Harbour Festival Great Raft Regatta 2017.
Harbour Festival Great Raft Regatta 2017. Mike Richards GLA140417RAFT

Raft racers have flour bombs ready

YACHT racers aren't the only ones hoping to win gold at Gladstone Harbour this weekend.

A bevy of Gladstone raft racing teams will suit up for The Great Raft Regatta tomorrow - paddles in hand and life jackets on tight.

One team to look out for are the apprentices from the Boyne Smelter.

Inspired by the structure of the smelter, the team have built their raft from the smelter's leftover and scrap billet and ingot aluminium.

General manager Joe Rea said he was proud of the efforts of the apprentices and said it was a nostalgic day.

Harbour Festival Great Raft Regatta 2017.
Harbour Festival Great Raft Regatta 2017. Mike Richards GLA140417RAFT

"When I was doing my apprenticeship in Weipa it was tradition that we would always compete in the raft race, and the apprentices have really got behind it,” Mr Rea said

Coming along for the raft ride is Team Observer, who have put together a fierce team armed with a secret weapon.

Crew member Cheryl Royal-Scott said The Observer raft would make waves with its revamped design.

"This year is special, we've had our raft revamped by K & S Sheetmetal,” she said.

"Proof of the pudding will be in how well it floats and manoeuvres through the water on Friday. But I have every confidence that this will be the best raft we've ever had.”

With journalists on board the raft, Mrs Royal-Scott said it was a first for The Observer to have an all Observer staff team.

When it comes to tactics she said the team were loaded up with flour bombs.

"I'm glad this year a new ruling has come in, that all flour bombs bagged up have to be slit in a criss-cross shape a few times to lighten the blow of the impact when it hits someone.

I know what it felt like over the years and the impact was powerful, especially at close range.

"Our team will be prepared with all safety equipment required, paddling hard and we'll all be smiling and out there putting our muscles to the test.

"But most of all we'll be having a lot of fun and laughter, flour bombing our opponents as well as soaking them with our water guns.

"But we know we'll be just as much their target.”

Gladstone Harbour Fest's Great Raft Regatta. Photo Paul Braven / The Observer
Gladstone Harbour Fest's Great Raft Regatta. Photo Paul Braven / The Observer Paul Braven GLA250316RAFT


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