August 26th 2006
Round-Magnetic sailing regatta postponed
Plans for what was to be Australia's richest yachting regatta, which included a race twice around Magnetic Island, set for next weekend, have been postponed due to what race organiser Jeff Jimmieson, described as, "A crux of factors including the unavailability of the (incomplete) Nelly Bay Harbour moorings and a lack of intake of (non-local) entrants."
It appears the glamorous southern-owned maxi-yachts which the event was intended to attract were not prepared to add the Magnetic race to their events' calender at least without more notice. "Adding it on to the Hamilton Island race didn't work. The lead time was just too short" said Jeff Jimmieson who described the decision to call off the event, "One of the toughest I've had to make,"
"With the (Nelly Bay) berths still in the hands of the contractors they were still a building site," he said.
Mr Bob McKay from Gordon Property Developments Australia, who have been installing moorings at Nelly Bay told magnetictimes.com, "We just haven't managed to get the deck on Blue on Blue completed with water and power services. The gangways are ready to go and although labour shortages have been partly the problem we never budgetted for it this early but then thought we might achieve it but our contractor couldn't meet it."
With no entries received from non-local vessels the objective of the organisers, to attract the yachts which are presently participating in the Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island race weeks, was lost and the event postponed until 2007.
According to Jeff Jimmieson, Magnetic Island yachtie and race promoter, Bill McGrath from the Magnetic International Resort was also very disappointed but, "he fully agreed with the decision we made."
Mr McGrath is presently away from Magnetic Island and was unavailable to comment.
Next year the planning will be very much in relation to the Hamilton/Airlie races and it appears that no clear picture has emerged as to what will be the best time: before or after them, for the Magnetic event to be staged. "We will be broadening the committee to include more Island people and when the Townsville Cruising Yacht Club people get back from Hamilton Island we will be holding a meeting to discuss the best times," said Jeff Jimmieson.
"I'm very disappointed," he said, acknowledging that there would be critics, "But going for something less than we purported would have reflected poorly and having discussed it with sponsors and sailors we thought it better to tread water and find a good time."
For the benefit of local sailors the Townsville Club is organising a round-Magnetic race to be held over the weekend but, for Jeff Jimmieson, "A local regatta wouldn't have achieved what we wanted."
"The event will be better for us having made this decision than to go for it at an incomplete location."
Story & photo: George Hirst
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