Friday, December 23, 2011
Whitsundays sailing crew Merit will unveil its true colours and cheeky Queensland sense of humour during this year’s Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race with a sail that says they’d rather be in The Whitsundays.
Tourism, Manufacturing and Small Business Minister and Member for Whitsunday Jan Jarratt wished Merit good luck and encouraged the crew to put some Whitsundays wind into the Sydney to Hobart race’s sail.
“The ‘We’d rather be in The Whitsundays’ spinnaker will be unfurled to grab some attention and spark a discussion amongst viewers to come and visit the Whitsundays soon,” Ms Jarratt said.
“Merit is a record-breaking yacht and has every chance of winning its division, but I know the crew will be thinking they’d rather be in The Whitsundays when they hit expected blustery conditions during this year’s race.
“Merit is no stranger to the spotlight and is remembered by many for demonstrating the friendly spirit and hospitality of The Whitsundays during the 2008 Rolex Sydney to Hobart when the crew rescued a troubled competitor and its 14 members.
“The crew from Australia’s premier sailing region are accustomed to sailing in an aquatic playground, where the biggest challenges are navigating around 74 Island Wonders, avoiding humpback whales and concentrating on the task at hand.”
Ms Jarratt said throughout the year Tourism Queensland had sent the message out that despite the challenges nature had thrown our way, Queensland is Where Australia Shines.
“Tourism Queensland and Tourism Whitsundays have once again partnered with Merit, the Volvo 60 round-the-world racing yacht owned by Whitsundays locals Leo Rodriguez and Ian Bishop, to send a clear message to viewers that they’d rather be sailing in The Whitsundays,” she said.
Tourism Queensland CEO Anthony Hayes said the Whitsundays was Australia’s sailing mecca with calm protected waters, 74 islands and endless beaches to explore.
“Sailing is something that everyone must try at least once in their lives, and the Whitsundays offers such a beautiful location for learners all the way through to experienced yachtsmen to explore by boat,” Mr Hayes said.