At Sailcorp, we are passionate about sailing and have a broad outlook. Australia is such a vast country and we hope to promote the ideal Whitsundays sailing experience. Whitsundays is one of the most outstanding places to visit in Australia. Now that you have decided to go explore the many islands there, you are probably wondering what you need to enjoy your adventure. Since Whitsundays is in the tropics, you are probably also wondering what to expect. Indeed, there are several things you have to consider, and I have highlighted some common questions about Whitsundays sailing that you probably have.
When is the best time to go on a Whitsundays sailing tour?
To really enjoy Whitsundays sailing, I suggest you go during winter the Australian winter. Whereas the summer weather is perfect for the perfect tan, you will find the tropical weather is perfect to get some sun in the winter months.
Apart from the privacy you will get, and the space for exploration, a winter cruise will also allow you to enjoy some of the benefits that the military training that happens at the same time has. Due to the training, however, some areas will be restricted meaning you might have to consider an overnight cruise outside the restricted areas. You might also have to wait for several hours at Keppel Bay if you are using your own yacht.
Do not be unrealistic in your planning especially for people interested in visiting each of the islands in Whitsundays. Make sure your return trip falls between October and November in order to manage unrealistic expectations.
If I am using my boat, how do I prepare it?
First, you must ensure that the boat is working well by getting a full and professional mechanic inspect it. Then, you have to make sure that the boat has all the equipment and tools you will need. To make sure you have everything, check the Yachting Association Rule Book, which has highlighted all items you will need in your boat when you start the cruise. You also need to be aware of Queensland’s cruising laws that dictate the pollution, registration, marine parking and license regulations.
Should I always be under a shade during the cruise?
Since your Whitsundays sailing will be in a tropical area, you might need shade from time to time. Hired yachts will have awnings that allow you to stay outside but away from the sun. If you are using your own boat and it does not have an awning, consider purchasing a removable one before your trip. Also get a larger awning for the main cabin for when you anchor.
Where do I anchor?
It is true that Whitsundays has coral everywhere, and that anchoring on corals is not recommended. However, getting other better options is almost impossible so you will have to anchor in ‘corally’ grounds. Use an all chain 30-40m rode to make sure it does not chafe. Make sure that you do not block other sailors though. Ensure that you have the plough type anchor as it easily penetrates hard ground. Backup anchors and ropes are recommended.
What type of yacht/boat is best?
You have two options here really. The first is a strong and heavy yacht that can be anchored on coral easily. The second option is a lighter boat that can be easily carried/pulled to shore. For the second option, make sure that whereas light, the boat can handle the different water conditions that you will face during your Whitsundays sailing.
What should I know about navigation in Whitsundays?
Always plan to move with the tide during your Whitsundays sailing as the tides are very strong. They tend to rise to the south and ebb towards the north. Do not let the size of your boat fool you, always check the tides in Whitsundays. Back-bearings and GPS are important, but make sure you know how to plot a course to allow tidal set if you are the skipper of the day. It is also easier to sail at slack water and when wind and tide are together as the waters are less rough.
How do I handle the weather conditions?
Since the winter trade wind blows throughout Whitsundays, you will find that you have to shorten sail often to keep steady. Shortening sails on time will turn a frightening experience into an uncomfortable experience. Make sure you have good reefing systems and small headsails to ensure stability. If you do not have much experience sailing, you can also consider just hiring a professional skipper.
Why should I consider getting a crew?
Whitsundays is beautiful and you want to enjoy everything it has to offer during your Whitsundays sailing. For this reason, it is recommended that you get a skipper to make sure you do not focus on safely sailing your guests while miss out on the beautiful scenery. If you are going for a vacation, get enough crew to ensure you have a good time. If getting your hand on the wheel during your vacation is undebatable, you can talk to the skipper to sail from time to time during your Whitsundays sailing.
What should I expect?
Have realistic expectations. In regard to Whitsundays sailing, you will experience some strong winds that can make the experience uncomfortable if not handled well. However, you will still have a great time. The Whitsundays are magical and fun, and you and your friends and family are in for a treat.