Today is day one of the 22nd annual Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week.
Red mast of TVS amongst the fleet at Abel Point Marina
A southerly change came through overnight as predicted and the Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Kenn Batt is expecting winds in the low 20’s at the top of today’s scheduled course.
With today's glorious weather and a record fleet registered there's definitely an exciting day ahead.
The first warning signal for the 2011 event will be at 10:55am and Principal Race officer Tony Denham has confirmed his intention of running the Cones-Armit race, the traditional series opener, as scheduled.
As the fleet streams north today the IRC Racing and Multihull fleets will sail a 31 nautical mile course from the Pioneer Bay start line upwind to a Mandalay clearing mark, a fast down-wind leg to Double Cone Island, a reach across to Armit Island and then further west to Olden Island and back to Pioneer Bay.
It will not be surprising if the giant ORMA 60 trimaran, Simon Hull’s TeamVodafoneSailing, is across the finishing line before some of the fleet has reached Double Cone.
The IRC Cruising, Super 30, Performance Racing and Cruising fleets will sail a shorter 23 nautical mile course, turning for home after rounding Armit Island while the Cruising Div 2, Non-Spinnaker and Sports Boats will round Double Cone and head back, sailing just 19 nautical miles in all.
More information on Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week at www.airliebeachraceweek.com.au