Record entries

Evolution Racing leads Living Doll - two of the 2009 top guns set to do battle again in 2010.
Evolution Racing leads Living Doll - two of the 2009 top guns set to do battle again in 2010.

A RECORD number of sailors will take part in this year’s Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week.

For the first time in the event’s 21 year history, Airlie Beach will host 1007 sailors for the spectacular event.

They are all hoping for fine weather and decent winds.

Despite rain earlier this week, Regatta Director Denis Thompson was confident about the weather.

"A little bit of a rain is not going to stop them."

What poses more of a concern for sailing is the wind factor.

Mr Thompson said the predicted winds for the first couple of days of racing was 12-14 knots but beyond that it was very difficult to tell.

"Even in light winds [less than five knots] we can still race," he said.

"The variety of conditions brings out the best sailing."

The 1007 sailors entered this year will race on 120 boats.

In 2005, there were 122 boats racing on Pioneer Bay but 25 of those were Off The Beach F18 catamarans - with just two crew.

This year all the boats are larger keelboats or multihulls resulting in a record number of sailors at the regatta.

Managing Director of Meridien Marinas Russell McCart said there was plenty of excitement about the record breaking week ahead.

"Meridien Marinas is thrilled to have record numbers this year," he said.

"We are really looking forward to a great week of racing and events for competitors and the local Whitsunday community."

Whitsunday Sailing Club Commodore Kevin Fogarty is also thrilled about the numbers.

"Last year with the Global Financial Crisis in full swing we dipped to 95 boats and we knew we would do better this year but to gain more than 25 percent is certainly at the higher end of our expectation," he said.

Registration for the event takes place today with racing starting tomorrow (Friday).

The final race will be next Thursday, August 19. Hamilton Island Race Week starts next Friday, August 20.

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