Airlie Beach Race Week: Wind gods make call – racing abandoned

On Day 2 of Airlie Beach Race Week (ABRW), competitors in the record fleet of 178 boats were initially held ashore, as organisers Whitsunday Sailing Club (WSC) monitored a very light and variable breeze, but eventually all headed out to Pioneer Bay and waited and waited until there was no choice but to abandon racing for the day at around 1pm.

However, there was plenty of action yesterday. A new owner topped the podium in yesterday’s opening race when Terrance Steven’s sailed his Bavaria Match 35, Matchless, to a win in the PHS Non-Spinnaker division.

Stevens, from WSC had a variety of reasons to celebrate, including beating two other local boats in Peter Harrison’s previous ABRW winner, Awesome and John Galloway’s QMS Ponyo.

“We had a bit of luck,” admitted Stevens, who only purchased Matchless in June. This was his first major regatta with the yacht. “We’re still sorting the boat out.”

“The boat goes fairly well in light conditions and it goes well in over 10 knots. We got the sail combination right yesterday and the guys know how to pick the wind. The average age on board is 68, so we have around 300 years of experience on board. We’re all locals, so local knowledge came into it too.”

Stevens, originally from Melbourne, moved to Airlie Beach around 20 years ago. “I’ve done around half a dozen Airlie Beach Race Weeks, but this is my first as a boat owner. For the size of the boat and the age of the crew, we’re doing OK,” Stevens ended.

Fourth Dimension IV tops PHS Division 1 leaderboard – Shirley Wodson, ABRW pic

PHS Cruising Division 1 went to Adam Griffin’s Fourth Dimension IV, which won from Paul Mara’s Helsal III and Peter Lowndes’ Wine Dark Sea. Lowndes’ Lyons 49 recently received a new carbon rig in anticipation of the next Melbourne Osaka Double Handed Yacht Race. It was an all-NSW podium in this Division and three will be pushing hard again tomorrow.

Holy Cow! from Sydney won PHS Cruising Division 2 from Remco Penn’s Bigger Day Out (Vic) and John Cray’s Sea Bass (Qld).

Need for speed crew use the water pistol as they wait for breeze – Shirley Wodson, ABRW pic

Holy Cow! owner, John Clinton said, “We were expecting all the rockstars to be at the top of the field. We thought we couldn’t afford to argue with them because they’re pretty serious. They disappeared faster than us off the mass start line, giving us clear air and the old Cow took off.”

Clinton claimed: “I think it was the bit of grass on the Double Cones that got the Cow excited and thought it was time to chew the cud.”

On a serious note, the Wolverines rock band member said, “The wind suited us. I think we’ve destroyed our handicap. “I wasn’t expecting to win, so it was great to come ashore and see the results. “We’re just very happy to be here.

Holy Cow! rocked Division 2 – Shirley Wodson, ABRW pic

“It’s good to see all the boats that turned up to this regatta. Whitsunday Sailing Club and their volunteers ran this regatta in 2020 and 2021 when nobody else could run one, so they deserve the big numbers they got this year,” Clinton concluded.

PHS Division 3 went to Ian Westlake’s Adams 13, Alabaster from the host club. Michael Rowe’s Norton White Corum (NSW) and Daniel McSweeney’s Brigus (Qld) filled out the top three.

Ross Chisholm, ABRW Event Chairman, said tomorrow’s forecast is for around 8-10 knots from the east, which will have the fleet back on the various race tracks.

Alabaster is PHS Division 3 leader – Shirley Wodson, ABRW pic

Airlie Beach Race Week Festival of Sailing is being held from 11 to 18 August. It 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 and all information on Airlie Beach Race Week, please visit:

Di Pearson/ABRW media

JPK August 2023