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Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach RW- What a week - see you next year

by Ian Thomson on 21 Aug 2010
SOS OCEAN RACING - Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week 2010 Teri Dodds http://www.teridodds.com
Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week has been run and won .... if you missed it this year, don't miss next year!

This is only my second Airlie Beach Race Week yet this regatta is proving time and time again, that it is not just the tropical shirt regatta, but one of the best run regattas in Australia and every boat here this year will testify to that.


From the top guys in IRC racing to the sports boats, this regatta caters for everyone and in the two years I've been here I have come to love the race courses that they send us on. This regatta is not just about partying. This year we had courses up to 36nm long with most races taking at least four hours of sailing. This means you get to sail all over the Whitsundays and there is still plenty of time to drink and talk story in the beer tent when you get back ashore.

The race committee do an awesome job too. I know I got jeered when I received a spot prize of free drinks for saying they do a good job but on the Sunday especially, they nailed the day. They held us in the marina until the wind looked to be building and then straight to a start and they set the perfect course. It was one of the most perfect days of sailing I had for quite some time. On the last day, some might say that the race shouldn't have been held or shouldn't have been abandoned however the conditions were so bad for sailing that I believe them at least trying is testiment to what this regatta is about. They could have abandoned early and sent us back to the beer tent but they sent us all out on a course. I can only say once again, great effort guys.

However the best part of this regatta is the crews and their attitude towards the event. They are all here for fun yet all agree the racing is better than other regattas around Australia. I was asked by Terri Dodds when she interviewed me 'You always have a smile on your face and seem to be enjoying yourself, what is it all about?' I responded that having spent 42 days on my own sailing around Australia, the thing I missed the most was the banter from crew mates and other boats. This regatta was perfect for me to prove this point. This is the first regatta I have done since I've been back and this was the best regatta I have ever been involved in.

We didn't win, we didn't even place but you know what, we were winners, we had the best week we could and everybody contributed to it. From John Clinton and the Wolverines on Holy Cow, to Terry Archer's Questionable Logic that we wrapped in toilet paper, to Mike Roper's Ropabull and his daily antics, to the crew on the Hanse Hans-On who gave me a bum steer off the start which caused me to OCS and yet we all laughed about it, to the guys on Storm 2, the biggest boat in the fleet, who towed in the smallest boat in the fleet on the final afternoon, to the guys from TPD who created the nightly videos, this was a regatta to remember.

We have to thank everyone involved from the sponsors, the organising committee, the volunteers from the Whitsunday Sailing Club, media and finally each and every crew member and support crew.

This was a magic week and if you missed it, be sure not to miss next year. If you did make it, bring your mates next year, they will love you for it. I can guarantee that I will be back next year for more fun and I hope to see you there.

Cheers,
Ian Thomson
SOS Ocean Racing
World's fastest solo circumnavigator of Australia.


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