Win earns free beer year
YACHTS, tinnies, outrigger canoes and recreational fishing boats lined up in the Dixon Inlet yesterday for the “ritual” blessing of the fleet race around Low Isles to celebrate Australia Day.
Boating lovers and spectators sipped cold beers at the Port Douglas Combined Club to witness the 49th winner of the historical race and watch the boats be blessed by Father Paul Beasley.
The winner of the handicap honours was awarded to the skipper who estimated the finish time closest to their actual finish time at the end of the race.
This year’s winner was Jon Burnett, skipper of the Pearl “HB” Lugger boat, which crossed the finish line with an actual finish time of (14:28:44) when estimating a finish time of (14:29:00).
As the victorious winner Mr Burnett is entitled to a “free pot of XXXX Gold” at the club every day for a year at the front of the bar of the Port Douglas Combined Club.
According to the tradition, he has also earned a “seat on the wall” to be mounted at the Combined Club alongside the names of the 48 previous boast and skippers who have won handicap honours throughout history.
Mr Burnett was thrilled to have won the prestigious award and said “it was a team effort and it doesn’t matter how old you are you just got to keep trying”.
“The best way to win a race is to have a really good time keeper. We were trying to time it so that we could have a swim afterwards,” he said jokingly.
“This is the first time we have raced in the blessing of the fleet. I haven’t won a race since 1989 so it has been the longest race I have won in a very long time.”
Second place for the handicap honours was awarded to Glen Thorpe with an actual finish time of (12:30:40) and an estimated finish time of (12:40:30).
Sansil was the third boat to cross the line with a time of (12:01:10) and an estimated finishing time of (12:07:00) which was awarded to the skipper Brett Liddell. Their crew was also awarded ’best dressed’ on the day.
The Line Honours was awarded to Jeff Anderson, skipper of the Coast Guard boat.