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Travel across the ditch is a welcome start - Australian newsletter

by Peter Rendle 22 Apr 15:00 PDT
The wonders of Auckland © Ella Mueller

The opening of flights from Australia to New Zealand, 'The New Zealand Bubble' is a further indication that we are slowly overcoming the ramifications of the Covid pandemic.

While this new travel opportunity may not appear to make a lot of difference to the Australian marine industry it does open the door for New Zealanders to either charter boats in Australia and/or take part on the various regattas starting to emerge as border restrictions and social distancing limits are adjusted in the wake of a decline in Covid community transmissions. The same can be said for New Zealand's charter industry. There has always been a fair percentage of Kiwi crew members at the larger sailing regatta gatherings in this country and with organisers able to publicise events with a new certainty, travel plans can be made, confident the trip will not be wasted.

Already we have reported on the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club's 'Sailfest' which took place on 10th-11th of April. Held on the Newcastle Harbour in NSW this event was followed by the Port Stephens Regatta currently being held on the sublime waters around Port Stephens just up the coast.

The circuit then moves to Queensland with the Sunshine Coast Ocean Regatta taking place on 17th-18th of July. Further North to Brisbane is the Brisbane to Hamilton Island Race being sponsored by Multihull Solutions (more about that later). It was designed to provide a feeder race to the Whitsunday's Race Weeks.

But that's not all! 'Hammo' is preceded by the long-established Airlie Beach Race Week organised by the Whitsunday Sailing Club and running over 12th-19th August and Hamilton Island takes place over the 21-28th of August. Both favourite events with yachties from both sides of the ditch and 'must do' events. And if that's not enough sailing then it's on to Magnetic Island for their regatta that runs 2nd-8th September and from all reports is completely booked out with a reserve list in place.

The benefits to the industry are immeasurable with increased demands for new product including new boats, new deck gear, sails, safety appliances and boat maintenance. This increased demand is not lost on boat show organisers and already two major shows are finalising their logistics ready to accept any number of visitors wanting to view the latest industry offerings.

At Sanctuary Cove, just north of the Gold Coast the organisers are promising a return close to normal as regards to the number of exhibitors and products on show. The event runs from 20th-23rd May and tickets are available online. In Sydney the boat show is entitled the "Festival of Boating". The traditional organisers, the Boating Industry Association of Australia, have indicated some lay-out changes from previous years but with a formidable line up of exhibitors to attract the most ardent of boating enthusiasts. The Festival runs from 29th July - 1st August.

All good news! In relation to the above, leading Asia Pacific yacht sales companies Multihull Solutions and The Yacht Sales Co have demonstrated their continued support for the region's marine industry with the announcement of two key sponsorships. The Yacht Sales Co has confirmed it is the new naming sponsor of the 2021 Brisbane to Hamilton Island Yacht Race to be held in August. The event is one of Australia's longest tropical Category 2 offshore yacht races and will deliver competitors to Hamilton Island in time for the Whitsunday Race Weeks.

In a second development, Multihull Solutions and The Yacht Sales Co have confirmed their official sponsorship of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron's Youth Squad to help develop the sport of sailing in the region. The squad comprises young sailors across a range of classes, including Optimist, Laser 4.7, Laser Radial, Flying 11, 29er and Nacras, with leading coaches guiding the fleets toward state, national and world-class level competition. Mark Elkington, CEO of Multihull Solutions and The Yacht Sales Co, said the sponsorship agreements were an important part of the companies' philosophy of supporting the industry and sailors of today and tomorrow. "Both our brands are heavily invested in both the cruising and racing scenes in the region, and we are delighted to be able to sponsor key events and development squads to help keep these sectors thriving," Mark said.

While not exactly part of the leisure side of the marine industry it's interesting to note the scope of our marine maintenance infrastructure. World-renowned scientific research vessel, RV Falkor, has undertaken crucial certification and procurement work at Rivergate's world-class marina and shipyard ahead of its circumnavigation of Australia. The 83-metre vessel, which recently berthed at Rivergate for a two-week period, chose the premier shipyard for its first-class amenities, deep water berthage and ability to cater for larger vessels. The crew of Falkor and various Rivergate contractors carried out important servicing and certification of lifesaving equipment, logistical operations, repair of scientific equipment and modular parts for the ROV, which is capable of diving to 4,500 metres. The Rivergate project management team ensure the work was completed on time and under budget. Rivergate's planned multi-million-dollar expansion will increase the shipyard's capabilities to lift vessels such as Falkor for vital inspections, maintenance, repairs, and refits.

New technical developments this week include two of the largest marine electronics companies and a major engine supplier. Raymarine Axiom owners with Mercury SmartCraft marine engines can now enjoy deeper integration with Mercury Marine VesselView technology. Mercury Marine is broadening access to its powerful VesselView function with the new SmartCraft Connect gateway. The new gateway delivers Mercury Marine's premier engine-information-display experience to Raymarine Axiom®, Axiom+, Axiom Pro, and Axiom XL users. Simply connect the SmartCraft gateway via NMEA 2000 to access vital performance data and alerts for up to four SmartCraft-compatible Mercury engines.

While Garmin® International, Inc, a unit of Garmin Ltd, today announced it has added support for Mercury Marine® VesselView engine data across its ECHOMAP™ Ultra, ECHOMAP UHD* and GPSMAP® series multi-function displays (MFDs). "We're pleased to work with Mercury to offer engine data features that our customers and OEMs have been asking for," said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. "VesselView compatibility gives boaters access to vital Mercury engine information directly on their Garmin display for a more integrated and convenient on-the-water experience." Compatible Garmin displays on Mercury-powered boats can receive engine performance data, including rpm, speed, fuel flow, temperature, trim and much more via Mercury's new SmartCraft Connect gateway, which enables monitoring of up to four engines simultaneously.

Stay safe,
Peter Rendle

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