by Ian Grant
During the past 22 years, the Whitsunday Sailing Club has proved their proud tradition and loyalty to host the international standard Airlie Beach Race Week. Over the years this special event now known as the friendly tropical shirt regatta has been responsible for injecting an enormous cash flow into the community.
Awesome weather in the Whitsundays - Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach 22nd Annual Race Week 2011
Remarkably the success of the event which has continued to showcase the regatta and the Whitsunday region as one of Australia’s friendliest and more popular sailing destinations would not be possible without the support from a very loyal group of Whitsunday Sailing Club volunteers.
There are simply too many to name individually however they can take pride that their time and energy from making lunches to assisting with race administration and crewing with the regatta management team on the course contributed to the success of race week.
The dedication of the volunteers who were generally the first on the race course and the last to return to the dock was again supported by their member mates who generated the friendly scene in the hospitality tent.
They offered their services with a friendly smile serving the cold drinks in an atmosphere which has become a feature behind the history of Airlie Beach Race Week being known as Australia’s friendliest yachting regatta.
The endless hours committed to the ‘labour of Love’ provided by the volunteers who are happy to be rewarded with a cut launch and the traditional tropical shirt expresses a special loyalty to their club the sport and to the individual sailors who travel from distant ports to enjoy a week of yacht racing.
This year the Whitsunday Sailing Club gained significant international awareness while the regatta again contributed to a much needed cash flow into the community.
As expected it is difficult to estimate the real value but with over 700 visiting yachtsmen in port who required a warm and stable bed to sleep in plus access to a warm shower and the need to park his deck shoes under a meal table conservatively suggests the cash injected into the community was significant.
However this important contribution to the economic stability of the community would not be possible without the loyalty and dedication provided by the small band of Whitsunday Sailing Club volunteers.
They all have tremendous respect for the role the Club plays with youth development in the sport and have already nominated to be in the volunteer team for Airlie Beach Race Week 2012.