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Solo voyage to kick off here

SOLO sailor Ian Thomson’s planned world record attempt circumnavigating Australia has been given a boost after a change in sailing regulations have gifted him the chance to make his departure from his home town of Airlie Beach.

Previously all record attempts had to be made outside the Great Barrier Reef, preventing Thomson from leaving from the Whitsundays but a new ruling allowing sailors to make record attempts either inside or outside of the reef have allowed him to plan his dream farewell.

The move is not only good news for Thomson but also for Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays as the record attempt is expected to draw a huge amount of interest from national media.

Also benefiting from the move will be Thomson’s home club, the Whitsunday Sailing Club, which has been planted with the responsibility of hosting the event.

The World Sailing Speed Record Council will soon appoint a member of the club to fill the role of commissioner of record for the attempt and that person will be responsible for setting the start/finish line and timing the event.

Thomson said the opportunity to get the local community involved in his attempt had given him a fresh injection of excitement as the days tick away towards his departure.

“Leaving from Airlie is [going to be] much better as I have more support locally and want to give the Whitsundays the exposure,” Thomson said.

“It will [also] be great to have the club involved.

“They are right behind me in my campaign and leaving locally allows me to sleep in my bed until I leave.”

Thomson will set off for his solo voyage test run in the Brisbane to Gladstone yacht race next week and hopes the high profile regatta will give him a chance to raise the profile of the reason for his record attempt – awareness of the damage plastic bags cause to the marine environment.

After the Brisbane to Gladstone, Thomson will finally get a chance to get his boat – Save Our Seas (SOS) Ocean Racing – up to Airlie where he will finalise preparations for his trip.

For more information about Thomson’s quest to break the round Australia world record, visit the campaign website, www.sosoceanracing.com.


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