Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

IT SHOULD be their down sea­son but the Abell Point Ma­rina crew is preparing to be busier than ever, with the ar­rival in Jan­uary of 12 fa­mous Clip­per yachts.

The Clip­per Round the World Yacht Race will call into Air­lie Beach from Jan­uary 13 for the first time in its 19-year history and Abell Point Ma­rina mar­ket­ing and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager Luke McCaul is de­ter­mined to make sure it goes off with­out a hitch.

Mr McCaul is cur­rently over­see­ing the dredg­ing to about 4m of 12 berths on the ma­rina’s Marm, which will ac­com­mo­date the deep draft yachts.

“Th­ese boats have a 3m draft and will be com­ing in at all hours so we want to make sure there’s no prob­lems at all,” he said, adding the ma­rina’s dredge pro­gram had been very suc­cess­ful, giv­ing the ca- pac­ity to berth su­per yachts “that can’t go any­where else in Aus­tralia”.

Held bi­en­ni­ally, the 40,000mile Clip­per yacht race is re­garded as one of the tough­est en­durance chal­lenges on the planet.

Es­tab­lished in 1996 by Bri­tish yacht­ing leg­end Sir Robin Knox-John­ston, the idea of the race is to al­low any­one, re­gard­less of pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence, the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence the ex­hil­a­ra­tion of ocean rac­ing.

The fleet of 12, one-de­sign 70-foot rac­ing yachts and its hun­dreds of crew are cur­rently in Western Aus­tralia preparing to com­pete in the iconic 2015 Rolex Sydney Ho­bart Yacht Race, af­ter which they will head to Air­lie Beach.

The Abell Point Ma­rina, in part­ner­ship with Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil, the Whit­sun­day Coast Cham­ber of Commerce, Whit­sun­days Mar­ket­ing and De­vel­op­ment, Tourism Events Queens­land, the Abell Point Yacht Club and lo­cal busi­nesses, is plan­ning a fun-filled sched­ule to cel­e­brate the ar­rival of the Clip­per Race crew from Jan­uary 13–18 and is en­cour­ag­ing the lo­cal com­mu­nity and trav­el­ling visi­tors to jump on board with all the ac­tion.

Mr McCaul said the ac­tiv­ity sched­ule in­cluded a func­tion on Fri­day, Jan­uary 15, com­plete with fire­works, a com- mu­nity open day at the ma­rina on the Satur­day, an outrig­ger chal­lenge on the Sun­day and the for­ma­tion of a flotilla to farewell the fleet on Mon­day, Jan­uary 18.

“And we’re look­ing at a num­ber of dif­fer­ent ways we can en­gage with the me­dia and all our busi­nesses here to ba­si­cally pro­vide up­dates to the com­mu­nity,” he said.

“It’s a great des­ti­na­tion for them to be com­ing to and we want to get to­gether, col­lab­o­rate and bring this to the high- est pro­file.”

Mr McCaul pointed out the tim­ing of the visit was per­fect, with that par­tic­u­lar week­end in Jan­uary nor­mally some­what of a dead spot.

“But if we can cre­ate a spec­ta­cle it’ll roll into Aus­tralia Day and Chi­nese New Year – no one had bud­geted for this but the com­mu­nity’s go­ing to ben­e­fit,” he said.

For more in­for­ma­tion about how to get in­volved visit www.clip­per­race-whit­sun­

PRE­PARED: Abell Point Ma­rina mar­ket­ing and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager Luke McCaul over­sees the dredg­ing of berths to ac­com­mo­date the dozen 70ft Clip­per yachts.

Abell Point Ma­rina’s Luke McCaul briefs ten­ants on the up­com­ing Clip­per event on Tues­day.

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