Airlie Beach Race Week – Victors reap the spoils

The final day and no wind to speak of on the horizon on an otherwise beautiful sunny day, as officials at Whitsunday Sailing Club’s (WSC) 35th Airlie Beach Race Week Festival of Sail waited until near the 1pm cut off, unable to drum up a skerrick of wind, so all racing was abandoned and results stand as they are. 


Ray Roberts’ Botin 40, Team Hollywood, started at the top of the IRC Division 1 leaderboard on Day 1 and remained there after five races, defeating Andy Kearnan/Peter Wrigley’s TP52 Koa (skippered by Mark Tolhurst this week). Rob Appleyard’s Secret Weapon, a Fast 40+ from WA, took third on countback to Phillip Turner’s RP66, Alive, with regular skipper Duncan Hine in charge and Adrienne Cahalan navigating.

Division 2 IRC went to David Currie, who scored three wins from four races, his worst result a second with Nizam (NSW). The DK46, loaded with talent, got the better of Peter Sorensen’s Advanced Philosophy (NSW) and Ken Douglas’ Wazza Red Boat.  

“We were very happy to win, but disappointed for everyone we that we couldn’t get a sail in today. This is the first time we’ve even put a spinnaker up on this boat,” Currie said.

“Three of us in our 70’s and a couple are in their 60s. Among the back end of the crew, I worked out we’ve done over 100 Sydney Hobarts, said Currie of himself (he’s done 10), Bruce Taylor (41), Peter Fletcher (35) and others.

“We’re doing the add for ‘Old Folks’ week,” said crew member, Bruce Taylor, of Chutzpah fame.

Currie added, “The crew has done us all proud and we’re very pleased with the boat and looking forward to next week at Hamilton Island.”

Multihull Extreme 40s

Jamie Jochheim drove Angus to three wins and other top results over nine races to win by one point to Mike Peberdy’s High Voltage. Serial winner at ABRW, Paul Mitchell and his Ullman Sails were just a further point behind. The competition could not have been tighter.

“It was super close,” the boat’s owner, Michel Van der Zwaard said. “Jochho (Jochheim) did really well steering and won all the starts, which was quite difficult in the light winds. It was unexpected to win, but we are of course happy. All the Extremes showed that they could win this year,” he said of the four, which each had wins.

“Mostly, we were very close in every race, but sometimes someone would try something different and get away. The other day, after two hours of racing, there was only 40 seconds in it. That’s the closest I’ve seen in the class,” said Van der Zwaard, whose talented crew of seven included Rohan Veal.

“We had a lot of talent on this boat. Well done to Jochho, he’s a humble, but phenomenal sailor.”

Trailable Yachts & Sports Boats Qld Championship

Julian Bethwaite (Don’t Panic, NSW) won Division 1 from John Rae and Gary Smith’s Vivace (designed by Bethwaite) and Leon Thomas’ Guilty Pleasures (Qld).

A noted skiff designer, Bethwaite commented, “My crew, they were fabulous, we are very happy. The week went very well.”

The Sydney sailor said of his boat, “It’s just 300mil longer than Vivace and Skeeter, but it’s 20 years younger. I built it with my son Alex and it’s a development of the 79er (Vivace).

Division 2 cleanly went to Goggles (don’t call me Jason Ruckert) with Mister Magoo (Qld). Goggles won five out of five races with his Thompson 7 – you can’t beat than. Second was the Tasmanian team on Fletch Creedon’s Thompson 8, Mustard Cutter.

“We’re lucky, we’ve sailed together for ten plus years. We all sail together on Mister Magoo and another boat of Wynnum Manly Yacht Club,” said Goggles, who is Vice Commodore of that club. “It got closer as the week went on as the rest got better.

“The weather made it hard for the race committee. It’s a tough job and impossible to keep everyone happy. I think they did a great job.”

Boss Hog Trophy

Every year there are deserving nominations for this major trophy, presented to the crew that best sums up the spirit of Race Week, displays sportsmanship and stands above the rest over the course of the regatta, on and off the water.

First awarded in 2002, the Trophy is named in honour of Don Algie, the event founder, Hog’s Breath Café founder and former ABRW naming rights sponsor. It is where some famous names, such as the late Lou Abrahams (Another Challenge) reside.

This year, the Trophy is awarded to Scott Kennedy, owner of the Shaw 650, Barely Legal. Kennedy came to the rescue of Justin Brownbill who originally entered the regatta with a boat that was subsequently damaged, then the sails were stolen from the replacement boat a week out from the regatta. Kennedy stepped in, graciously loaning his boat to Brownbill.

Thank you

Where would we be without our volunteers? There are so many, doing so many different jobs. Each gives up their time to help out.

From race management on and off the water (who had tough decisions to make this year), to the jury, media boat drivers, to those who make the volunteers’ lunches and others who help out organising accommodation, social activities and more. It is a big commitment and many come from Australia wide to help every year. 

To the competitors, from Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia, without you there would be no Airlie Beach Race Week (ABRW) without you. We look forward to seeing you all again next year.

Airlie Beach Race Week Festival of Sailing is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and is a feature on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.

For full results (provisional at the time of writing) in all classes, photos, video and more, please visit:

By Di Pearson/ABRW media

Further media information:

Di Pearson, media director, phone: 0410 792 131

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