Legend has it that Magnetic Island got its name when Captain Cook exclaimed that the island had a strange magnetic effect on his compass as he sailed through our waters in 1770. Whatever the explanation, there’s no denying that the unique pull exerted by ‘Maggie’ continues to lure crowds in their droves to this quintessential North Queensland coastline.
Now in its twelfth year, the annual SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week continues to be one of the island’s largest draw cards, experiencing growing numbers year on year from regional, national and international guests who come to enjoy a week of first-class competitive racing on the water and an enviable social calendar off it.
It was 2007 when a group of passionate yachties banded together to begin what would become the annual regatta in the magnificent waters of Cleveland Bay, with 25 local yachts taking part in the inaugural race.
SeaLink’s North Queensland General Manager Chris Briggs says it’s the local support that has seen the race go from strength to strength. “To see the growth of the event, the way the community of Magnetic Island embrace it, that has been its strength. It is now the biggest annual event the Island hosts”.
SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week provides a significant boost to our local economy, community and greater Townsville region, with the event now generating over $660,000.
Following on from the Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island Race Weeks as the finale of the Queensland Season of Sailing, the race week is now a highlight in the calendar, with over 50% of the fleet coming from interstate to participate.
With over 60 yachts registered for this year’s regatta so far, more than one thousand competitors and their families are expected to attend this year’s event, presenting fantastic opportunities for North Queensland businesses.
With five days of sailing, the event race director and committee have also added a new course this year, which will see the fleet set sail along our exquisite Strand shoreline on Saturday, 1st September to ensure that the public can revel in the racing action from the best vantage point, bringing the yachts and their colourful spinnakers toward the mainland.
This year’s social line up is just as impressive as the race itself and will incorporate Father’s Day celebrations at Picnic Bay with market stalls, free kids’ activities, on water activities and of course the famous ‘Beer Can Regatta’.
New social additions such as the Beach Retreat at the Picnic Bay Surf Life Saving Club will include live mud crab races and a barbeque, giving patrons a fantastic space to enjoy a Sunday session on the Island. And of course, Peppers Race HQ will be a hot spot where participants and spectators can enjoy stories of the day’s sailing and celebrate the race winners.
If the allure of sun-kissed days spent at one of the East Coasts most picturesque playgrounds sounds like your idea of a good time, rest assured, as you don’t need to be a competitive sailor to participate in the SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week. There truly is something for everyone, from jumping onboard a racing yacht or partying after dark with the crews at one of the many social functions.
The SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week commences on Thursday, 30th August, and continues through until Wednesday, 5th September.