Sports Boat’s Brett Whitbread is ranked highly among the strong contingent of Queensland skippers who will contest this year’s Abell Point Marina Airlie Beach Race Week.
Mr Magoo leads Crank into the mark in last year’s Sports Boat fleet racing WEB - Abell Point Marina Airlie Beach Race Week 2013
The ‘everywhere man’ when it comes to Sports Boat events, Whitbread will this year be campaigning his Egan designed Crank having carried out significant modifications to the boat since he raced it as the podium placing Blokes World.
Due to his work taking him to far flung locations around Australia, it’s hard for Whitbread to fit all the sailing he would like to do, so he tends to choose to do regattas like his favoured Airlie Beach Race Week. 'I work away a lot so the only time I get to go sailing is when I get time off from work. I just do all the big regattas. I don’t really do too much club sailing,' Whitbread said.
This will be Whitbread’s tenth year at Airlie. He started racing there on his father’s yacht before moving to what he terms 'the gentlemen’s dinghy'. That move paid off with Whitbread winning the class nationals in 2011 and on the Airlie Race Week podium in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
With the Sports Boats having just completed the inaugural Sports Boat Winter Nationals at Mooloolaba, talk has turned to Airlie Beach, the Race Week and the eleventh year of racing for this fleet.
Whitbread hopes that up to 25 boats will be on the course for the ninth to 16th August regatta. 'The Vipers will make up a lot of that as I believe there is a shipment coming very shortly which will boost up the Queensland numbers.
'It would be good to see some of the Shaw 650s like Peow Peow up there and any of the other quick Shaw 650s. It makes it more interesting with the different sized boats that really have a good chance.'
Whitbread sounded relieved that the Sports Boat Winter Nationals winner, Mark Buchbach’s Raptor, is unlikely to be at Airlie. 'It will give the rest of us a chance.
'If Bob Cowan with Stealthy enters, he is always very competitive. I also believe Kiss is entering. They won the event a few years ago. The boat has a new owner. I think they will be hard to beat,' Whitbread said.
Joining Whitbread in the current list of entries are Bob Sled (Neil Hamilton, QLD), Junior (Ray Carless, NSW), Mister Magoo (Jason Ruckert, QLD), Rip It Up (Barry Berndt, QLD), Slingshot (Bob McCamley, QLD), Viper QLD (Noel Leigh-Smith, QLD) and Vivace (John Rae, QLD).
For event information and online entry, go http://airlieraceweek.com/