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Clear Sailing Up The Coral Coast

By Mark Beale

The Coral Coast Rally is entering its final stages, having set off from Airlie Beach on Sunday morning.

Abell Point Marina Yacht Club commodore Colin Bell on Tuesday said entrants had been having a blast.

“We’ve had our night at Cape Gloucester and then we had last night at Cape Upstart and wine and cheese in the evening on the beach,” he said on Tuesday.

Tuesday had less than ideal sailing conditions, but spirits remained high.

“Today there’s hardly a breath of wind, so almost every boat is a motor boat today going up to Cape Bowling Green,” Mr Bell said.

After two nights in Horseshoe Bay, the group head around to Nelly Bay Marina.

Mr Bell said the rally was simply about enjoying life aboard a sailing boat.

“It’s really just a whole bunch of people with like-interests who go away to have a bit of fun and a bit of socialising on the beach in the evening,” he said.

Mr Bell said while all the boats were moored locally, their crews came from all across Australia to take part in the rally.

“This year we’ve got a couple that own a charter boat in Airlie Beach; they’ve come from as far away as Sydney,” he said.

“We’ve got another couple from Ballarat who keep their boat in Airlie.

“A lot of people use it as a kick-off leg if they’re cruising further north during the season.

“They do this to start, then working stiffs like me have to go back, but they go up as far as Lizard Island and beyond.

“One of the boats is going back to Darwin after the rally.”

Mr Bell had one parting message for the public, speaking from the deck of his boat on the beautiful Whitsunday waters.

“If they’re not doing it they’re missing out on a lot of fun,” he joked.

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