$25k boost for our re­gatta

Whitsunday Times - - ON THE WATER -

ONE of the big­gest events on the Whit­sun­days’ cal­en­dar is sail­ing closer by the day and a mas­sive cash in­jec­tion will en­sure it only gets big­ger and bet­ter.

Air­lie Beach Race Week is on Au­gust 11-18 this year and Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil has just an­nounced an un­prece­dented level of sup­port with $25,000 go­ing to the event.

Or­gan­is­ers are al­ready ex­pect­ing 130 en­tries and a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in lo­cal and re­gional at­ten­dance, with over $1.1 mil­lion in­jected into the lo­cal economy dur­ing last year.

Mayor An­drew Will­cox said he had fond mem­o­ries grow­ing up with the event.

“I’m a lo­cal bloke and back when I was younger it meant a lot of fun,” he said.

“Now it’s all about bring­ing pros­per­ity to our re­gion. This coun­cil is very keen in pro­mot­ing events within our re­gion be­cause it’s a good eco­nomic stim­u­lus in the whole area. Events like this cre­ate ac­com­mo­da­tion; it’s good for the lo­cal pubs and restau­rants and also pro­mo­tion.”

Cr Will­cox said the true value of the event was in the pro­mo­tion.

“Peo­ple come from all over the coun­try and over­seas; they at­tend an event like this and then they come back for hol­i­days. They put it on their map, and we get re­turn busi­ness out of it,” he said.

“It’s not just about the rac- ing crews; it’s about their fam­i­lies, their sup­port­ers their friends and every­one that comes through. While they’re here they’re bang­ing it up on their Face­book page, In­sta­gram and Twit­ter.”

The sup­port from coun­cil is more than twice than last year’s when they pro­vided the event a to­tal of $10,000 in cash, and waived all event fees and charges.

Whit­sun­day Sail­ing Club Com­modore Stu Har­ris ex­plained there were 108 yachts on the wa­ter for six days of rac­ing and thou­sands of lo­cals and guests at­tend­ing the eight nights of fes­tiv­i­ties at the Whit­sun­day Sail­ing Club.

“Ev­ery race day there were around 1800 com­peti­tors and race of­fi­cials on the wa­ter and over 5000 at­ten­dees joined in for the free entertainment at the club in the even­ings,” he said.

“The week-long se­ries is renowned among sailors Aus­tralia-wide as a vi­brant, ex­cit­ing, fun and well run event.”

The on­shore so­cial pro­gram will be ex­panded this year to in­clude eight nights of live entertainment, wine tast­ings, a long lunch on the lawn, an outrig­ger chal­lenge and a fes­ti­val fun run

Air­lie Beach Race Week is now the largest keel­boat re­gatta staged on Queens­land’s main­land coast, last year at­tract­ing an equal size fleet to the 2015 Syd­ney to Ho­bart.

GRANTED: Cr Jan Clif­ford, Com­modore Stu Har­ris, Mayor An­drew Will­cox and Cr Ron Pet­ter­son.

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