by Fleur Stone
Great Whitsunday Fun Race is on Saturday, August 17 and this year’s event promises to be bigger and more exciting than ever with some of the region’s famous boats taking part.
The famous maxi yacht, Condor racing in 2012 - Great Whitsunday Fun Race
The race hosted by the Whitsunday Sailing Club, now in its 37th year, is part of the annual Whitsunday Reef Festival. It takes place on Pioneer Bay. It is a friendly, anything goes bay race where racing and cruising yachts race side-by-side, and often neck-and-neck.
The race is at the end of Airlie Beach Race Week. It is the culmination of six days of highly competitive racing between over 100 boats from all over Australia and beyond.
Fun Race is a chance for experienced crew and would-be sailors to come together, let their hair down and participate in a race more infamous for its figureheads and debaucherous on-water activity than its competitiveness – after all the prize is an empty bottle of rum.
This year, for the first time in many years, the local big boys are coming out to play, promising an exhilarating spectacle both on and off the water.
Airlie Beach is the retirement home for many famous maxiyachts. A place where many ex-racing maxi’s come to spend the rest of their working days in charter, filled with sun-drenched backpackers looking for fun and adventure.
These maxi’s have a vibrant and colourful history, from Whitbread round the world races to multiple wins in east-coast racing events from the Sydney-Hobart to Sydney-Southport.
At least four of the big boats will be out on the course at Fun Race, and owner of two of them, Condor and Hammer, Dave Molloy says the show will be quite a sight.
Possibly the most famous maxi, Condor, will be competing in Abell Point Marina Airlie Beach Race Week. The skipper and crew will then be taking part in Fun Race before heading to Hamilton Island for the beginning of their regatta. It will be an action packed two weeks for this crew.
Hammer is also taking part in Airlie Beach Race Week and Fun Race, and still has crew spots available for anyone interested in a real racing experience.
'This is an opportunity for everyone to get involved.' Mr Molloy said. 'Sailing is no longer the exclusive domain of yachties. Anyone can get involved and see what it’s like on a real racing yacht and why we love it so much.'
For more information on booking tickets
Condor Built: 1981 Length: 83ft Achievements: Sydney-Hobart 1983, 1986 Newport-Bermuda 1986, California Cup 1982, Fastnet 1981 and 1982, Hamilton Island Race Week 1990 and 2010
Hammer Built: 1987 Length: 76ft Achievements: Five consecutive podium placings in the Sydney-Hobart. Winner at
Hamuilton Island Race Week 1991.
British Defender Built: 1989 Length: 83ft Achievements: Raced by British armed forces in 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World
Silent Night Built: 1983 Length: 50ft Achievements: Designed by Ben Lexen and won 2005 Hogs Breath Airlie Beach Race Week