The 23rd annual Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week, which will run from August 10th to 16th, is shaping as the best ever says Regatta Director Denis Thompson.
‘This regatta just keeps getting stronger and stronger. At this stage the flow of entries is well ahead of expectations. With six weeks until racing starts we have more than 80 boats on our lists so far, spread across eight divisions.
'It’s going to be a wonderful sight with the two big ORMA 60 trimarans, last year’s sensation Simon Hull’s Team Vodafone Sailing coming up against Sean Langman’s Brisbane to Gladstone winner Team Australia at the front of a very big multihull fleet. Even just the sound of the wind howling in their rigging is exciting. These boats can hit 40 knots in the right conditions and routinely hit 30 knots in the island passage racing.
‘All up we have 15 multihulls so far and that number is likely to be 20 plus.
‘Across the board we have a wonderful fleet.’
Thompson is certainly right about that.
The IRC Racing fleet already has two TP52’s entered; Geoff Ross’ Yendys and Anthony Lyall’s Cougar II while the IRC Cruising fleet honours will be hotly contested with Daryl Hodgkinson’s Beneteau 45 Victoire amongst the favourites.
The Performance Racing fleet will definitely be the best ever to assemble at Airlie Beach. Amongst those entered to date are John Bacon’s McConaghy 38 Dark Star, Matt Allen’s Farr 400 Ichi Ban, Geoff Lavis' UBS Wild Thing and Leo Rodriguez TelcoinaBox Merit. And then there will be the battle of the Beneteaus’; Tony Ross from Ensign Racing with the Beneteau First 40 Black Label, her sister ship Mike Keyte’s Take Flight and Kevin Fogarty’s new Twister will make for a very competitive fight.
There are already 26 boats in the Cruising Fleets, amongst them Don Algie’s Warwick 66 Storm II, Paul Effeney’s Broomstick, Mal Robertson’s Sydney 60 Eureka II, David Molloy’s legendary Hammer of Queensland, Kim and John Clinton’s Holy Cow … the list goes on.
Then we come to the Sports Boats and once again expectations are that this will be the biggest and best Asia Pacific Sports Boat regatta of 2012.
At the big end of town will be Bob Cowan’s Stealthy, John Rae’s Guided Missile and Peter Jamieson’s Two Hot to Trot, in the middle Brett Whitbread’s Blokes World and Jason Ruckert’s Mister Magoo, while the battle of the 650’s will be intense with three Shaws, two Leeches and two Thompsons. It will be another year of wet and wild riding for theses fun machines.
To find out more about the Whitsundays famous tropical shirt regatta please visit the Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week website, where you will find more information and online entry www.airliebeachraceweek.com.au