A record fleet spread across eight divisions will participate at this year’s Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week.
‘Of these, a record thirty boats will be from Airlie Beach’ says Kevin Fogarty, the Commodore of the Whitsunday Sailing Club ‘and another seven boats from Mackay.’
One of the toughest divisions will be the Performance Racing division, which traditionally has had a large and very successful Whitsunday Sailing Club representation.
Whitsunday Sailing Club has a very active sailing program, which includes the Wednesday social races, serious affairs according to sailing club member Mick Phillips. ‘We have a full on racing start and that's why if you have a look at the start line of any of the Airlie Beach Race Week races you will see Whitsunday Sailing Club boats are on the line, right on time. Maybe that’s because we have a minimum of 52 practices starts a year. ‘
Here is a quick form guide, supplied by Mick, for the local entrants just in the Performance Racing division at this year’s Race Week:
Idle Time is the Whitsunday Sailing Club Commodore Kevin Fogarty’s Spacesailer. Kevin has actually bought a new yacht, which is in transit from Europe at the moment but will not arrive in time for this year’s competition, so Idle Time will be yet again racing and is sure to be fiercely competitive.
Questionable Logic, owned by Terry Archer, is a Sydney 40. Terry is a pretty formidable sailor who will have good lieutenants and crew on board. They certainly know the local waters, so I would say if you are in that neck of the woods sailing with them don’t leave and go in the other direction.
Sandpiper Wutba is Col Pruden’s Swarbrick S111. Col is a former yachtsman of the year and you have another very keen and able crew, a confident skipper and they know the waters and produce consistent results.
Rod Sawyer’s Surefoot will be in the mix. Rod is the former commodore of South Perth Yacht Club in WA, but he came to the area and fell in love with the place. Though Surefoot may be an older boat, it does have a great pedigree (same designer Peter Norlin as Scampi A) and with her good crew, Surefoot will be pretty formidable on handicap.
Tom Osborne’s U.E.S. Rising Farrst is a Farr 1104. Tom comes from a very keen racing family, who race off beach and offshore and are a force to be reckoned with. It’s an old boat, but if you look at the sails and at its condition, you see it is a well loved boat.
Craig Piccinelli’s Wobbly Boot has been out of the water having a bit of a refit and a revamp and she is looking very pretty.
Craig has probably got the most experienced crew in the Whitsundays and has won the trophy for the most competitive sailor in the past. Craig has been club champion, I don’t know how many times. Wobbly Boot has an extremely deep keel so they don’t miss him handicap wise, but by the same token he is only 30 feet, being a basically modified Young 88.
Wobbly Boot points and goes like a witch to windward and just about planes off the breeze and is up with the 40 footers; quite often beats them home.
Mick summed up. Because we have so much sailing happening in the Whitsunday’s the calibre of sailing at Airlie Beach is very high. Our sailors are a force to be reckoned with. We have kids sailing that are fourth or fifth in the world so `have a look at the Whitsundays.’
Sandpiper (Colin Pruden) holds a handy windward cover on Idle Time (Kevin Fogarty) - Whitsunday Sailing Club Twilight Series 2010 - Ian Grant Click Here to view large photo
The full entry list for the 2011 Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week can be found at www.airliebeachraceweek.com.au