‘We don’t know which one we enjoy more - the cruise up or Airlie Beach Race Week itself’ commented Sydney sailors John and Kim Clinton.
Happy days on Holy Cow - Airlie Beach 22nd Annual Race Week 2011
A regular fixture at Airlie Beach Race Week, in fact Boat of the Series in 2010, is the Clinton’s familiar Beneteau Oceanis 50 Holy Cow. With her black and white Friesen cow style headsail, the yacht is nearly as colourful as her owner John, the long silver bearded leader of the very popular country rock group the ‘Wolverines’.
John explained ‘We are heading north for our twelfth Airlie Beach Race Week.
‘If we were sailing nonstop to the Whitsundays from Sydney then we could make it in just over six days but generally we just day sail, so we take quite a while to reach Airlie.
‘In the last three years we have tried not to do ‘overnighters’ as we’ve noticed that the whale encounters we have had have almost doubled, so we figure that we have got to give way to these guys because it is really their ocean. Whales are of course a nice problem and we respect them - we respect everything out there.
‘We are looking forward to Airlie Beach Race Week 2012.
‘The journey up there is true sailing and its the same once you get there too. It’s great because you have big distances to cover and all sorts of challenges, like the tide and wind bullets.
John and Kim Clinton are presented with the Boat Of The Series trophy by Hog’s Breath cafe founder, Don Algie
‘Airlie Beach is really good. It is one of the best places in the world, I think. The atmosphere, the scenery, the competition and the camaraderie is pretty hard to beat. The Cruising fleet keeps growing because the cruisers have really hit on the atmosphere and the camaraderie.
‘We just enjoy our boat and we definitely don’t take anything off it to race. We keep our two coffee machines on board and we figure that if the handicapper can’t work it out well that's ok, and we will just go with whatever (handicap) we can get.
‘It is great watching the other boats racing The two big trimarans will be fun this year, they come up on you before you know where they are and they turn on sixpence, so it is pretty neat out there around the islands. We’ve had that happen a couple of times; we had a tri come towards us last year and boy …. I couldn’t believe how quickly they could turn!
‘I think it’s a toss-up as to which we enjoy the most - the actual cruise up or the racing around the islands.
‘On the trip up and back we have a lot of fun fishing but we only put out the lure if we have the room to store the fish. And usually when I put it out it doesn’t take long for me to catch something. We have caught tuna, mackerel, and bonito.
‘My firends get annoyed with me because I can’t identify the fish. So I take photos and send out a group email – asking can anyone tell me what this fish is? My friends accuse me of boasting and they might be right’ John laughed.
The Clinton’s Holy Cow will be lining up as part of the large cruising fleet for the 23rd annual Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week, which runs from 10th to 16th August 2012.
For more information about this iconic Whitsunday event and for online entry please visit the event website www.airliebeachraceweek.com.au