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Seawind Whitsunday Rally 2012 - Wrap Up

Seawind Whitsunday Rally 2012

In Seawind Catamarans 30th year, the 6th Seawind Whitsunday Rally was held from 16 to 23 June 2012 with 13 boats participating. It was a rally to remember for its exciting sailing, onshore games and friendly social life. With more Seawinds in Whitsunday charter fleets than any other catamaran brand, it was no surprise that over half of the Seawinds joining the fleet were charter boats, while the remaining boats came from far and wide including as far south as Sydney and Melbourne.

It was appropriate that the first rally night was hosted by Whitsunday Rent A Yacht, the first bareboat charter company established in the Whitsundays. With their outstanding charter and slipway service facilities, located on a backdrop of the beautiful Shute Harbour, the Seawind fleet were welcomed with open arms as the 54 participants enjoyed Whitsunday Rent A Yacht’s hospitality at the ‘Meet the Fleet’ party.

The first days sailing was from Shute Harbour around South Mole Island to Happy Bay. The gate start was opened by the committee Seawind 1160 “LadyL II” provided by Whitsundays Escape. It was skippered by Seawind’s resident Whitsundays and North Queensland Sales Representative Graeme Nolan, with the Seawind “ultimate test sail” contest winners as crew, Christopher Chee, Andrew Farquharson, and Graeme and Heidi Scott.

Cumberland Charter Yachts provided the ‘first shout’ at the Long Island Resort to kick off happy hour. Happy Hour is a tradition amongst cruising sailors who have much in common, with the resilience required to be out there on the high seas and everyone with a unique life story to tell. Dinner was followed by a point scoring Karaoke contest where Seawind 1250 “Reflection” lead by Keith White excelled, which in fact went on and on all night. All boats eagerly participated as the points earned through onshore games contributed to the overall rally championship.

The second day brought with it an invigorating sail to Whitehaven Beach, with Hamilton Island taken to port in 25Kn SE trades. Line honours went to Seawind 1250 “Reflection”, just seconds ahead of Tony Wainwright’s Seawind 1160 “Manyana”. Tonys crew included the other members of the ‘Three Amigos’, Peter Backhouse and Jim Tippett who are the technical support team at the new Seawind Multihull Central Services Marina in Annandale on Sydney Harbour. “Manyana” sailed from Sydney’s Port Hacking in seven days flat, just for the rally.

The highlight of Whitehaven Beach was the infamous blind dinghy race. Blindfolded rowers or paddlers guided by a female crew member, created chaos around a marker buoy and run up the beach. The event was won by Robert Mollah onboard Seawind 1160 syndicate “Trim”, but the fun of this game event had everyone a winner.

It was appropriate that Roland Schmidmaier of Tempo Spars was at the rally onboard Charles Duncan’s Seawind 1160 syndicate “Two Keela Sunset”, in Seawinds 30th year as Tempo Spars was Seawinds first supplier. They have built the rigging for all the boats at the rally. The Seawind Whitsunday Rally is not being the fastest boat… it is about participation, self improvement and learning from other friendly Seawind owners. Whoever you choose as your peer, you can test yourself against and see what they are doing relative to you to gain the best performance from the boats. A little rig and sail tuning makes a vast difference. But there is much more to learn from other Seawind owners than just improving boat performance. Warren and Debbie Kerswill for example have previously owned a Seawind 1000XL and now own a new Seawind 1160. They have sailed from Brisbane to Lizard Island and back, and following the rally they will be sailing to the Louisiades near Papua New Guinea, and have a wealth of information to share with other owners.

Race three was a down wind blast from Whitehaven Beach to Butterfly Bay. The fleet was again led by Seawind 1160 “Manyana” closely followed by Allan Hunter Seawind 1250 “Seawindow“ and Charles Duncan Seawind 1160  “Two Keela Sunset”. Spinnakers or Screeches were not permitted but it was still too tempting for most of the fleet to lean the mainsail on the swept back side stays and run square. We would expect a high performance crew to tack down wind.

Race four was from Stonehaven to Bauer Bay with a gate start. They were brisk 20 to 25Kn wind conditions, on the nose, dividing the fleet on opposite tacks. It required superb judgement to come across the line ahead. A great race with line honours by you know who......Seawind 1160 “Manyana”

Race five was from Bauer Bay around Long Island to starboard and through Unsafe Passage destined for Cid Harbour. It seems Lieutenant James Cook who named Unsafe Passage had a sense of humour intending to mess with the charter industry for ever and a day. The Seawind lesson to be learnt on the downward leg of this race was to keep the tail out of the water and sail on the breast of the hull with everyone forward. By now “Manyana” had the measure of the fleet and with some very close racing was winning line honours.

