AHOY MACKAY: Captain Russ Owen and his wife Laurie on their catamaran S/V Nexus which stopped in Mackay.
AHOY MACKAY: Captain Russ Owen and his wife Laurie on their catamaran S/V Nexus which stopped in Mackay. Dominick Czakilew

Mackay is awash with round-the-world sailors

A SPECIAL group of 23 yachts are in Mackay stocking up on fresh water, food rations and spare parts boosting the local economy.

They arrived in Mackay last week as part of the World ARC Round-the-World Rally 2014-2015, a social sailing rally which circumnavigates the globe in 15 months.

Their pit-stop in Mackay marked the half-way point. Participants were impressed with Caneland Central after having visited smaller communities in the South Pacific.

Laurie Owen, who sailed on the Catamaran S/V Nexus, said she stocked up at the butcher and at Target while she was at Caneland Central.

"It's great to be in civilisation again," she said.

"We are looking forward to making a trip to Eungella National Park to see the platypus."

Mrs Owen, an American, said she was inspired by the remote island communities in Vanuatu.

"No matter where in the world you go people are the same," she said.

"We all love our families and friends. We might look different, but we hold the same values inside."

Eighty-five sailors from 17 nationalities are currently participating in the rally.

But some boats will break away in Mackay to explore the Whitsunday Islands, adding more stimulation to the Mackay and Whitsunday tourism industry.

Event manager Paul Tetlow said the adventure began on the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia in early January

"But I know many were looking forward to reaching Australia and enjoying what's onshore," he said.

"Mackay Marina is an excellent facility and perfect for World ARC making its landfall."



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