Gold Coast City Marina and Shipyard (GCCM) was proud to be the presenting sponsor for the 2019 Superyacht Australia Voyager Award. As part of the industry association’s annual awards, the Voyager Award celebrates an exceptional passage undertaken by a superyacht in Australian waters. In 2019, the coveted prize went to M/Y Spirit for a 10-day 285 nautical mile journey from Port Douglas through the reef and back.

The expedition was requested by a long-time charterer who have visited the reef seven times in the previous 15 years. They had expressed their desire to snorkel as much of the reef as possible.

As Captain Martin DeBanks explained, “The Great Barrier Reef has had some damaging publicity over the last few years, as one would expect some has been warranted. However, as we all know, some has also been purely sensationalistic journalism. My crew and I on board Spirit are passionate about the Reef; this is where we live and this is where we are lucky enough to work. This voyage took in all that the reef has to say, the good and the bad.”

Departing in mid-December from Port Douglas, the 35-metre wave piercing custom built catamaran departed from Port Douglas. The superyacht started at St Crispin Reef before heading to the outer reef where it took in Agincourt, Rachel Carson and the Ribbon Reefs to Lizard Island and then back down the coastline. Except for Southern Escape Reef which exhibited storm damage, all the other locations were in good to great health. Evidence of coral bleaching was minimal, storm damage was limited to the outer walls of the reef and the sea life was plentiful.

Captain Cooks Lookout Lizard Island

The trip was so invigorating the charter guests requested to go beyond their usual snorkelling for an introductory dive. The qualified team onboard obliged their request at Lizard Island for 45 minutes taking the opportunity of calm seas, clear waters and warm weather to discover the clam gardens. They also witness firsthand the array of sea life which circled the yacht.

On behalf of GCCM, we would like to congratulate Captain DeBanks and his crew in proving the Reef is alive and as the world’s largest living organism, should be treated with respect. For more information, see http://spiritluxurycharters.com.au/.

Australian Voyager Awards

Kevin Altera, General Manager of Business Development & Operations, with Captain Martin De Banks, Master of M/Y Spirit