THE CLIPPER Round the World Yacht Race returns to Airlie Beach and Coral Sea Marina Resort, for the fourth time, this month.
The race arrival window opens on January 16, 2024, depending on weather conditions.
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is a record-breaking 40,000 nautical mile endurance test, divided into eight legs, and 13 to 16 races, including six ocean crossings.
What’s more, anyone can come along, as long as those with no sailing experience complete the intensive training program!
The fleet of 11 70ft racing yachts will race from Freemantle to Newcastle, and then onto Airlie Beach, in the Australian coast-to-coast leg (Leg 4 of the iconic race).
There will be race crews from all corners of the world and, for many, this will be their first visit to the Whitsundays and Airlie Beach.
The fleet will be given a warm Whitsundays welcome from their supporters and race officials, at Coral Sea Marina.
To celebrate the Airlie Beach stopover, Coral Sea Marina invites the local community to get involved with some of the events that are happening (listed below).
For those not able to attend the events, pop down to the marina and enjoy the hustle and bustle created by the race crews and their supporters, as they enjoy a few days of downtime before prepping the yachts for the next leg of the race.
The popular Open Boat Day also offers the perfect opportunity to find out more about life onboard a 70ft yacht, as it races around the world.
Depending on weather conditions the fleet can arrive any time from January 16.
Keep an eye on CSM’s and WN’s social media for updates and be part of the crowd to welcome the fleet into the marina and to the Whitsundays.
LITTLE RIPPER CLIPPER CUP
Hosted by the Whitsunday Sailing Club, head down to watch the crews from the Clipper Race battle it out on the club’s RS Quest dinghies.
Teams of three will go head-to-head in knock-out qualifying rounds until the overall Little Ripper Clipper Cup winner is announced, after a final round.
Relax on the deck at the club’s bistro with a cool drink and a delicious meal and enjoy the sailing spectacle.
Thursday, January 18. Whitsunday Sailing Club, race starts at 11am. Bistro open from 11.30am. No entry fee, all ages welcome.
TOUR A CLIPPER 70 RACING YACHT
Bring your family and step on board a Clipper 70 stripped-down ocean racing yacht. Take an ‘above and below’ deck tour with the race crew that will call these yachts home for the next seven months.
On deck, test your skills on one of the eleven winches that hoist the sails up the 29m [95 foot] mast.
Below deck, explore the Nav Station, galley, bunks, stowage to see where the 20 Race Crew members live when off-watch.
Friday, January 19, from 10am to 3pm. M Arm, at Coral Sea Marina. No entry fee, all ages welcome.
MEET THE AUSSIE LOCALS
Hosted in the Coral Sea Marina Gardens, this event is open to the public and will give the visiting Clipper Race crews and their supporters the opportunity to ‘Meet the Aussie Locals’.
Come down, enjoy some food and drinks, live music and also experience an Aussie wildlife encounter, with the expert team at Whitsunday Wildlife.
Fauna Rescue volunteers will be serving up an Aussie ‘Sausage Sizzle’, with all proceeds donated to Fauna Rescue.
A bar will be open and there will be live music from Total Entertainment.
Saturday, January 20, from 4 to 6pm. Coral Sea Marina Gardens (south marina). No entry fee. Cash/Eftpos available for food and drinks. All ages welcome.
PARADE OF SAILS
Watch the Clipper Race fleet line up in vibrant formation, in Pioneer Bay, before they head past the Great Barrier Reef to start Race Leg 5.
The yachts will depart Coral Sea Marina, bidding farewell to race supporters, then form a Parade of Sails in Pioneer Bay for spectators to get one last glimpse of the yachts before the next leg begins.
If you have your own boat head out on the water and enjoy the parade.
If you don’t have a boat, you can watch the fleet depart from the south marina village and wave the fleet off from the land.
Monday, January 22, from 12pm to 12.30pm at Coral Sea Marina (south end), Airlie Beach.