High hopes for Air­lie Race Week

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT - Ja­cob Wilson

CY­CLONE Deb­bie may have thrown a span­ner in the works, but Air­lie Beach Race Week is go­ing ahead – and the aim is to at­tract a record break­ing fleet.

Mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor for what has be­come the re­gion’s fes­ti­val of sail­ing, Adrian Bram, un­veiled the Race Week mar­ket­ing strat­egy to event spon­sors at the Whit­sun­day Sail­ing Club last week.

The event at­tracted a record break­ing 132 race en­tries and con­trib­uted $1.65 mil­lion to the Whit­sun­day econ­omy last year.

And de­spite early chal­lenges for the 2017 event, not least the cat­e­gory four storm that has just wreaked havoc on the re­gion, Mr Bram thinks they can do even bet­ter this year.

“We had 132 en­tries last year which is a record, the largest fleet ever, and we are aim­ing for 140 this this year,” he said.

“To date we have 25 en­tries get­ting up to around 20% of what we are chas­ing early in the piece, (hav­ing) floated the en­tries open a month ago.”

Race­week 2017 will fea­ture seven nights of free live en­ter­tain­ment, a lunch on the lawn, an out­rig­ger racing event, a fun run and the usual full fleet racing.

Mr Bram said Race Week was not only one of the largest yacht­ing events in Air­lie Beach, but also one of the big­gest in Aus­tralia.

“We get en­tries from all over Aus­tralia, it’s only 30% of the fleet that’s lo­cal with the ma­jor­ity com­ing from Vic­to­ria, New South Wales, South Aus­tralia, West Aus­tralia and even over­seas in­ter­est,” he said.

Air­lie Beach Race Week 2017 will run from Au­gust 10–17.

We had 132 en­tries last year which is a record, the largest fleet ever, and we are aim­ing for 140 this this year

— Adrian Bram

PHOTO: AN­DREA FRANCOLINI

RACE AC­TION: Depthcharge and Ethel con­test the 2016 Air­lie Beach Race Week.

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