Veteran sailor backs Marina expansion

Thursday February 19 2015, 10:30am

A veteran sailor has commended plans to upgrade Port Douglas’s Reef Marina but warned the town needs to have the right services and friendliness backing it up to attract more boat crews.

Murray Spence has been sailing his whole life and has competed in the Sydney to Hobart, TransPac, FastNet and Middlesea yacht races.

He said that a planned upgrade to the Reef Marina, which will include several new large berths aimed at attracting superyachts, was nothing but good news for Port Douglas - if the town had the necessary maintenance, supply and entertainment facilities for captains and crews.

“Captains tend to look for good services - maintenance, repairs and friendly places in town that crews can enjoy while they’re in port,” Mr Spence said. 

“If you look after the crews, if they get good services and good entertainment - so if there is good nightlife in town, fun things to do - they’ll definitely remember. 

“Owners of the big yachts are usually less fussed, they tend to fly in or drive in and come straight aboard.

“I don’t really see a downside to [the Marina upgrade] - there’s nothing bad to have big boats there spending that money, particularly if they can get crews or operations to set up base there, because they can be there for six months or more.”