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Olympian 'home' at Airlie Beach Race Week

by Di Pearson/ABRW 13 Aug 17:06 PDT 11-18 August 2022

Australian Olympian Mara Stransky is among the record numbers taking part in the Whitsunday Sailing Club's 34th Airlie Beach Race Week (ABRW), which started off Airlie Beach in the Whitsunday Islands on Friday.

The 23-year-old competed at the 2020 Tokyo Games, representing in the Laser Radial class, these days known as the ILCA 6 class. She is on track to represent Australia again at the Paris Games after winning Gold at the Olympic classes Kiel Week in late June. However, she has strong Australian competition for the one place allocated per country in each sailing class.

Now the genial sailor is back 'home' between international competitions. Home is her parents Andrew and Carolyn Stransky's 15.6 metre catamaran, Fantasia, on which Stransky has lived and still does when she is in Australia.

"It's really nice to be home and racing Fantasia with my family. It's where all the racing started for me," Stransky said.

Of her past year in the Olympic class, the Queensland sailor reports, "It's been good to have a solid year in the class and be part of the Australian squad that is doing well. Four of us girls push each other hard at home in training and in competitions. I am really excited for the regattas and what is to come.

"The next event for us is the Worlds in October in Houston, Texas. I will train with the rest of the squad in Brisbane where the conditions are most like Texas," Stransky finished.

Fantasia and the family are not strangers to ABRW. "This is our third one. We won at the Nationals in 2012 and won again in 2013," Andrew says. They have notched up other wins and top three places at regattas and races too.

"We've lived on the boat since we launched it in 2009 and Mara comes back and stays on board when she's not racing overseas.

"I am impressed and in awe of her persistence (with the ILCA 6). To think she could be the best woman sailor in the class in Australia. To have the dream is one thing, but to actually do it...

"She just had a regatta in Marseille and she finished fourth in that against Olympic medallists in the class. And she's studying to be an engineer. She's inspired me here at Airlie Beach," he ended.

Going into Day 3 at Airlie Beach, Fantasia is fourth in Multihull Racing Division 2.

Ross Chisholm, Event Chairman said of the proposed start this morning "I'm hopeful we will have sufficient breeze around the Molles to have good racing today, once we get them away. It's likely we will postpone the proposed 10am start until the breeze has filled in, though."

Airlie Beach Race Week Festival of Sailing is being held from 11 to 18 August. It is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and is a feature on the It's Live! in Queensland events calendar.

For NoR, entry and all information on Airlie Beach Race Week, please visit abrw.com.au.

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