Airlie Beach Race Week ready to roll – on and off the water

Whitsunday Sailing Club (WSC) officials are pleased to announce that a healthy fleet of 70 boats will take part in the 32nd running of Airlie Beach Race Week Whitsundays Festival of Sailing, where a week-long sailing program and a fabulous social calendar awaits all.

To be held from 6-13 August, competitors are readying for a ‘State of Origin’ style battle, with the bulk of boats representing Queensland and NSW due to ongoing Corona Virus restrictions.

A variety of fast designs will take to the course in the Multihull Racing field, among them Dale Mitchell’s ORMA 60, ‘ORMA W60’. The Queenslander has upgraded to the formerly named Frank/Team Vodafone Sailing.

Mitchell says the 60 foot trimaran “targets average speeds of 18 knots to windward in 25 knots of breeze, or 30 knots on a broad reach. The top speed achieved by the previous owners was 45.6 knots,” which is extremely fast.

Heading the fleet for IRC honours is NSW’s Ray Roberts with his Botin 40, Hollywood Boulevard and Trailable Yachts defending champion, Masquerade (Tom Vujasinovic, Qld), returns. The Cruising divisions will again provide the most eye-catching colour on the course each day with their large numbers, with Performance Racing and Sports Boats divisions joining them on the water. 

“Looking at long range weather forecast, looks like it’s going to be an excellent week of sailing and we’re looking forward to welcoming competitors and their guests,” says Race Director, Ross Chisholm.

That will suit competitors and those planning to follow racing from the stable deck of ‘Sundowner’, the official spectator cruise vessel which has seating for 40 people and an on board bar. Step on board for a glass of bubbles and pastries as part of the package. All bookings in advance to: or phone: (07) 4948 3000. 

For interested parties heading north, Chisholm says, “Between Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island Race Weeks we have organised a Safety and Sea Survival course, and a refresher course, for Friday 14 August at Whitsunday Sailing Club.” 

Onshore, Whitsunday Regional Council has kindly set aside 10 trailer parking bays at the Council’s Coral Sea Marina boat ramp. All tide-accessible, boats are invited to launch and haul out daily. For those trailer boats that remain on the water, owners may store their trailers and vehicles at this convenient location. 

Event Chairman, Adrian Bram says that while Whitsunday Sailing Club will of course comply with social distancing requirements, “We have nevertheless put together a great onshore social program with something to please everyone.

“I would strongly advise competitors to book early for dinners and functions at the club’s recently refurbished 20 Degrees South Bar & Restaurant. Because of current restrictions, we can only accommodate so many.”

On the calendar is a Welcome function; a Beer and Bubbles Gourmet BBQ and tasting; the ever-popular Long Lunch and wine tasting; and a Blown to Bowen lay day tour featuring  a ‘Blokarting’ land-yachts demonstration event, followed by lunch at the Horseshoe Bay Café.

Northerlies Beach Bar and Grill is offering a pizza lunch on lay day, and supplying free bus transfers for Race Week crews to and from Coral Sea Resort Marina.

Back at the club on lay day, there is an all-day lunch and then dinner at 20 Degrees South, for those who prefer to enjoy the views and local hospitality.

Each race day, a daily winners hosted function for skippers and two crew members will be held at WSC. Numbers in the upstairs restaurant are limited to 100 guests and to competing boat crews from 6:15pm to 7:00pm on race days.

Crews, volunteers and WSC members will be welcomed at the downstairs bar during the above times and later into the evening. Presentations will be live streamed to screens downstairs and on Facebook to crews and followers. Arrive early as guest numbers are limited.

Airlie Beach Race Week Whitsundays Festival of Sailing is the region’s premier sporting event.

For all restaurant and event bookings, please email:

For full information and to make social bookings, please visit:   

For all restaurant and event bookings, please email:

For full information and to make social bookings, please visit:   

By Di Pearson, ABRW media

Race Yachts
JPK 11.80 July 2024
Jeanneau JY55
JPK 11.80 July 2024