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Regattas gearing up for maximum participation - MarineBusinessWorld Oceania newsletter

by Peter Rendle 31 Mar 14:00 PDT
Commodores Cup Series at Sail Port Stephens 2021 © Hover UAV

Even though we are experiencing record rainfalls along the eastern coast of Australia, and are mindful of the chaos and hardship the ensuing floods have caused, participants of the annual race weeks and regattas are returning in droves.

Port Stephens NSW will be packed to the gunwales from April 4-10 as a record number of racing yachts is joined by an armada of dinghies and windsurfers for the annual Sail Port Stephens regatta. In fact, fittingly for its 15-year celebration, the event will be the largest yet. At the close of entries, 121 yachts had entered the Bannisters Port Stephens Commodores Cup series, while around 130 will line up for weekend racing - even before counting Tasars, Finns, windsurfers and other off-the-beach classes sailing from Bay Sailing Centre.

Boaties are overwhelmingly choosing Port Stephens for its combination of superb sailing and socialising. The Bay, as it's known, is close enough to Sydney and the east coast capitals to be convenient and affordable for visiting vessels, while worlds apart from city life.

Leading importer Windcraft Yachts will have a strong contingent of Hanse and Dehler yachts in the biggest fleet so far at the regatta. A dozen models from the two highly regarded German brands will be mixing it among the competitors in the Bannisters Port Stephens Commodores Cup series on the opening three days of what is shaping as one of the headline sailing events in Australia for 2022.

Further North, there are reports of another 'full house' for Hamilton Island Race Week. As a result, accommodation for visiting crews is in short supply having been almost totally booked by the early birds. However, Hamilton Island Accommodation report a few choice vacancies still exist and include "Kahala", an absolute waterfront resort style home sitting right on Catseye Beach. Accommodates twelve. $5400 per night including two buggies.

Also 'The Glass House', a seven-bedroom home, a new level of luxury on Hamilton Island. Accommodates twelve adults and four kids. $8500 per night including two buggies.

As the industry grows, more marine jobs are created, and the Gold Coast City Marina and Shipyard (GCCM) have recognised the need for easier pathways into Australia's booming marine industry. This will be made more seamless and tailored for marine businesses and prospective employment candidates thanks to an exciting new training and employment placement hub within the multi-award-winning yard.

Believed to be an Australian first for a shipyard to incorporate such a training academy, the GCCM Marine Trades Academy is the brainchild of GCCM management together with local employment and training specialists, DGT Employment and Training, to provide a much-needed pipeline of skilled marine trades workers to fill labour shortages.

Working with marine businesses within the industry and government employment agencies, the Academy will provide full-service guidance around pathways, training and job placement individually tailored to both business and candidates in roles such as marine labourers, trade assistants, trimmers, fabricators, painters, electricians, carpenters, shipwrights and plumbers to name but a few.

At the same time, it is essential to recognise entrants already engaged in the industry. Each year, the Australian Marine Industry Awards recognises the innovation, creativity, and craftsmanship of some of Australia's most successful marine businesses. The awards cover categories for the superyacht, commercial marine and marine export sectors of the industry, but the newest award - the Marine Industry Apprentice Award - is proving equally as popular for entries as businesses recruit, train and support their new team members embarking upon a career in the Australian marine industry.

The 'Apprentice of the Year' award provides opportunity for apprentices in the marine industry to be recognised and acknowledged by their employers, industry and peers for their hard work and dedication over the year. Nominees for the award will join the industry at the Australian Marine Industry Awards Gala Dinner to be held at Southport Yacht Club on May 18, the finale to the annual ASMEX Conference.

As anyone in our industry knows, ongoing knowledge is the key to success. Maritime Victoria is forefront in providing marine knowledge with their regular educational clinics. They've got some FloatSafe clinics coming up in May, as well as more opportunities to drop off your expired flares. Attend one of their free FloatSafe clinics to learn how to service and maintain your lifejacket, so you can stay safe on the water.

Attendees will receive a $30 voucher from a local retailer to go towards a new lifejacket, lifejacket service kit, or other safety equipment! Keep an eye out for upcoming FloatSafe clinics.

New boats arriving this week in Australia include the Horizon's Cor D. Rover-Designed Fast Displacement (FD) Series. It continues to gain traction in the Australian market, with two FD90 models assisting in the record-breaking sales numbers from 2021. Commissioned for experienced "boaties" and christened SUMO, the new FD90 Skyline was recently delivered.

SUMO features an enclosed skylounge configuration and a five-stateroom layout including an on-deck master. A large aft deck leads into the spacious main salon, which offers a comfortable seating area with a day head aft. Floor-to-ceiling windows amplify the high-volume interior, and sliding glass doors to port and starboard lend an al fresco feel to the interior dining area. Positioned forward of the galley on the main deck, the full-beam on-deck master stateroom offers built-in lounge seating, plentiful closet space and an en-suite with dual sinks.

Finally, and by no means least, vale Peter Hunt. Peter passed away on 17 March. I first met Peter when I became part of the marine industry in the early 1980s. At the time he was in charge of Hunt's Marine and a committee member of the Boating Industry Association. He was totally dedicated to the well-being of the industry and its members in an industry he clearly loved and enjoyed.

Pete was always happy to offer advice and assistance to anyone requiring his vast knowledge. He was a gentleman and a stalwart of the BIA. His enthusiasm for the industry was extraordinary and enduring. Not only was he a founding member but also former President, and Life Member. He was a champion of the boating industry and the boating lifestyle, and respected by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

He is sadly missed and fondly remembered by many. I, along with the BIA members, send our sincere condolences to his many friends and family.

Stay dry,
Peter Rendle -

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