Grabbing a sea spirit by the tale

RED Fixter thinks of himself as more of a sceptic than a superstitious sailor.

After sailing the waters around the Capricorn Coast for the past 35 years Mr Fixter, 62, has seen more than a couple of superstitions come true.

"Well there's the one about leaving on a Friday being bad luck,'' he said.

"I was on a boat in the Brisbane to Gladstone race and the skipper made sure we had left the mooring before midnight because the race started on Good Friday, April 13 in 1978 or 1979.

"We lined up with the other boats the following morning and as we headed up the coast there were water spouts and really rough weather. One boat's shaft broke and they had to run it up onto an island to survive.''

Mr Fixter said another example of a superstition coming true he knew about related to a boat being re-christened.

"Changing the name of a boat is supposed to be bad luck,'' he said.

"If a boat is to be re-christened it should be taken out of the water and relaunched.

"There was a boat in the Rosslyn Bay harbour that was called one thing then it's name was changed without being relaunched before a race.

"The boat was smashed up with about $20,000 worth of damage done to it.''

Although Mr Fixter doesn't believe he's superstitious, he does abide by some rituals.

"It is said having a coin under a mast brings you luck,'' he said.

"I bought a boat many years ago after its owner had drowned. "We relaunched the boat and one of my sons had a sixpence with my birth year, 1943, on it and we put it under the mast.

"We never had any problems with that vessel.''

Growing up in western New South Wales and Sydney, Mr Fixter said he didn't become interested in sailing until he moved to Central Queensland in 1970.

"I had friends who were interested in it and I had worked as a construction diver, surfed and done board riding,'' he said.

"We started with a 20-foot (6.1m) catamaran, then I built a boat. Now we have a 24-foot (7.3m) trailer sailer.''

An operations manager for Keppel Bay Escapes at Keppel Bay Marina, Mr Fixter said he also didn't like people whistling on board a ship when he was skipper.

"The reason is because it's supposed to mean you are whistling up a storm,'' he said.

"I have two musicians for sons, and they whistle all the time but they both know not to whistle on the boat.

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