They say it takes all kinds when it comes to sailing and that something a little bit different on Jono and Gemma Winterbottom’s Seawind 1000, About Time, has them all talking at the 33rd edition of Airlie Beach Race Week.
The Pittwater, NSW couple could not have picked a better time to take six months out of their busy lives as a shipwright (him) and marine upholsterer (her) to go cruising before the lockdown came into effect. But they didn’t want to lose all the comforts of home.
Sailing up north, the Whitsunday Sailing Club’s Airlie Beach Race Week was on Jono and Gemma’s bucket list, as was a stay at Coral Sea Marina Resort. And that is where the double takes started, as people spied some greenery at the stern of the big catamaran that got tongues wagging.
“Yes, we have an herb and vegetable garden growing off the back of the boat,” bubbly Gemma confirms.
“Because we’re taking six months of work, we thought we’d try to grow some things. We have these three rectangular plant boxes. The tomatoes have really taken off.
“We’ve also got thyme, coriander, mind, lettuce a chilli plant – and they go racing with us every day. It gives us something to do and it’s a fun thing to do. I get up every morning and water them. They don’t like the wind too much, but they’re hanging in though,” she says.
The left Pittwater in May on their comfortable ‘home away from home’ with a stopover in Coffs Harbour before cruising to the Whitsunday Islands. “It seemed like the Covid was driving us up the coast,” Gemma says.
“We’ve been so busy with work. We felt we needed a break,” Jono says. “We thought it’s now or never. We knew our next trip we knew would be a big one – and here we are.
“This is our first Airlie Beach Race Week and we’re having the time of our lives. We’re staying at Coral Sea Marina. We love it. It has great facilities and everyone is so friendly there. We are spoiling ourselves over Race Week and then we’ll move, cruise around and anchor.”
Well-named About Time is racing in the Multihull Passage Division where she is sitting in seventh place after two days of racing. Win, lose or draw, the Winterbottoms agree they are in it to have fun, meet new people and enjoy everything the beautiful Whitsundays have to offer. Both agree they have achieved all three goals.
About Time will be on the start line again today for Race 3, ahead of Monday’s lay day.
Event Chairman, Ross Chisholm says today’s forecast is “Another day in paradise. The sun is on its way out and we’re expecting 16 knots across the entire race area all day.”
The WETA trimarans, he says, will be on windward/leeward courses, “With up to three races on Pioneer Bay. They will be close enough to the Club to come in for lunch between races.”
The rest of the fleet are on passage courses. The larger and faster boats are heading to the northern islands, including Gumbrell and Olden. The middle divisions are heading to Gumbrell Island return to Pioneer Bay. The smaller end of town will take in Edwin Rock, Grassy Island and Grimston Point.
Airlie Beach Race Week Whitsundays Festival of Sailing is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland. It is a feature on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.
For full results and all information on Airlie Beach Race Week, please visit: www.whitsundaysailingclub.com.au