Fes­ti­val of sail­ing to em­brace com­mu­nity

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT -

AN evo­lu­tion from the sea to the land be­yond, this year’s Air­lie Beach Race Week Fes­ti­val of Sail­ing, hosted by Whit­sun­day Sail­ing Club, is be­ing saluted as an event des­tined to en­ter­tain thou­sands of land­lub­bers as much as our sea­sonal sea­far­ers.

The an­nual seven-day event which is hop­ing to at­tract more than 100 boats, from around Aus­tralia and the world, be­gins on Au­gust 10 with registrations for skip­pers and rac­ing crews.

Race Week chair­man and prin­ci­pal race of­fi­cer Ross Chisholm, an in­ter­na­tional race of­fi­cer for more than 20 years, is re­spon­si­ble for run­ning the races, set­ting the cour­ses and en­sur­ing suit­able berthing and ac­com­mo­da­tion for boats.

Mr Chisholm said race week, the largest com­mu­nity and sport­ing event in Air­lie Beach, last year con­trib­uted $1.65 mil­lion to the lo­cal econ­omy with a record 132 boats com­pet­ing.

He said the re­gatta was not just about what hap­pened on the water, but also about the cel­e­bra­tions that would be on shore.

He said this year there would be live mu­sic ev­ery night, a fun run, and a long lunch on the lawn with wine tast­ing and a six-course French-in­spired menu that was ex­pected to at­tract 100 din­ers.

A 48ft cata­ma­ran, op­er­at­ing as a spec­ta­tor boat, will take 50 peo­ple out each day to watch the race and fol­low the fleet, with the trip in­clud­ing in­clud­ing lunch and a drink.

Fes­ti­val group and mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor Adrian Bram said the event evolved into a com­mu­nity fes­ti­val two years ago.

“We were en­ter­tain­ing at the club, and we thought, ‘why wouldn’t we just in­vite the com­mu­nity to at­tend?’, which has turned it into a week-long party,” Mr Bram said.

He said Air­lie came alive in Au­gust, and he was ex­cited that the se­ries of races was now an event that could draw all sec­tors of so­ci­ety.

The fes­ti­val fun run, to be held on Au­gust 12 at 4pm, will sup­port the A Mile in Their Shoes char­ity which pro­motes un­der­stand­ing of youth sui­cide.

Mr Bram said the Sail­ing Club would do­nate $1 for ev­ery mile run, and par­tic­i­pants were wel­come to run the one-mile course as many times as they wanted.

PHO­TOS: SHARON SMALL­WOOD / PETER CARRUTHERS

RACE WEEK’S ROOTS: Event founder Don Al­gie’s orig­i­nal Storm at the 2016 Air­lie Beach Race Week.

Com­peti­tors lined up for the start of the 2016 Air­lie Beach Race Week Fam­ily Fun Run and Walk.

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