FOUNDING FATHER: Don Algie (centre right) with his family and crew members of Storm 2 at last year’s Airlie Beach Race Week, where he was honoured as the founder of the event.
FOUNDING FATHER: Don Algie (centre right) with his family and crew members of Storm 2 at last year’s Airlie Beach Race Week, where he was honoured as the founder of the event.

Boss Hog looks back

OBNOXIOUS in victory, surly in defeat was the famous mantra surrounding Airlie Beach Race Week founder and "Boss Hog" Don Algie.

Race Week chairman Jim Hayes was there when it all began and fondly reminisces about the man behind the Hog's Breath chain, who he refers to as "the godfather" of Airlie's now-legendary sailing event.

The story, according to Hayes, is that a sponsor had pulled out of a three-race weekend program and the Whitsunday Sailing Club was looking for a replacement.

"Don approached me and said, 'I'd like to sponsor an event at the club,' " he said.

That event went from the Hog's Breath Series to the Hog's Breath Cruising Classic to the Hog's Breath Race Week and finally Airlie Beach Race Week.

"We never made much out of the event, in fact we always spent a lot of money on it," said Algie this week.

"But the idea was to put the effort into it so that it wasn't just an event. It became something for everyone to have a look at.

"We ran the event and ran it our way, then we decided we'd travelled enough on the Hog's Breath name and we let it out."

Hayes said he was always quietly confident the event would survive - "especially with the vision Don had".

"We've still got a way to go to realise his dream of what it should and can be, but we're working on it," he said.

Algie won't compete in this year's Race Week, having last year sold his beloved Storm 2.

Instead he intends to kick back on his similarly dark-hulled Grand Banks and enjoy the 2015 regatta from a spectator's point of view.

"I think I've done enough work," he joked.


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