Sports boats ready for race week
THE Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week will be sports boat heaven from August 10-16.
NSW sailors Bob Cowan and his son Michael trailer their 8m sports boat Stealthy from Lake Macquarie north to Airlie Beach Race Week every year.
This year they are preparing for another 2,200 km journey and say they would not miss it for the world.
"Some sailor's annual pilgrimage is to Hobart, ours is to Airlie Beach. We think that is a way smarter choice," Michael said.
Over the past decade the sports boat fleet at Airlie Beach Race Week has continued to grow in strength.
Stealthy is one of the largest of the sports boats along with John Rae's Guided Missile and Peter Jamieson's Two Hot to Trot. In the middle are Brett Whitbread's Blokes World and Jason Ruckert's Mister Magoo, while the battle of the 650's will be intense with three Shaws, two Leeches and two Thompsons competing.
The Cowans say it's a wet and wild ride on a sports boat in any decent breeze, but on Pioneer Bay the conditions are perfect.
"And its warm T-shirt weather so the wet part is fine," they said.
For the Cowans this event is a highlight of their year.
"Airlie Beach Race Week series is all about the most competitive sports boat racing, probably in the world, in perfect conditions and we just would not be anywhere else," they said.
Regatta director Denis Thompson said entries are still running about 25 per cent above last year's record fleet.
"It's certainly going to be a bumper year," he said.
Notice of Race and online entry information can be found at www.airliebeachraceweek.com.au.