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IN PICTURES: Sailing Club unveils new look restaurant

By Ray White Whitsunday

AIRLIE Beach may be jokingly known to some as a drinking town with a sailing problem and now the Whitsunday Sailing Club has given the town’s two loves a fresh place to join together.

The club’s restaurant was forced to close its doors months ago because of coronavirus restrictions.

However, the hiatus was not wasted as staff worked on the first major facelift of the restaurant since its opening 40 years ago.

A fresh lick of paint, renovated floors and new furniture were all part of the revamp.

Foodies will rejoice as the club unveiled a new food and wine menu, featuring some fresh new options as well as old favourites like the seafood tower.

The new look restaurant also comes with a new name, 20 Degrees South, inspired by Airlie Beach’s co-ordinates.

The club’s event manager Caitlin McLuskey said people flocked to catch a glimpse of the renovations, making last weekend the busiest few days of the year.

“The feedback has been really great from the sailing community and from the Airlie Beach community,” she said.

“We really wanted to reopen with a bang … we wanted to come back bigger and better than ever and really utilise the time in lockdown as best we could.”

General manager Michael Carter also looked forward to showing off the club’s facelift to sailors and land-lovers alike.

“It’s been an amazing chance to be trusted by members to reinvent their club in both looks and offerings to our patrons,” he said.

“20 Degrees South is all about great food, good wine and the best view in Airlie to enjoy.”

Bec Scott pours a beer at newly-refurbished restaurant 20 Degrees South.

The renovations were a labour of love for the staff members who armed themselves with paintbrushes and screwdrivers to make the revamp possible.

Board member Mark Beale thanked the club’s employees for their hard work despite the challenges of the pandemic and invited residents to enjoy a sundowner in what he said was the region’s prime sunset viewing spot.

“COVID-19 has made things very difficult for everybody, but the board would like to thank the new general manager Michael Carter and all our wonderful key staff who have helped out and been working non-stop,” he said.

“It’s the best place in all of Airlie to come and sit on balcony and look at the view.”

Away from the restaurant, the Whitsunday Sailing Club’s signature event, Airlie Beach Race Week, is set to go ahead, although not in its usual form.

The event has sparked plenty of interest from intrastate sailors with about 80 entries so far but because of restrictions on gatherings the social events will be limited to competitors only.

However, Ms McLuskey said the 2021 installation of the event would be “bigger and better than ever” and that management was exploring the opportunity to host smaller community events as restrictions ease.

Source: Whitsunday Times

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