Air­lie to turn into Clip­per race hub

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

THE Clip­per Round the World Yacht Race will be given the royal treat­ment when the fleet ar­rives in Air­lie Beach next week, as Abell Point Ma­rina pre­pares the en­ter­tain­ment for the crews and curious visi­tors.

Abell Point Ma­rina man­ager, Luke McCaul said the Clip­per yachts would be ar­riv­ing in Air­lie Beach over Jan­uary 13 and 14 as they raced from Ho­bart to the Whit­sun­days.

“It’s about a 10-day race from Ho­bart to the Whit­sun­days – they left on the 3rd and we’re ex­pect­ing them to ar­rive next week on Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day,” he said.

Mr McCaul said ev­ery­one was wel­come to come down to the ma­rina and watch the first boats ar­rive.

“You can fol­low their jour­ney on the ra­dio and the Whit

sun­day Times Face­book page,” he said. “The best view will be along the Bi­cen­ten­nial walk­way.”

The party starts with a bang on Fri­day, with a fire­works dis­play sched­uled for 9pm to wel­come the fleet. Be­fore­hand, there will be mu­si­cal en­ter­tain­ment at the South Ma­rina and salsa danc­ing at Barcelona.

“It’ll be a great op­por­tu­nity to sit at a bar and soak up all the ac­tion, and maybe even min­gle with some of the crews and skip­pers,” Mr McCaul said.

Satur­day starts bright and early with parkrun at 7am, leav­ing from the South Ma­rina and giv­ing a great op­por­tu­nity to start the day fresh and catch a glimpse of the yachts as you run past.

Dur­ing the day there will be a mini fes­ti­val, in­clud­ing mar­ket stalls, food stalls and live mu­sic all day un­til 9pm. There will also be an open day on Satur­day, where or­di­nary folk can climb on board the Clip­per yachts and have a look in­side.

“At 4pm on Satur­day in the court­yard near Barcelona, we’ll have a few of the skip­pers give a bit of a pre­senta- tion on what it’s like to sail in the Clip­per Round the World Race, and a ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion as well,” Mr McCaul said.

On Sun­day, com­pe­ti­tion heats up as the Whit­sun­day Outrig­ger Club host a pad­dle chal­lenge, go­ing head to head against some of the crews from the Clip­per race. The Ro- tary Club of Air­lie Beach will also be host­ing a cooked break­fast with fresh cof­fee for those wish­ing to spec­tate.

Mon­day is de­par­ture day for the fleet, and will be­gin with a com­mu­nity break­fast spon­sored by Bendigo Bank from 7-10am. Fol­low­ing break­fast the Clip­per fleet will be­gin to make its way out to the start line for their next race to DaNang, Viet­nam.

“Ev­ery­one is en­cour­aged to get on the wa­ter and farewell the fleet as they start their next race,” Mr McCaul said. “If you’ve got a boat or can jump aboard one, we’d love to see the com­mu­nity rally be­hind them and give them our best Whit­sun­day wishes.”

WEL­COME CLIP­PER: Abell Point Ma­rina man­ager Luke McCaul with Clip­per Com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Jonathan Levy, Race Di­rec­tor Justin Tay­lor and Ma­rina owner Paul Dar­rouzet.

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