Locals set to perform at Airlie Beach Race Week

Airlie Beach’s Merit heads south - Rolex Sydney Hobart 2011
The 23rd annual Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week is just 10days away. It starts next Thursday with a Welcome function at the Whitsunday Sailing Club.

The first race, the Twin Cones and Armit Race, is scheduled to start at 11am on Friday 10th August and the event will run through until Thursday 16th. Simply put, the excitement is building as boats continue to arrive at Abel Point marina.

The Performance Racing division at 2012 Telcoinabox Airlie Beach Race Week will be amongst the strongest ever, with sixteen entries so far and more expected. Traditionally, this division has been hard fought with the Whitsunday Sailing Club fleet being hard to get past.


This year there is very strong local representation with Leo Rodriguez’ Volvo 60 Merit, a Sydney Hobart division winner, Kevin Fogarty’s Beneteau 40.7 Twister, Craig Picininelli’s Wobbly Boot, the modified Young 88, Rod Sawyers Norlin 37 Surefoot, Charles Wallis’ MBD 41 Reignition, Jeff Brown’s Northshore 38 Double Oh Seven, Mike Keyte’s Beneteau First 40 Take Flight, and Graham Jiggins' Adams 10 Grizzly amongst the early entries.

They will be doing battle with some of the top guns on the Australian Racing scene, including former Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) Commodore Matt Allen’s new Farr 400 Ichi Ban, another former CYCA Commodore Geoff Lavis Inglis/Murray 50 UBS Wild Thing, Tony Ross Beneteau First 40 Black Label and Peter Mosley’s well credentialed Sydney 36 Local Hero and John Bacon’s McConaghy 38 Dark Star

John Bacon is no newcomer to Airlie Beach, in 2004 his Sydney 39CR Hussy took the overall honours in IRC Cruising and Don Algie presented Bacon with the Boss Hog trophy and the punsters went wild.



The Sydney sailor won the Premier Cruising Division in 2007 and his Melges 24 Roger That was in the mix in 2010.
He commented today ‘We’re really looking forward to Airlie. Airlie Beach Race Week as far as we are concerned is one of the very top events on the Australian circuit. The classic Whitsundays winter weather. The lovely 20 knots trade winds... it’s a sailing treat.

‘Just a glance at the entries shows it’s going to be a great year and the Performance Racing fleet is going to be hotter than ever this year.

‘There has been a lot of talk Matt’s Farr 400 Ichi Ban, it’s been going well and my McConaghy 38’s are right on the pace. These boats can be super quick downwind with giant spinnakers. Everyone watches to see if we are going to wipe-out because if the gusts come hard that’s always on the cards, between us we are probably line honours favourites along with the much bigger Merit who of course will do much better than us in reaching conditions but the handicap battle could well be beyond our reach.’

Ichi Ban in Division A2 are coming 7th overall in their series. - CYCA Audi Winter Series 2012 - Race 9


The reality is it’s a very tough fleet. The Whitsunday Sailing Club fleet is getting stronger every year and they will be incredibly hard to beat.

On handicap local boats like Twister, Surefoot and Wobbly Boot and a host of others will certainly go very well. It would be hard to bet against the locals.

For more news and information www.airliebeachraceweek.com.au