The point scoring game in Sawmill Bay was the creative sand castles event. The criteria was use of natural resources, teamwork, creativity and appearance. The enthusiasm of everyone participating to have fun was a testament to how much the Seawind fraternity got along so easily. It made for great conversation on our last nights happy hour and pot luck sharing of what food was left over. The winner of the sandcastle event was “Seawindow” mermaid followed closely by “LadyL II” mermaid with a fish head.

Race Six was the final race from Cid to Hamilton Islands with a compulsory first reef. The compulsory first reef was for two reasons. First, because winds exceeding 20Kn were expected. Second, it was an opportunity to explore some new sail settings. The high roach mainsails on Seawind catamaran rigging overpowers the smaller jib in strong conditions, requiring depowering by introducing twist in the mainsail or compensation with excessive weather helm. By reefing, a balanced sail plan can be achieved with a more efficient aerofoil and less drag by the rudder. The result is that reefed Seawind catamarans go faster with less stress on the boat and people when conditions are fresh. Again won by “Manyana” and was clearly the line honours winner but with handicap and game points, would she win the overall rally and become the 2012 Seawind Whitsundays Rally Champion?

The final Presentation Night dinner was held at Manta Ray Cafe on Hamilton Island. There were much merriment and stories to be heard. Every boat won a prize thanks to rally  sponsors  www.austboating.com.au Line Honours 1st went to Tony Wainwright on Seawind 1160 “Manyana”, however the Seawind Whitsunday Rally 2012 Champion was Keith White on Seawind 1250 “Reflection”. This was a remarkable achievement for Keith and his crew on this new Seawind 1250 launched last December. 2nd was Tony Wainwright on “Manyana” and 3rd Warren Kerswill on Seawind 1160 “Phase 2”.

It was a great rally and will return again from 15th to 22nd June next year with some new destinations. The enthusiasm amongst participants, sponsors and Seawind is a message that this is a turning point for the renewal of bareboat charter investment in the Whitsundays and a great location to go sailing with some friends.

what they had to say.......

 “an excellent job running the recent Whitsunday Rally. On the final night there was a standing ovation with everyone applauding.” Derrick Baan, Seawind 1250 “Seawindow”

“thank you for the wonderful times we had … working as a team and loving it … this trip was pivotal to see if this lifestyle would suite us. We have fallen in love with being on the water in a cat.” Graeme and Heidi Scott, Seawind 1160 “LadyL II” and “ultimate test sail” winner.

“I have been so very lucky to have got the chance to get out on a 1160 for a week and have enjoyed the experience thoroughly, great boat … thanks for the late night sailing history nuggets … Jim Cornell's World Cruising, and F Chichester and Slocum's logs” Dr Christopher Chee, Seawind 1160 “LadyL II” and “ultimate test sail” winner.

NOTE on whitsunday charter investment

More than half of the fleet at the 2012 Seawind Whitsunday Rally were made up of bareboat chater catamarans and they performed well in the rally because they are light and well maintained by the six charter operators located in Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour. A bareboat charter catamaran is fully equipped with all the modern convebiences necessary to provide a self-contained holiday aflost, plus provides a great lifestyle investment for its owner in one of the worlds greatest cruising locations.

From the gross revenue raised by a charter company for its boat owners, the common business model distributes approximatley 33% of revenue on marketing, 33% on turnaround and maintenance costs and  returns 33% gross profit before interest payments and depreciation to the charter investor owner. The high residual values of the award winning Seawind Catamarans makes a sound business case not only possible but also enjoyable. With 3-4 weeks allocated in advance per year for the boat owners and unlimited standby, charter boat owners canget sailing experience and knowledge to prepare them for the longer range cruising but within the shelter of the Whitsundays and with the safety net of the charter compnaies located close by.

Charter companies Whitsunday Rent-a-Yacht, Cumberland Charter Yachts and Whitsunday Escape all have vancancies in their fleets for Seawind of various models. For more information or to learn why Seawind are the most popular choice for charter investment in The Whitsundays, contact Graeme Nolan on 0419 255 957 or CLICK HERE

Big Thanks to the Crew of Amour De La Mer for these great videos!

Seawind would like to thank our sponsors for the continued support