Competitors in the IRC division working hard during a previous Airlie Beach Race Week. Photo: Andrea Francolini
Competitors in the IRC division working hard during a previous Airlie Beach Race Week. Photo: Andrea Francolini

Ahoy there! Large numbers expected as Race Week entries open

Yachties are eager to return to racing after a hiatus and now is their chance to put their name down for a stellar event right here in the Whitsundays.

Entries for Airlie Beach Race Week 2021 are now open and organisers at the Whitsunday Sailing Club are expecting large numbers after the success of last year’s event, one of the rare major sporting events to go ahead in Australia since March 2020.

Last year’s Whitsundays Festival of Sailing was held under strict COVID regulations, which have been relaxed in recent times.

Competitors will be pleased to see the Festival Village return following last year’s scaled back event.

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Tourism Whitsundays chief executive officer Tash Wheeler said she was thrilled to see the return of Airlie Beach Race Week in 2021.

“The Whitsundays is the heart of sailing and this event is a great reminder of just how premier sailing is at this time of year,” she said.

“Airlie Beach Race Week is an iconic event on the Australian sailing calendar, complemented by a great array of onshore events throughout the week.

“It was one of the few events to run in the Whitsundays in 2020, so it is fantastic to see these events evolving post-COVID.”

Whitsunday Sailing Club event chairman Ross Chisholm is also looking forward to the event, which is due to be held from August 12 to 19.

“We’re also pleased to announce that Airlie Beach Race Week will include the Australian Multihull Championships for the 33rd running of our popular event,” he said.

Volunteers Rosemary and Stephen Merrington and Heather Sutton at the Airlie Beach Race Week Gourmet BBQ Beer and Bubbles event last year. Photo: Elyse Wurm
Volunteers Rosemary and Stephen Merrington and Heather Sutton at the Airlie Beach Race Week Gourmet BBQ Beer and Bubbles event last year. Photo: Elyse Wurm

The Whitsunday Sailing Club last hosted the championships at Airlie Beach Race Week in 2019 when local sailor Paul Mitchell skippered Ullman Sails to an unequivocal Division 1 win.

This year the Multihull Championship is expected to be even more hotly contested.

Mitchell’s brother Dale skippered the newly acquired ORMA 60 design, also named ORMA 60, to a win over Michel Van Der Zwaard’s Extreme 40, Back in Black, in Multihull Division 1 last year.

Airlie Beach Race Week is also open to entries in IRC passage, performance racing, cruising, non-spinnaker cruising, sports boats, trailable yachts and multihull passage divisions.

Cruising division competitors on the windward-leeward course in Race 6 at Airlie Beach Race Week 2020. Photo: Shirley Wodson
Cruising division competitors on the windward-leeward course in Race 6 at Airlie Beach Race Week 2020. Photo: Shirley Wodson

Yachties around Australia and beyond suffered a sailing drought and travel restrictions throughout 2020 and are champing at the bit to return to racing, which will no doubt boost entries for the annual event.

The recent announcement of the Australian Yachting Championships returning to Hamilton Island as part of Race Week in 2021 and 2022 is also sure to attract more than the usual top IRC entries to Airlie Beach Race Week too.

To enter Airlie Beach Race Week Whitsundays Festival of Sailing and find more information click here.

A full calendar of events and information can be found here or by emailing the sailing manager via sailing@whitsundaysailingclub.com.au


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