Let’s welcome the fleet
Everyone welcome as ocean racers sail in
STAFF at Abell Point Marina are counting down the days to when the world famous Clipper Race fleet arrives.
Currently in Sydney preparing for the epic Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race on Boxing Day, the Clipper Race fleet will then head north and will be sailing into the Whitsundays some time around January 13, depending on the weather.
It is the first time the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race has called into Airlie Beach and excitement is mounting.
Not only is it the world’s longest ocean race, it is also the only event of its kind that trains amateurs to take on the high seas under the leadership of professional skippers.
In recognition of this momentous occasion, Abell Point Marina is “rolling out the blue carpet” with a bumper four days of events and celebrations to welcome the crews, who represent more than 40 different nationalities.
Abell Point Marina marketing and business development manager Luke McCaul said it was going to be a fantastic community event and everyone was invited.
“There are lots of ways people can get involved over the four days,” he said.
“We have a packed community activity schedule and the fleet will be on display every day.
“People can jump on board and look around the yachts and see what it’s really like on an ocean-going vessel.
“It’s a great opportunity to be involved in a world-class event and it’s open to everyone, so we are hoping for a big crowd to welcome the fleet and take advantage of all the free activities going on.”
On Friday, January 15, there will be music and salsa dancing at Barcelona Tapas Bar, from 5.30pm, and then at 7.30pm there will be a fire- works display at the south end of the marina.
On Saturday, January 16, the day will kick off with a 5km park run at 7am, followed by a full day of family entertainment and the chance to tour the yachts. At 4pm, the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race skippers will be interviewed in the courtyard next to Barcelona and this will be followed by live music.
Sunday, January 17 will have the Outrigger Paddle Challenge take place off Shingley Beach, at 8am, with a Rotary Club community breakfast.
And on Monday, January 18, there is a Bendigo Bank community breakfast before the departure ceremony, where everyone can give the race fleet a big Whitsundays send-off as they set sail on the next leg of their voyage.
“It’s going to be very exciting and we want the local community to come and be a part of that as we welcome – and then farewell – the 12 magnificent yachts and their crews, as they race around the world,” Mr McCaul said.
SETTING SAIL: The Clipper Fleet is due to embark on the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race on Boxing Day, before arriving in the Whitsundays mid-January. Pictured: Great Britain skipper Peter Thornton waves to his colleagues on the ClipperTelemed+ vessel. Photo: Dan Himbrechts AAP