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You have the chance to party like pirates at annual Fun Race

By Mark Beale

THIS Saturday, August 16, is a day to dig out your pirate costumes and head to the Whitsunday Sailing Club for the annual Great Whitsunday Fun Race.

Event spokesperson Corrie Gardner said Fun Race was a celebration of the Whitsunday lifestyle and she invited all sectors of the community to participate, spectate, or simply head to the club to soak up the atmosphere on the day.

Ms Gardner said this year, a television crew working on a Whitsunday documentary would be filming the event.

“So we really want as many people as possible to come along and capture what the spirit of this event and living in the Whitsundays is all about, because this is going to be distributed internationally to over 50 countries,” she said.

Now a tradition of almost 40 years standing, the Great Whitsunday Fun Race originated as a personal duel between locals Bob Porter and Alan Southwood in 1976.

According to legend, Southwood’s yacht won the first race but the result was pronounced void due to cheating.

A re-run was planned for the following year, in which all cruising yachts in the region were invited to participate, culminating in the very first Fun Race.

Over the years, the event has become a Whitsunday institution, involving the sailing and non-sailing community alike.

The major trophy vied for by competitors is an empty bottle of Mount Gay Rum, mounted on a block of Mackay Cedar. Other equally quirky elements include competitions for decorated decks and costumed crew. The ‘Miss Figurehead’ and ‘Mr Six-Pack’ contests, have also become firm favourites with both competitors and spectating crowds.

This year’s Fun Race starts at 11am on Pioneer Bay and will feature a fly-over by Air Whitsunday sea planes, which will touch down on the water in front of the fleet.

The after-party and presentations will then be held at the Whitsunday Sailing Club from 2pm.

Prizes will be up for grabs for the best dressed crew and boat and ‘Miss Figurehead’.

Live music will be courtesy of Danwar, who is playing from 6pm.

Entry to the club is free.

PIRATE PARTY

What: Great Whitsunday Fun Race and party

Where: Whitsunday Sailing Club

When: Saturday, August 16

Race starts: 11am

After party starts: 2pm

Cost: No cover charge

Source: Whitsunday Times

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