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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Airlie Beach Race Week – 100 entries and counting

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Entries for Ocean Dynamics and Mount Gay Airlie Beach Race Week 2024 have already touched 100 and continue to grow as organiser, Whitsunday Sailing Club (WSC), announces a new Regatta Director, Jenni Birdsall.

With interest across the smorgasbord of classes taking part in the 36th edition, Performance Cruising has attracted 33 yachts to-date, embracing Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, NSW, South Australia and the ACT. Regulars will be joined this year by new names and others that have been missing for two or three years who feel compelled to return to the beautiful Whitsunday Islands sailing paradise.

Julian Bell, owner/skipper of a Beneteau 50, 51st Project from Newcastle, rationalises his entry succinctly: “A bad day’s sailing still beats a good day in the office…”

“It’s the second time I’ve participated,” Bell elaborated. “The first time was on Tim Peachey’s Mr T, but this is the first time with my boat. We enjoy tropical races. We like the sailing and the social side up north. Our crew is very social.”

Multihull Racing entries are also on the rise, with 18 entered. There are three Extreme 40s, but for the first time competition will come from a GC32, Film Racing, skippered by Simon Delzoppo. Add to the mix a variety of Stealth, Grainger, Farrier and other quick designs. Some are past winners at Airlie Beach.

The .film AUS Racing team has competed on the GC32 tour for five European seasons since 2017, but the boat has returned to Australia for 2024, according to Delzoppo. His fast foiling multihull has bagged owner/driver trophies and podium finishes at GC32 regattas overseas, competing against fully professional, Americas Cup and owner/driver teams. They will no doubt give the opposition a run for their money.

Entrants so far cover every state and territory of Australia. They will enjoy a heady combination of beautiful Whitsunday islands sunshine, sailing, sunsets and a superb social program post sailing every day.

On the flip side of the event, WSC has appointed Jenni Birdsall to the position of Regatta Director. She is the first woman to fill the role. However, she has long been involved in the race management team, not least when officiating for PRO Denis Thompson (at his bidding) in 2020 when COVID restrictions meant his staying put in Sydney.

“Our new regatta management team are enthusiastic and working towards bringing a fresh approach to Airlie Beach Race Week in 2024,” Birdsall said.

“With some great new sponsors and support sponsors on board and an increase in local community support, we’ll have some new and different trophies and top rate entertainment,” she shared.

“Volunteers are a big part of our regatta and we welcome new volunteers to join our team. If you are interested, please go to the link on the event web page. 

“We look forward to catching up with seasoned regatta sailors and those that are coming for the first time,” Birdsall ended. 

Birdsall volunteers at several events, including SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week, the Women’s Regatta at Townsville, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and Festival of Sails.

And joining Mobile Power Trailers on the growing list of support sponsors for Race Week this year is Whitsunday Vacations, Airlie Beach’s premiere luxury holiday rental agency. 

‘We love showcasing the region’s most beautiful homes to our guests and especially the look on their faces after discovering the beautiful ocean views and stunning pools we offer,” said owner, Mark Beale.

The company offers personalised service with all types of ‘add-ons’ available for your stay, including private chefs, helicopter tours, private charter yachts and superyachts.

“We are excited to be a sponsor of Airlie Beach Race Week 2024 and love the atmosphere and fun feeling it brings to the region every year,” Beale said.

Ray White Marine Whitsunday is also aboard. Leo Rodriguez and Mark Beale started the branch in 2022 and have been busy selling boats and berths since.

A professional skipper, Rodriguez has a vast knowledge of sailing yachts and motor vessels. If you are considering buying or selling your boat, contact him directly by phone: 0415 776 633 or email: leo@raywhitemarine.com

Rodriguez says, “We are proud to be associated with Ocean Dynamics and Mount Gay Airlie Beach Race Week 2024.”

Ocean Dynamics and Mount Gay Airlie Beach Race Week 2024 enjoys continued support from the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and is a feature on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.

To enter ABRW and for all information, visit the new official website at: www.abrw.com.au

For all information on Mobile Power Trailers, visit: https://mobilepowertrailers.com.au/

By Di Pearson/WSC media.

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