Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week 2012 – the stage is set

Team Vodafone Sailing - Airlie Beach Race Week 2011
Stu Mackinvern
Sailing in the 23rd annual Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week is just a day away. The event runs until August 16th with a record number of sailors racing in a strong 120+ boat fleet.

Tonight at the Airlie Beach Race Week skipper’s briefing at the Whitsunday Sailing Club, the subject of most interest beyond the details of this very successful regatta will be Olympic sailing news.

Right now, as it happens every fourth year, the Olympics co-incide with Airlie Beach Race Week.

This year the Australian Olympic sailors half the world away at London 2012 are dramatically lifting the profile of the sailing sport nation-wide, with two Gold medals in the bag and another two Gold medals in play as two more Australian crews lead their classes.

London Olympic 2012 Games - Laser Gold medallist -Tom Slingsby
Carlo Borlenghi/FIV - copyright

Tomorrow the colour of the third medal will become known as Queenslander Mat Belcher and Sydney sailor Malcolm Page face off in the 470 dinghy class against the Brits, who can only take away Australia's third Gold medal of the London 2012 series by beating our sailors with an extra boat between them.

Australia’s Oliva Price and her match racing crew are favourites for an incredible fourth Gold medal, to be decided on Sunday night Airlie Beach time.

August 8, 2012 - Weymouth, England - Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) Gold Medal winners

At the briefing tonight for the Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week the 2012 skippers will be told that after a warm week with soft winds, the latest weather forecast indicates a week of tradewinds ahead.

The first warning signal for the 2012 event will be at 10:55am on Friday and Principal Race officer Jim Hayes has confirmed his intention of running the Cones-Armit race, the traditional series opener, as scheduled.

As the fleet streams north, 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.

The stage is set.

More information is available on Airlie Beach Race Week website at