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Old 21-06-2013, 14:33   #1
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Sailing in Whitsundays

Hello, I'm thinking of chartering a cat in the Whitsundays next winter (their summer), however I'm having trouble finding info! I've done web searches, tried to find books at Amazon, etc. The charter companies have limited info on their websites...

Any info/tips/advice would be MUCH appreciated!!!

Cheers in advance,
Dyce
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Old 21-06-2013, 15:00   #2
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

Welcome to the forum Dyce.

"100 magic miles" is the best pilot book / cruising guide of the area.

There is almost certainly going to be a copy on board your charter yacht, but some pre reading and planning is nice.

If you cannot get it anywhere else try "boat books in Melbourne"

If you have any specific questions fire away. It has been nearly 10 years since I sailed that part of the world, but many others will chime in with more up to date knowledge.
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Old 21-06-2013, 15:09   #3
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

I chartered there in December 1999 from Queensland Charters in Able Point Marina. The weather didn’t cooperate but otherwise had a great time. The best reference is (or used to be) 100 Magic Miles by David Colfed – it was cheaper to buy it direct. There is also now a website 100magicmiles.com. I don’t know if it still applies but only negative was having to do radio check in with the charter company every morning – you’d hear everybody checking in so it wasn’t just our charter company. BTW, only time chartering that I’ve been given a “proper” check-out – someone came out with us for half an hour and had us sail the boat before signing us off and dingying back.

Edit - Looks like we posted at the same time

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Old 21-06-2013, 15:09   #4
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

G'Day Dyce,

I'm not sure just what you are looking for... the above recommended book is the best general guide as stated. More specific questions we could have a go at!

But the main thing is that you are proposing a charter in the midst of cyclone season, and the Whitsundays are certainly at risk. The weather at that time of year tends to be pretty hot and muggy when no TCs are about... don't know if that is of concern to you.

Anyhow, welcome to CF and ask away!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 21-06-2013, 16:10   #5
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

Hi! The Moorings in Tahiti, New Zealand and Tonga, have several cats and monos for bare boat charter. Look them up and sail away!

Mauritz
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Old 13-07-2013, 14:58   #6
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

Thanks all for the responses - much appreciated. I've bought the book - now for some reading once it arrives!

Fair winds,
Dyce
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Old 13-07-2013, 15:49   #7
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

We just sailed through the Whitsundays last month on our way to Darwin from Sydney. Probably the best time of year to cruise there is the Southern Hemisphere's 'winter' as tropical storms can develop in the summer. We saw quite a few charter boats but never took the time to see where they came from - probably Mackay or maybe even Airlie Beach. Lots of great anchorages to explore and some pretty good snorkeling.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 13-07-2013, 15:58   #8
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

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Originally Posted by nhschneider View Post
We saw quite a few charter boats but never took the time to see where they came from - probably Mackay or maybe even Airlie Beach. Lots of great anchorages to explore and some pretty good snorkeling.

Fair winds and calm seas.
Most of the charter boats are from Hamilton island, Airlie Beach or Shute harbour. Its good to hear there are still lots of anchorages. It has been a long time since I sailed this area but some of the best anchorages were being converted to limited public moorings.
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Old 13-07-2013, 16:25   #9
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

I am currently docked at Hamilton Island marina in the Whitsundays and as I have to travel back to Brisbane for work over the next couple of weeks I'll be leaving it here. In my opinion, while you can charter boats out of Abel Point Marina or Shute Harbour, Hamilton Island wins hands down. Sunsail who is a world wide charter company and is based at Hamilton Island has a significant fleet here and the boats appear as good as anyones. Most of the other companies will deliver to Hamilton Island for a fee. The major airport for the Whitsunday area is at Hamilton Island and is so close to the village that you can walk to your hotel or the marina. Once at the marina you can use all the facilities of the village as far as swimming pools etc. The town is fabulous and despite it's reputation, we have found most things are reasonably priced for what you get. Even diesel we have found to be cheaper here than on the mainland. Some of the mainland towns are full of backpackers (yahooing at night, drinking and sleeping on the beach or in the parks) but Hammo seems to have none of those problems. If you came in our summer it will be pretty hot, there is a risk of a Tropical Cyclone but the charter companies know what weather is on the way and they won't risk their boats, so in that regard I think it's not a safety issue. They would simply make your bring it back to the Hamilton Island Marina and tie up - meanwhile you can enjoy the village.
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Old 13-07-2013, 16:28   #10
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

G'Day Dyce, When you plan your charther check just where you can take the boat. The different companys have different limits. Our "winter" is when it is all the go as far as activity. Will be sailing from Bris mid Sept & back sometime. Cheap flights into Hamliton Island. The marina people were very helpful at Hamilton each time I've been there.

