High hopes for 2017 Airlie Race week
CYCLONE Debbie may have thrown a spanner in the works, but Airlie Beach Race Week is going ahead - and the aim is to attract a record breaking fleet.
Marketing director for what has become the region's festival of sailing Adrian Bram, unveiled the Race Week marketing strategy to event sponsors at the Whitsunday Sailing Club last night.
The event attracted a record breaking 132 race entries and contributed $1.65 million to the Whitsunday economy last year.
And despite early challenges for the 2017 event, not least the category four storm that has just wreaked havoc on the region, Mr Bram thinks they can do even better this year.
"We had 132 entries last year which is a record, the largest fleet ever, and we are aiming for 140 this this year," he said.
"To date we have 25 entries getting up to around 20% of what we are chasing early in the piece, (having) floated the entries open a month ago."
Raceweek 2017 will feature seven nights of free live entertainment, a long lunch on the lawn, an outrigger racing event, a fun run and the usual racing for a full fleet.
Mr Bram said Race Week was not only one of the largest yachting events in Airlie Beach, but also one of the biggest in Australia.
"We get entries from all over Australia, its only 30% of the fleet that's local with the majority coming from Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, West Australia and even overseas interest," he said.
Airlie Beach Race Week 2017 is set to run from August 10-17.