Time to book berths

Mari­nas are open for busi­ness in lead-up to Race Week

Whitsunday Times - - ON THE WATER SPORT -

WHILE clean-ups are still in progress in the af­ter­math of Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Deb­bie, ev­ery­one in the Whit­sun­days is work­ing hard to make sure ev­ery­thing is ready for the win­ter sea­son of rac­ing and cruis­ing, in­clud­ing of course, for Air­lie Beach Race Week, be­ing held from Au­gust 10–17.

You have to hand it to Queenslanders – they don’t let a cy­clone dampen their en­thu­si­asm or spoil their win­ter busi­ness. With tourism a ma­jor fac­tor for the re­gion, there isn’t time.

Nor do they com­plain. It is noses to the grind­stone. Lo­cals need to get back to nor­mal and be ready for the in­flux of the hun­dreds of thou­sands who flock to this stun­ning play­ground each year.

It is no sur­prise, there­fore, that Luke McCaul, gen­eral man­ager of Abell Point Ma­rina, is amongst those who went above and beyond with his staff to look af­ter his clients’ in­ter­ests and keep the busi­ness afloat.

In 2016 Abell Point Ma­rina be­came the first ma­rina in the world to at­tain the five Gold An­chor Global Ma­rina Ac­cred­i­ta­tion, so McCaul and his crew have a pow­er­ful rep­u­ta­tion to pro­tect.

“We were back to busi­ness quickly, back to work im­me­di­ately,” McCaul said.

“The cy­clone is be­hind us, so the mes­sage we want to get out there is that our fo­cus is pre­par­ing for the win­ter sea­son for rac­ers and cruis­ers. It’s a busy pe­riod for us and al­ready boats are booked in for Air­lie Beach Race Week.

“From July this year, all 507 berths will be back in ser­vice. We had no choice but to be ready.

“We lost 100 of our 507 berths, but we’ve al­ready de­mol­ished the dam­aged ones and we’re cur­rently pil­ing them,” McCaul said, adding: “We have 407 berths that did not suf­fer dam­age. We are a large ma­rina, so there is plenty of room.”

At Port of Air­lie Ma­rina, wit­nesses saw the ma­rina’s op­er­a­tions man­ager, Clay­ton Matthews, out and about be­fore the cy­clone, mak­ing sure his clients’ boats were ready, mak­ing good some that weren’t and thereby sav­ing them from de­struc­tion.

“Port of Air­lie is open for busi­ness post-Cy­clone Deb­bie,” Matthews said.

“Con­struc­tion of the new D Arm berths, rang­ing from 15m to 30m, has com­menced and is sched­uled for com­ple­tion in late 2017.

“With 70% of the unique 90-plus-year berth lease op­tions be­ing taken, only eight berths re­main.”

Those en­ter­ing Air­lie Beach Race Week Fes­ti­val of Sail­ing who are yet to book their berths will need to do so quickly to avoid miss­ing out.


VI­BRANT: Abell Point Ma­rina at the start of Race Week 2016.

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