Regards Bill
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Old 13-07-2013, 17:08   #11
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

We just sailed in the Whitsundays and loved the area. It has that BVI feel of lots of islands and anchorages all very close. Truly enjoyable sailing and even the anchorages that had moorings (usually free) there was still plenty of room to anchor.
A few pictures: Sailing in the Whitsunday Islands
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Old 13-07-2013, 18:25   #12
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
Most of the charter boats are from Hamilton island, Airlie Beach or Shute harbour. Its good to hear there are still lots of anchorages. It has been a long time since I sailed this area but some of the best anchorages were being converted to limited public moorings.
No anchorages were ever converted to limited public moorings, some coral areas were declared no anchor zones and some short term moorings were placed to assist but the anchoring is still permitted outside of "no anchor" zones, eg butterfly bay, as the anchoring f boats was destroying the very thing that people come to see.
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Old 13-07-2013, 19:07   #13
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

Don't be concerned about chartering in the wet season/cyclone season. Low season has very cheap rates plus specials such as 7days for price of 4 at the low rate.

Rain cools things down at that time of year and you simply have to take out insurance to cover the unlikely event of a cyclone. They do happen but don't let it put you off the wet season. Also its less crowded off peak season. Even in strong wind warnings are plenty of anchorages even if there is some restrictionn on areas used.

I have found WRAY a good company to deal with. The whit escapes one not so good.

Cheers
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Old 13-07-2013, 21:36   #14
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We chartered in 2010 with Whitsunday Escape from Airlie Beach and were very happy with them. For a fee we could return the boat in Hamilton island. Plenty of nice and safe anchorages. At some places there are moorings, but all were free. As far as I remember, there is a time limit of 2 hours, but after 4 pm you are allowed to stay over night. The charter companies limit the cruising area, but it was enough to see for the 2 weeks we have been there. I found a little bit annyoing to check in with them twice a day on VHF, but seems all charter companies have this rule.
Great place, I really can recommend it.
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Old 14-07-2013, 02:15   #15
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Re: Sailing in Whitsundays

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No anchorages were ever converted to limited public moorings, some coral areas were declared no anchor zones and some short term moorings were placed to assist but the anchoring is still permitted outside of "no anchor" zones, eg butterfly bay, as the anchoring f boats was destroying the very thing that people come to see.
Butterfly Bay or Maureens Cove used to be a great anchorages. The government installed moorings and banned anchoring from both places. (Although there is a small patch outside the bBtterfly Bay that is not covered by the ban. This is too rolly in most conditions to be used.)

I have checked the anchor many times in both bays and there is no live coral on the bottom. There are several coral bommies in both anchorages and the edges are fringed in live coral. These dry out at low tide so anchoring here is not possible.

The moorings are great for the charter companies. It ensures their yachts are secure for the night and takes the worry out of anchoring for the charterers, but it is now only possible for 12-15 boats to share the three bays (Butterfly has 2 bays)

The 2hr limit (or overnight after 4pm) is OK for charter yachts, but does not suit the slower pace of many cruising yachts

Many other areas like Bait Reef are the same (but there are permit restrictions and charterers cannot visit) the last time I was in the Whitsundays Hardy Lagoon was about the last safe overnight anchorage on the Great Barrier Reef itself (in the Whitsunday area). The entrance to this unmarked and very difficult. I have never seen another boat anchored there, which is probably the only thing that has saved it from restrictions. Here is a Google earth photo of Hardy Lagoon to drool over. To give you an idea of scale the lagoon is amount 10nm long.
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