A RECORD number of boats and their crews will hit the Whitsunday waters on Saturday for the first day of racing in this year’s 25th anniversary of the Airlie Beach Race Week.
The milestone event, sponsored by Vision Surveys, has received 135 entries, beating the original record of 123 yachts in 2011.
“And we didn’t just beat the record – we smashed it,” Whitsunday Sailing Club commodore and Airlie Race Week chairman Jim Hayes proudly announced.
The regatta’s silver jubilee was officially launched at the Whitsunday Sailing Club last Friday with sponsors, media, club members and representatives from all tiers of government attending the event. Mr Hayes said the regatta was still being run on the basic principles by which it was founded a quarter of a century ago and the vision of its original sponsor Don Algie, formerly of Hogs Breath.
“His vision was that we would have world-class racing, with a world-class organisation… in a fantastic and unique venue, with a friendly and laid back atmosphere on shore,” he said.
Mr Hayes said he was also proud to have a local sponsor on board for the 25th anniversary event, paying homage to Vision Surveys director Brian Forrester who is coincidentally also celebrating his 25th year of living in the Whitsundays.
Mr Forrester, who will be competing in the regatta on his 60ft catamaran Drumbeat, said he was really proud to be a part of the event and “to put back into this community”.
Race Week runs from August 8-15.