September 3rd 2008
Return of the 'White Pearl'
Last year's inaugural Sunferries Magnetic Island Regatta was a very attractive option for skippers with their boats already in the Whitsundays, wanting to enjoy some more northern racing, while waiting for the trade winds turn for an easy trip south.
The team on Mooloolaba's 42 foot sloop White Pearl cruised north from Airlie Beach to explore the waters off Townsville and they sailed their elegant Simonis 42 to a third place in their Cruising Division at the 2007 Sunferries' Magnetic Island Race Week.
A year later, White Pearl owners Tracey Johnstone and Gary McCarthy have once again raced in the Airlie Beach Regatta and have headed 110 nautical miles north to Magnetic Island again.
Tracey explained the Magnetic attraction. 'Well it's warmer for a start. Just those extra few miles into the dry tropics provides much warmer winter sailing, with clear blue skies and flat water around a stunning island.
'Magnetic Island has great facilities. It's a very interesting place and we'd like to spend more time exploring it.'
'The regatta management is excellent. Race Director Denis Thompson is nationally respected. He brings all of his expertise to the event helping to ensure the on-water side of the regatta is professionally managed.
'The racing is great, tactically challenging with lots of coastal hugging and a few rocks to clear. We enjoyed racing around the bay and around the island last year. The views of the island were stunning making it just all that more enjoyable.
'The social side of the regatta is almost too good. The locals go out of their way to ensure the foreigners are more than welcome. Maybe they lead us a bit astray on the rum side of things.
'We are back to race this year in the cruising spinnaker division. The crew of Melbourne, Sydney, Mooloolaba and Townsville sailors are fired up, ready to race and party.
'Our biggest challenge will be to beat the Holy Cow team. We started well this regatta season doing well at Meridien Marina's Airlie Beach Race Week and we know Holy Cow did well again at Audi Race Week at Hamilton Island so it will be a fun battle, with a good fleet overall.
'We plan to be back again next year. White Pearl is up for sail and we are heading for Cape Town in October, to look at a racing boat from the same designer, so we'd like to back with White Pearl II in the racing division in 2009.'
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