Time to book berths
Marinas are open for business in lead-up to Race Week
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.