Race Week has Spirit
FORMER Whitsunday local Jason Gard has returned to the region aboard his Merfyn Owen-designed trimaran Spirit, which is currently cutting an impressive sight at the Abell Point Marina Airlie Beach Race Week.
Gard first came to the Whitsundays as a 13-year-old aboard his parents’ cruising yacht. He returned in 1997 and spent a year living in the region and working for the charter company Prosail.
Following the lure of distant horizons Gard took off to Europe to work on superyachts before deciding to buy Spirit in the United States.
The 43ft long trimaran was launched in 1993 and is made of strip-plank cedar. Her mast is a 60ft high carbon fibre rotating wing.
Gard spent a couple of years working on the boat in the US before setting out on a Pacific Ocean crossing that took him to the Galapagos, French Polynesia, Tonga and Fiji.
Spirit arrived in Australia at Brisbane just before Christmas last year and after completing the Brisbane-Gladstone yacht race with a Whitsunday crew aboard, is now happily sailing in Airlie Beach.
“I always wanted to come back – it’s a dream to sail back here,” Gard said.
“It feels like home because it’s where my parents now live and a lot of close friends from the Prosail days.”
Sailing with Gard is 15-year-old Whitsunday sailor Dan Townsend.
Gard said his youngest crewmember was simply “great”.
“He’s full of beans, very keen and works really hard to get everything out of the boat.”
By the halfway point of the regatta Spirit was second in its division, which Gard said was “unbelievable”.
RISING TALENT: Junior sailor Dan Townsend is sailing with skipper Jason Gard aboard the multihull Spirit in the 24th annual Airlie Beach Race Week. Photo by Shirley Wodson.
SPIRIT: Former Whitsunday resident Jason Gard is back in Airlie Beach to campaign his multihull Spirit at Airlie Beach Race Week.