘Magnetic Island Race Week Early Bird Special’. I urge competitors to book as quickly as possible to avoid disappointment,” Steel said.

Don’t miss this fabulous event. For all information, including social events and information, visit the official website:  www.magneticislandraceweek.com.au/    

By Di Pearson, SMIRW media

Further information: Di Pearson, SLMIRW media manager, phone: 0410 792 131

PRESS RELEASE                                                                              31 January, 2017

First in best dressed for extended 2017 Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week

Event organisers from Townsville Yacht Club have responded positively to pleas for Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week to be extended, so the popular regatta has been stretched to six days in 2017, and to celebrate, Peppers Blue on Blue Resort is offering a substantial discount for those who book early.

As is usual, Race Week will close the northern circuit, following Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island Race Weeks. The new regatta dates for the 11th running of the event are 31 August to 6 September. There is strong indication an increase in numbers from last year’s record fleet is on the cards, as news of the fun regatta has scattered near and far.

Mike Steel, Event Chairman and a director of Townsville Yacht Club said, “Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week is the perfect ending to the northern circuit and we understood competitors’ wishes for an extra day of racing, so have accommodated them.

Steel continued: “We commend Peppers Blue on Blue Resort offering a 15% discount off the Bed and Breakfast fully serviced price, including a welcome drink voucher per person in their popular Boardwalk Bar,” he said of the deal.

This offer is available for 7 x 3 bedroom apartments (up to six people); 3 x Studio Superiors (two people); 5 x Hotel Superiors (2 people), inclusive of 15 rooms with marina views, inclusive of daily hot buffet breakfast, daily housekeeping service and marina view rooms. 

The offer, subject to room availability, ends 30th June 2017, unless sold sooner and must be booked direct, by calling the resort on: 07 47 582 400. Quote ‘Magnetic Island Race Week Early Bird Special’ to receive this special.

“The Notice of Race will be available on line from mid-February and entry will open from 1st March for both monohull and multihull boats,” said Steel, who is a great advertisement for Race Week as a regular with his Dufour 36 ‘Boadicca’.   

In fact Townsville Yacht Club is well represented at Magnetic Island Race Week. Vice Commodore Ian Johnson competes with his multihull Salacia, Rear Commodore Tony Muller with his monohull Brava and Director, Vicki Hamilton with her Akarana, joining their many fellow club members on the water.

The joy of Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week is it is a perfect way to end winter and enter spring in Queensland, not to mention the relaxed fun factor infusing the regatta, where every activity is centred around Peppers Blue on Blue – meaning a two minute walk to everywhere.

The fleet moors at the resort, which features fabulous dining and a bar, while the race start area is a mere five minute motor away. And the course area is nothing short of spectacular, the scenery is special. The ferry between the Island and Townsville is also a two minute walk, as are buses and local shops.  

Adding to the atmosphere of this unique event is those crews who dress in theme, something different each day. It adds to the fun and frivolity of the regatta. However, it is professionally organised and run, with Denis Thompson and his race management team keeping racing on an even keel.  

After racing, you will find competitors ashore at Peppers Blue for a couple drinks and the daily prize giving, hosted by TV personality, Scotty Hillier, before nipping to their rooms to change for the evening entertainment and dinner at the resort. Some opt to cook and entertain friends ‘at home’, or walk/bus to the local restaurants. It couldn’t be simpler.      

For all information, including social events and information on Magnetic Island, visit the official website:  www.magneticislandraceweek.com.au/    

By Di Pearson, SMIRW media

Further information and high res pics: Di Pearson, media manager, phone: 0410 792 131

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