As starter for this year's event Susie DOUGLAS will be aboard the glamorous Maritimo 60, which will serve as a VIP start boat. The Maritimo 60 was named recently by the Australian Marine Industries Federation as Australia's Cruiser of the Year and Boat of the Year. The start vessel is the personal boat of Maritimo's founder Bill BARRY-COTTER. The Southport Yacht Club will assist at the start with the CYCA.
'I am very grateful to Maritimo for providing such a beautiful boat and to Councillor DOUGLAS for making herself available for the start,' says Dale ROBINSON, the Mackay-based Chairman of the Race Committee and former Commodore of the Mackay Yacht Club. 'Also for the assistance of the Southport Yacht Club.'
The inaugural Southport to Mackay Blue Water Yacht Race took place in 2003. It was timed to dovetail between the well-established Sydney Gold Coast Race and mid-August regattas at Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island. 'It was a natural transition race from Sydney to the Whitsundays,' said former CYCA Commodore Martin JAMES.
In 2004, the CYCA offered to assist the Mackay Yacht Club with the demanding administration requirements of the race including the entries and the safety documentation.
Although only three years old, the 530 nautical mile race has received acclaim from some of Australia's top sailors. Members of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, one of the premier ocean racing clubs in Australia and host of the Sydney to Hobart Race have stated it is 'one of the best racing tracks in the world' with challenging runs through the islands of the Capricorn Coast and the lower Whitsundays and a stunning array of wildlife as they sail with the migrating whales. The fledgling race also attracted several sailors from Victoria.
These sailors include Ludde Ingvall, skipper of the inaugural winner 'Nicorette', CYCA Vice Commodore Roger Hickman, one time Ocean Racing Sailor of the Year, who is back this year for third time, last year's line honours winner Andrew Short, also back this year with his brother Matthew and second time entrant Michael Hiatt from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria. Michael Hiatt has a brand new Cookson 52 called 'Living Doll'. The yacht is a strong contender for this year's line honours and a possible record breaking run along with second time entrant 'Seriously Ten', a Volvo 60 offering major competition.
Last week (Thursday July 28, 2005) the CYCA announced a new 'super race' from Sydney to Mackay starting in July next year as the feeder race to the Whitsunday events. It will supersede the existing Sydney to Gold Coast Race, which will be run in April and the Southport to Mackay Blue Water Race.
Chairman of the Race Committee, Dale Robinson, and former Commodore of the Mackay Yacht Club says, 'This can only have great benefits for Mackay. These yacht races bring crews and their families to the area. This offers enormous benefits to local communities.
'We always believed the race would be a success, not only for keen yachtsmen, but for Mackay too,' he said. 'This year, the Queensland Government has recognised our efforts with funding through the Queensland Regional Development Fund and its partner Telstra Country Wide.'
To date nine boats have entered the 2005 race. These include the sole Queensland entry 'Wedgetail', 'Antipodes City Pacific', 'Seriously Ten', 'Redline', 'Short Shipped' and 'Club Marine ASM', two Farr 40's, sailed by Andrew and Matthew Short, Roger Hickman's Farr 43 'Wild Rose', and 'Ocean Skins', a refurbished timber sloop and the aforementioned 'Living Doll'.