Last week saw two-dozen Oyster yachts, participating in the Oyster World Rally 2013, sail the coral hued seas as well as mountainous green islands of Australia‘s popular yacht charter destination – Whitsundays.
In the first official race of the Oyster fleet during a rally stopover to date, the race was started in light tropical breeze off the world-famous Hamilton Island resort, which has hosted the fleet in the safe harbour of its vast marina for the recent stopover.
Sailing to the nearby world-heritage listed Whitehaven Beach, judged by many as the best beach in the world, this shimmering crescent of the whitest of pure silica sands, framed by uninterrupted green foliage of Whitsunday Island and the azure blue of the sea, provided a heaven-sent overnight anchorage for a Mount Gay beach party and picnic destined to be long remembered by the Oyster owners and crews.
Ashore at Hamilton Island, rally organisers also hosted Welcome Cocktails at the inspiring Hamilton Island Yacht Club, an architectural wonder crafted as though a giant sting ray swooping over the sandy bottom. A sunset Gala dinner was also arranged beachside overlooking the resort’s picturesque Catseye beach, with an eruption of fireworks setting the scene as the island’s wait staff attired completely in wetsuits, goggles and snorkels, delivered to the tables a mouthwatering array of ocean delights of lobster, prawns, crabs and oysters, as though just harvested from the ocean itself.
Since starting in Antigua, the Oyster World Rally fleet has now sailed almost halfway around the world, with every stopover ashore an occasion of camaraderie and cheer as owners and crews of the near thirty Oyster yachts taking part in this inaugural circumnavigation celebrate some steadying, firm footed time on dry land. The rally must surely rank as one of yachting’s greatest pilgrimages around the world and a first for any one yachting brand.
For the near 30-strong fleet the calm coral seas protected by the Great Barrier Reef, stretching some 2,000 kilometres along Queensland’s northeast coast, provided a welcome change with stunning scenery, after the long ocean passage across the vast South Pacific, which in any ship’s log is indeed a heady challenge of blue water cruising on a global scale.
From Queensland’s Hamilton Island and Mackay stopovers in the Whitsunday’s region, the fleet now sails north for Cairns, then across the top-end of Australia via Torres Strait on to Darwin in the northwest of this Great Southern Land.