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Epic birthday adventure at SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week 2016

by Tracey Johnstone on 3 Jul 2016 1-6 September 2016

Leaving a bitterly cold Melbourne to head to the warmth of northern Queensland to celebrate a milestone birthday is turning into an adventure of epic proportions for Daniel Edwards.

Edwards decided some time ago that he needed to do something special in his 50th year. So he has gathered up his sailing friends and signed them on for various stages of his birthday adventure on board his Beneteau First 35, White Noise.

It all starts for the IRC class contender from Melbourne, takes on several events on the way north until they reach the piece de resistance, the 10th SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week which runs from September 1 to 6.

Edwards plans to cruise White Noise to Brisbane, then join in the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron's Brisbane to Keppel Race for the next part of the adventure.

Once in the Whitsundays he will campaign White Noise in the Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island race weeks before participating in the SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week.

There Edwards will be racing alongside a growing group of fellow inter-state IRC class competitors.

Edwards starts telling his story about his adventure with an emphatic statement; "It's a mid-life crisis. I decided, what better way to celebrate my 50th birthday than to leave my wife and kids behind and spend time on the water."

The decision to organise this adventure has been brewing for close to 10 years. "Among the sailors that I have got to know, there are always stories about when they travelled north. Everyone in Melbourne talks about the race weeks, but I have never been there yet," Edwards said.

"To be honest; a lot of people speak positively about Magnetic Island Race Week. Every second person I talk to when I am discussing my plans, they say, 'Magnetic is probably one of my favourites' or 'that's the best one I have ever done'.

"So, I decided; I have the opportunity and the boat that is capable of getting up there, it's a great way to celebrate my birthday and do what I love doing, that is, going sailing," Edwards added.

Edwards is quite new to competitive sailing. At 40 the Architect and Sustainable Development consultant returned to sailing after building a successful business and spending quality time with his growing family.

He initially campaigned a trailer sailer on Port Phillip Bay. "That was the first mid-life crisis. I thought, what's happening; life is going past me so fast. I decided that I wanted to do competitive sailing, so I bought a trailer sailer, arrived at Sandringham Yacht Club and started racing," Edwards said.

Edwards bought White Noise just over two years ago after he decided he wanted to take up ocean racing. Top results have poured in and the blue water bug has bitten him hard.

White Noise won the 2015 Melbourne to Devonport Rudder Cup, Australia's oldest ocean race, and achieved a clean sweep of the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria's 2015/16 Ocean Racing Championship by winning on IRC, AMS and PHS.

The trip north will take Edwards away from his business activities for close to 10 weeks. Luckily he has business partners and a very understanding wife at home, and lots of sailing mates to keep him company.

'The whole exercise I have worked out will include about 50 people by the end of the day. I have different people joining me for different parts of the journey. It's quite an organisational event for me, but heaps of fun," Edwards said.

This year's regatta is open to IRC, Cruising Spinnaker / Performance Handicap, Cruising Non Spinnaker, Trailable, Sports Boat, Multihull Racing and Multihull Cruising entries.

Entry in the SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week is open at www.magneticislandraceweek.com.au

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