1200 plus sailors and the fastest yacht in southern hemisphere will line up for Airlie Beach Race Week.
Meridien Marinas Airlie Beach Race Week, now in its 22nd year, has set a new record with 130 entries entered in this year's event.
Regatta Director Denis Thompson announced this morning 'We had a surge of entries over the last two weeks. This 2011 event is going to huge' he said. 'We have more than 1200 sailors racing this year plus in many cases, with family and friends, in town for the week.
‘This is the number one sporting event in Airlie Beach each year.
'Our sailors come from every state in Australia and from New Zealand attracted by the warm winter weather and the fleet just keeps getting better and better. This year our star attraction is the fastest boat in the southern hemisphere and its lining up for its first ever race in Australia.'
Faster than the five times Rolex Sydney Hobart winner Wild Oats XI, the 60 foot offshore racing trimaran TeamVodafoneSailing, the ORMA 60 from New Zealand, has cruised into Meridien Marinas Abel Point Marina in Airlie Beach ahead of this week’s event.
Not allowed to enter the two offshore monohull only races, she shadowed the fleet in the Sydney to Southport race and again in the Brisbane to Keppel race. Starting later, she conclusively proved she could outgun Bob Oatley’s 100 footer Wild Oats XI.
Now at Airlie Beach, Simon Hull’s bright red three hulled speedster has been measured and has received her Offshore Multihull Race (OMR) rating, which means she can race in the multihull division.
Owner/skipper Simon Hull commented ‘With our official handicap certificate we are stoked and we will be on the multihull division start line on Pioneer Bay on Friday morning.'
Simon further explained 'We do 30 knots very regularly in our Wednesday night race on Auckland Harbour. We have touched 40. With steady Whitsunday trade winds around 20 knots and flat water we will smoke.‘