Keppel Bay Marina welcomes race fleet's earlier arrival
From The Capricorn Coast Mirror
THE Club Marine Brisbane-to-Keppel Tropical Yacht Race 2014 is set to be the best to date, with the action-packed finish line at Keppel Bay Marina providing activities for all ages and interests.
The 343-nautical-mile race from Queensland's Moreton Bay to Keppel Bay Marina will start at noon on Thursday, July 31.
This is a departure from previous years, which saw the race start on Friday afternoon.
Keppel Bay Marina general manager Kylie Smith said starting the race on Thursday meant they expected to see the first boats across the line on Friday, with the majority of the fleet arriving over the weekend.
"This means our finish-line festivities will be better than ever, creating a better spectacle for locals to experience a world-class yacht race and also for the crews to be able to enjoy post-race activities," Ms Smith said.
Now in its eighth year, the Brisbane-to-Keppel Yacht Race has established itself as a key event on the offshore racing calendar.
The big news for 2014 will be the expansion of the race fleet to include multihull yachts.
While the debate continues around the country about the inclusion of multihulls in "traditional" monohull offshore races, the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron's sailing committee has joined a growing number of influential clubs by inviting multihulls and monohulls to race as one fleet for separate trophies.
To set the tone for post-race celebrations, crews are welcomed with a pineapple and a case of beer. Ms Smith said it was a tradition that started when Keppel Bay Marina was first opened.
"All visiting boats were welcomed with a fresh local pineapple," Ms Smith said.
"It is something our region is known for and something people remembered long after they had set sail for their next destination.
"Now the race crews are treated to the same welcome gift, with the pineapples becoming somewhat of a mascot for the following race events.
"If you see a pineapple on board a yacht at Hammos race week, you know where it came from.
"Whatever time a boat finishes, they are welcomed by the team at The Waterline Restaurant with our award-winning Banana Station steak."
The Club Marine Brisbane-to-Keppel Tropical Yacht Race is part of Tourism Queensland's Season of Sailing.
FOLLOW THE RACE
Thursday: Race starts at noon. Follow the boats with the live tracker at www.brisbanetokeppel.com/yacht-tracker. Friday: First boats come in, party begins. Saturday: Pub-style celebrations at Keppel Bay Marina Restaurant XXXX Beer Garden with local band The Shortfall. Sunday: Family day at Keppel Bay Marina and Waterline Restaurant with activities, entertainment, helicopter flight, jumping castle, face-painting and plenty to keep the family happy. Official trophy presentation at 2pm.