Festival of sailing to embrace community
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.
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.