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Airlie Beach Race Week – Impressive yachts arrive

by Corrie Gardner on 7 Aug 2012
WSC and Premier Newman - Airlie Beach Race Week 2012 Bob Fenney
Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week gets underway on Friday 10th August 2012. There is a buzz in the air as impressive yachts arrive in Airlie Beach. With record breaking entries of over 130 yachts the Whitsunday Sailing Club is gearing up for the biggest event of the year.

The Premier Campbell Newman, Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey, Transport Minister Scott Emerson and local member Jason Costigan all made time to drop by Abel Point Marina during their Cabinet visit to the Whitsundays to lend their support to the event and inspect one of the boats competing in the regatta. Mr Newman said, 'this event promotes Queensland’s wonderful Whitsunday region and showcases it as a holiday destination and the sailing mecca of Australia.'

Joint owner and skipper of 'Merit' Leo Rodriguez said, 'I introduced the Premier to a few of the crew and we showed him how we hoist a crew member aloft using the grinders. He was very interested in talking about the sport of sailing and how he learned to sail as a young boy.'

'Merit' will be competing in Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week for the first time with its current owners Leo Rodriguez and Ian Bishop. The yacht was built in 1997/98 for the Volvo Ocean race and has competed in every major race in Australia including the last four Sydney to Hobart races with Leo at the helm. The yacht is 20 metres in length and normally competes in the IRC division but will be hosting some Telcoinabox executives and racing at a more leisurely pace in the Performance Cruising class this year.

For members of the public interested in boats, even walking around Abel Point Marina precinct will provide plenty of eye-candy in the next week with some of the best racing yachts in Australia berthed for the event. Jessica Watson is also coming to town to join the racing crew and thousands of competitors arriving by air, road and sea from all over Australia. Jessica will be giving a motivational talk to 900 school students at the Proserpine High School and will be available to meet the public at 3pm on Monday 13 August at the Whitsunday Sailing Club.

If you’ve never been to Airlie Beach during Race Week, the village atmosphere of the small tourist town combined with the throng of all the competitors and their support teams, spectacular yachts on the water every day and the assortment of public and competitor social events makes it one of the most popular times to visit the area.

The week of serious sailing concludes and the fun takes over on Saturday 18 August with the Great Whitsunday Fun Race and Pirate Party. This is a celebration of the season of sailing and includes a yacht race with decorated crew and boats, heaps of spectator boats and a wonderful outdoor party at the Whitsunday Sailing Club. All events on that day are open to the public to join in so come and be a part of what makes Airlie Beach the best party town in Queensland.

Whitsunday Sailing Club Airlie Beach Race Week Whitsunday Reef Festival website

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