Oct 1, 2011
The weather has been stunning in the Whitsundays, a gorgeous week of clear blue skies, bright sunshine and a steady warm breeze. The view from my deck takes in Catseye Bay, the Reef View Hotel and Passage Peak. The Fitzalan passage is on my left as I look out one of my favourite views of yachts racing around the Whitsunday Islands.
I sat in this same spot during the Hamilton Island Race Week this year, watching boats of all sizes following each other, tacking their way to the start box. I could hear the creaking of sheets, the snapping of sails and the calls of the skippers as clearly as if I had been on the water. It was fascinating.
The sheer number of boats on the water was awesome to see, but then the big boats came through – Wild Oats XI with its Channel 7 mainsail and Investec Loyal with its Zebra mainsail (a favourite amongst the kids). They towered over the smaller classes but were so nimble as they made their way through the traffic.
During one race start the boats were all huddled in the lee of Passage Peak taking shelter from the strong winds. All classes were bunched together, big and small. It would have looked great from the Reef View Hotel. As each start time arrived, small groups would head out to the start box then turn as one to start the first leg of the race around the Whitsundays. It would have been an adventure for anyone out there, but being a part of all that action would have been an amazing sailing holiday.