Airlie Beach Race Week on track for all-time record entries

Just over two weeks out from the Close of Entries, the 30th anniversary Airlie Beach Race Week is heading for the record books with more entries received to-date than ever before and edging closer to the all-time record of 133 in 2016.

To be hosted by Whitsunday Sailing Club (WSC) and held from 9-16 August, an early burst of entries for this annual event has had a snowball effect, with 40 boats across the various classes quickly surpassing 100 this week. Impulse X, an X442 owned by Southport sailor Andy Lamont, was the 100th entrant.

WSC Event Chairman, Ross Chisholm said the Club is extremely pleased with the way Race Week is progressing: “What a fantastic way to start our 30th anniversary celebrations,” he said of the numbers.

“We’ve worked hard to entice more entries and have added to our social program in anticipation of our 30th. We have our free crew shuttle service to all prize presentation and entertainment venues, provided by Whitsundays 2 Everywhere in place again too.”

Chisholm warned, “The increase in numbers makes booking your marina space and accommodation even more essential, so please do it now.”

“We look forward to welcoming everyone to Airlie Beach Race Week Festival of Sailing again and to some great racing,” he ended.

Ray Roberts is the latest to put his name in IRC Racing. His most recent buy, the Botin 40, ‘Team Hollywood’, will join an elite Sydney group of Matt Allen’s 2017 Rolex Sydney Hobart victor Ichi Ban and Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan. She only arrived in Australia earlier this year, so is yet unleash her full potential.

Likewise in the IRC Passage Division, which has lured heavyweights such as 2013 Sydney Hobart winner, Darryl Hodgkinson. ‘Dr Darryl’ brings his latest Victoire, a Carkeek 40, from Sydney to take on others of that ilk.

Howard Piggott with his Beneteau 40, Flying Cloud (NSW), is among Victoire’s challengers, as is David Currie’s modified Farr 40 Ponyo (Vic) and Daniel Farmer’s Sydney 41, B52 from Queensland.

At the upper end of the scale is ‘Alive’, Phillip Turner’s RP66, skippered by Duncan Hine. The pair has collected an assortment of overall wins, line honours and race records since the Tasmanian purchased the former Black Jack in 2014.

Well-travelled Alive’s highlights include Melbourne Vanuatu line honours and race record; 2015 Hong Kong Vietnam Race IRC division win; line honours and 16 year-old Rolex China Sea Race record and 2016 Brisbane Keppel victory.  

For the first time, trailable yachts and multihulls up to 8.5 metres can be housed on land each night, with provision for 20 boats being made in the public carpark at Abell Point Marina (APM).

The follow-on effect is evident, with entries flowing in, including an all-female multihull crew, skippered by Kiwi double Olympian, Sharon Ferris-Choat. They finished second multihull on line and overall in June’s Groupama race – their first race together aboard the Crowther 40, Ave Gitana, loaned by Antonio Pasquale. 

After racing, competitors, family and friends can avail themselves of food stalls at Whitsunday Sailing Club, under the ‘big top’. There will be something to please everyone from 5pm daily and a bar just a step away.

A new evening entertainment program at WSC from August 9 will feature music from the Daisychains, Acca Dacca, Living In The 70’s, Australian singer/song writer/guitarist Chris Matthews and The Fox. 

In light of the 30th anniversary, entrants are offered something a bit different with some social functions being held outside of the Club.

On Day 2 of racing, the Reef Gateway Hotel will host the prize giving. Food, drinks and live entertainment and a free crew shuttle service will be provided from WSC and APM. 

A Lay Day All Day Lunch will be hosted by the fabled Hemingway’s on Abell Point Marina (bookings essential); and on Day 5 of racing, Airlie Beach Hotel will host the prize giving, including food and drinks for competitors. Live music is from Classic Soul, with DJ Vince. A free crew shuttle is provided from APM.

Entries for Airlie Beach Race Week Festival of Sailing close at 2400 hours on Thursday 2 August, 2018. Entrants requiring berthing need to make arrangements with Abell Point Marina or Port of Airlie as soon as possible, because demand is always at a premium throughout August. 

Entry, Notice of Race and all information go to:      

By Di Pearson, ABRW media

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