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It's warm water fun and games at Airlie Beach for August Race Week and Reef Festival

July 02, 2012
It's warm water fun and games  at Airlie Beach for August Race Week and Reef Festival

Airlie Beach Race Week 10 to 16thand the local Reef Festival 16 to 19thheat up in August with events on the foreshore. On and off the water it's a happening thing in Queensland. Fireworks, live music, competitions, the pirate themed Street Parade and family fun is on offer.

The Great Whitsunday Fun Race and Pirate Party on Saturday, 18 August is the culmination of a season of sailing at the Whitsunday Sailing Club. Entries for the 23rd Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week compete in 10 different divisions. Australian and New Zealand teams will fight it out on Pioneer Bay with ORMA 60 trimarans. Team Australia from Sydney and Team Vodafone Sailing from New Zealand will cross tacks.

Life may be laid-back on the land but once on the water it's game on. The Kiwis are great seamen, particularly in heavy conditions. Simon Hulls red and white Team Vodafone Sailing lines up against Sean Langmans Team Australia.

In April Team Australia proved she is the fastest ocean racing yacht in the country, taking almost two and a half hours off the Brisbane to Gladstone Multihull division ocean race record set by Victorian catamaran Raw Nerve, Martyn Riley in 2004. The performance is a blinder. The tri sailed above her own high handicap rating to win outright by 26 min and 56 sec.

Unbeaten in New Zealand, Team Vodafone smashed the Auckland to Noumea race record by an amazing 20.5 hours. She is berthed in the Abel Point Marina in Airlie Beach.

Last Easter Team Australia logged a remarkable 18.7 knot average with her runaway line honours win in the 308 nautical mile Brisbane to Gladstone race.

Team Vodafone Sailing recorded a 12.26 knot average with an an impressive line honours time of 3 days 6 hours 29 minutes 50 seconds in the longer and more physically demanding Auckland to Noumea classic.

Airlie Beach racing starts at 10am on Friday, August 10. It will be spectacular. The two 'Big Gun' trimarans in the Multihull Division can touch 40knots under sail in strong winds and flat water.

This is the kind of 'attack speed' usually found in modern naval engagements.

Even if you are not out on the water you will be able to see these massive craft from the foreshore. It will be well worth coming down to see this spectacular start, Whitsunday Sailing Club commodore Rob Davis says.

The Performance Racing fleet at Airlie Beach includes John Bacons McConaghy 38 Dark Star, Matt Allens Farr 400 Ichi Ban, Geoff Lavis' UBS Wild Thing and Leo Rodriguez TelcoinaBox Merit. Last year the Airlie Beach Race Week attracted a fleet of 125.

Even walking around Abel Point Marina precinct will provide plenty of eye-candy with some of the best racing yachts in Australia berthed for the event.

Team Vodafone flies to windward. Courtesy Sharon Smallwood.
Team Vodafone flies to windward. Courtesy Sharon Smallwood.

Local businesses are also going all out to create a great week of entertainment open to competitors and the general public.

The Airlie Beach Hotel will have a live band on Saturday 11 August and the Village Caf is holding a Tropical Shirt and Hot Rock Party on Sunday 12 August as well as running breakfast all day long, every day.

The Whitsunday Sailing Club bistro will be open to the public all week for lunch and dinner. It is right on the point at Airlie Beach and locals regard it as one of the best spots in town.

The club is active in both off-the-beach and offshore sailing. The club has one of the best protected sailing areas on the Queensland coast.

Airlie Beach Race Week, the village atmosphere of the small tourist town of Airlie Beach combined with the throng of all the competitors and their support teams, daily racing on the water and a full schedule of social events makes it one of the most popular Queensland regattas.

Combine this with the normally gorgeous August weather, one of the most beautiful waterways in Australia and a host of water-based activities and tours and it really is an ideal time to head north.

Event dates are:

Airlie Beach Race Week 10-16 August.

Reef Festival 16-19 August.

The Great Whitsunday Fun Race and Party 18 August.

Free Sundowner for visiting GoSeers

In the spirit of Queensland hospitality the Manager of the Whitsunday Sailing Club offers a free

'sundowner' to any GoSeer at Airlie Beach Race Week who mentions GoSeeAustralia when ordering


Editors note: The Ocean Racing Multihull Association (ORMA) is an international structure created in 1996 by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) which administers the multihull 60 feet classes of sailboats. Multihulls are usually faster than ballastedmonohulls, because the absence of ballast reduces their weight and the amount of hull surface drag through the water considerably.

The waterline to width ratio is larger, allowing the thinner hulls to be driven through the water at higher speeds, as each works somewhat independently of the other(s). In multihull racing designs the sail power (efficiency) to weight and wetted surface ratio produces 'turbo-charged' performance. Famous ocean races for multihulls include the Route du Rhum, the Transat Jacques Vabre, the Quebec-St Malo and the Single-Handed Trans-Atlantic Race.

Reef Festival. Airlie Beach Queensland.
Reef Festival. Airlie Beach Queensland.