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Sails set for Race Week

By Mark Beale

THERE’S an old adage that any two boats on the horizon are in a race – and this is one of the reasons why after 26 years, Airlie Beach Race Week still fundamentally works.

In his 19 years of living in the Whitsundays, Race Week marketing director Adrian Bram has sailed at least a dozen of the regattas and in his opinion there are other secrets to its success.

“To some degree it depends on whose boat you’re on,” he said knowledgeably.

“There are those who are fully focused and take it very seriously and there are those who put as much effort into their tropical shirts and leis as they do their racing strategy.

“The beauty of this event is it’s what you want to make it.”

And according to Mr Bram, what many regular competitors love about Airlie Beach Race Week is its fun factor.

“There are a lot of major yacht races around the place that take themselves very seriously,” he said.

“While racing in any of these events, including our own, is always highly competitive, the Whitsunday Sailing Club Airlie Beach Race Week also has a serious focus on the fun.”

This year, 108 yacht owners obviously agree, having entered the near three-decade-old event, which runs from August 7-14.

Mr Bram said this number of entries to the newly rebranded Tropical Festival of Sailing was a great result.

“And we feel certain once the feedback gets out from this year’s event that we can expect an even larger fleet for next year,” he said.

Paying homage to Race Week’s roots, Mr Bram said event founder Don Algie’s original principles of fantastic sailing and camaraderie in one of the greatest sailing destinations on earth still stood.

“That philosophy has been carried through by successive committees in the 26 years of the event’s existence, with the objective now of spreading it out to everybody in the Whitsundays,” he said.

“The number of yachts goes up and down over the years but the core spirit doesn’t change.

“It really is about serious sailing, serious fun and getting together with friends you may only ever see when they bring their boats up here for Race Week.

“Like every club, everyone comes from diverse backgrounds, from the very rich to the grotty yachtie, and they’re all on a level playing field when it comes to Airlie Beach Race Week.”

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