Race Week hits 100

Magic mile­stone achieved ahead of sail­ing fes­ti­val start

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT -

AIR­LIE Beach race week has cel­e­brated the reg­is­tra­tion of the 100th en­try in the 2017 Fes­ti­val of Sail­ing.

Mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor of the event, Adrian Bram, said in the wake of Cy­clone Deb­bie, the mile­stone was an im­por­tant one.

“We have hit the magic 100 and were re­ally ex­cited to get there con­sid­er­ing all the bad news that came out of the area dur­ing the cy­clone,” he said.

“We knew there was a neg­a­tive per­cep­tion out there amongst the sailors. Some of them thought Air­lie wasn’t here any more.

“So it was fan­tas­tic to see all the ef­forts of ev­ery­one con­cerned in com­mu­ni­cat­ing out that we are open for busi­ness and ev­ery­one is back and kicking.

“The mari­nas have all been put to­gether in amaz­ing time, hats off to Paul Dar­rouzet for that achieve­ment.”

For many lo­cal boats it has been a mad scam­per to pre­pare cy­clone dam­aged boats ahead of this Fri­day’s start of rac­ing.

Nikki Ab­bott and Dan White, own­ers of the 44 foot Beneteau, Riff Raff, can re­late to this sit­u­a­tion.

Their boat was dam­aged by cy­clonic winds while it was moored at the Port of Air­lie Ma­rina.

Ms Ab­bott said they had given up on en­ter­ing Riff Raff this year un­til help ar­rived from an un­likely source.

Cruis­ing divi­sion ri­vals Alan and Jean Sned­don came to the res­cue and held a work­ing bee on Riff Raff which re­sulted in the boat be­ing ready to race.

“And now we will be out there, what ever hap­pens,” Ms Ab­bott said.

“And we will have an awe­some time.”

The lo­cal cou­ple com­pet­ing in their sev­enth Air­lie Beach Race Week said they were mates off the wa­ter with Alan and Jean but on the wa­ter it was a dif­fer­ent story.

Com­pet­ing in the mulithull divi­sion with Over­drive is an­other lo­cal skip­per, Ru­pert King.

When Deb­bie hit, Over­drive was an­chored to the ground at the Whit­sun­day Sail­ing Club with mas­sive con­crete dead­man weights.

A reg­u­lar com­peti­tor at the Wed­nes­day Twi­light rac­ing se­ries, King said Over­drive copped a few “mi­nor bumps and bruises” but was now ship shape and ready to race.

Rac­ing in the event for the sixth year Mr King said he was re­ally ex­cited to get on the wa­ter and mix it with some of the fastest boats in the coun­try.

“I am re­ally look­ing for­ward to it,” he said.

Kevin Fog­a­rty is also rac­ing in Queens­land’s largest main­land sail­ing re­gatta for the 23rd year.

He be­gan rac­ing in 1991 on a friend’s boat for a num­ber of years be­fore rac­ing a boat called Idle Time un­til 2010.

In 2011 Mr Fog­a­rty be­gan rac­ing his cur­rent en­try, Twis­ter, in the per­for­mance rac­ing divi­sion.

Twis­ter was beaten around a bit by Cy­clone Deb­bie and sus­tained mod­er­ate cos­metic dam­age.

The re­pair work is now 90% com­plete and there is no doubt­ing she will be on the wa­ter this year.

Mr Fog­a­rty said it was the ca­ma­raderie and great race course that kept him com­ing back to the event.

PHOTO: AN­DREA FRANCOLINII

SAIL­ING AC­TION: The yacht Kite sail­ing in last year’s Air­lie Beach Race Week.

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