A magic day on the water for the record fleet of 178 taking part in the final day of racing at Airlie Beach Race Week (ABRW) in the Whitsundays, the sun and wind turned on their charms one more time, as whales and dolphins cavorted in the background.
A week of light days mixed with medium and more full strength conditions in the Whitsunday Sailing Club hosted event gave everyone across the board a chance to shine and all the interstaters were pleased to see and feel the warmth of sun again.
There was nobody more shocked than Stephen Leonard (Sea Dragon) from Gosford in NSW when he won the Passage Division. He did it with the multihull he normally uses for charters here in the Whitsundays.
“I thought Out of the Bag was going to win it. It’s surreal,” he said. “We had no expectations, just came to have fun – and we did – never been to Airlie Beach Race Week before. It’s hard not to like this regatta. The location is awesome. The people here are so friendly and a call out to Whitsunday Escape – one of steering chains was nearly broken and they fixed it.
“We all loved it. We’ll be back next year. The courses are great, particularly the ones around the islands. It’s a real learning curve – you don’t know what you will find when you turn the corner – bullets, or nothing. Well done Whitsunday Sailing Club.”
Second was Out of the Bag (William Phillips-Webb, NSW), while third went to Storm Bay (Marc Gerard, Qld). The three duked it out all week and only three points separated them.
Team Hollywood takes IRC/ORC crown
Ray Roberts and his crew on Team Hollywood, a Botin 40, cleaned up IRC/ORC Division 1, ending with a further win. They beat two TP52’s for the trophy. Gordon Ketelbey’s Zen finished second and Andy Kearnan/Peter Wrigley’s Koa was third. On to the Australian Yachting Championships next for these three NSW boats.
Garry Holt and his crew of top sailors did not put a foot wrong and sailed his tricked up Adams 10, Get It On (Qld), to four wins to take that trophy cleanly from Peter Chappell’s The Cadillac (WA) and Ken Douglas’ The Red Boat (Qld). Holt, too, is headed to the Australian Yachting Championships.
Performance Cruising Division 1
Paul Mara was pleased to hear Helsal 3 (NSW) had won Division 1. “We came from behind and we had 24 on board. Joining some regular crew were medical students we brought up from Wagga. None had sailed before. We run a program called Rural Destination,” he said.
“My wife and I were doctors in a small NSW country town, so I was looking at ways to encourage other young doctors to do the same. They’ve all had a good time, especially as they took over the boat the last three days. I think we’ve got a few doctors going to do rural jobs out of this trip.”
Mara added, “The courses were interesting and it was a well-organised event. Everyone enjoyed themselves.”
Rohan Veal, a Victorian sailor with real flair, has come out on top in Multihull Racing Division 1 after a week-long battle with ‘the Extremes’ – Angus (Michel Van Der Zwaard, Qld) and High Voltage (Mike Peberdy) from the host club. There was little between the three all week.
Division 2 went to Andrew Stransky’s Fantasia (Qld). Stransky had his wife Carolyn and their Olympian daughter, Mara, on crew. He finished the event with a win to seal the deal. Peter Hackett’s Full Bore (Qld) was third. There was little separating the three on the pointscore.
As he does, local sailor, Peter Harrison, came from behind to take out the PHS Non-Spinnaker Division with Awesome. Second place went to another local and early series leader, Matchless (Terrence Stevens). Noel Borel’s Kulani (NSW) filled out the top three.
With the final day of racing at Airlie Beach Race Week Festival of Sails comes the
official prize giving at WSC. Among the trophies are special ones such as Boss Hog Trophy.
Presented for the first time in 2002, it is named for Airlie Beach Race Week founder, Don Algie, who doubled as the events long-term sponsor with Hogs Breath Café.
Boss Hog Trophy
The Boss Hog Trophy is presented to the crew that best sums up the spirit of Race Week, displays sportsmanship and stands above the rest over the course of the regatta, on and off the water. This year it went to ABRW stalwart, Kevin Fogarty, the owner/skipper of Twister.
“We had record numbers this year and Kevin, from our Club, spent so much time finding berthing for all those that could not be accommodated at Coral Sea Marina and Port of Airlie. It was a big job and he found the time to compete in the regatta he’s virtually done for 20 years or more now. He has been invaluable,” Event Chairman Ross Chisholm said.
In finishing, Chisholm said of the regatta as a whole: “It’s had its challenges with the weather, but it was competitive and everyone enjoyed themselves on and off the water. It met all our expectations. It would be great to see a fleet this size again next year…”
Airlie Beach Race Week Festival of Sailing was held from 11 to 18 August. It was supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and is a feature on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.
For full results, photos, video and all the news on Airlie Beach Race Week, please visit: www.abrw.com.au
By Di Pearson/ABRW media