Yachties mix it with visitors after racing at Whitsunday Sailing Club.
Yachties mix it with visitors after racing at Whitsunday Sailing Club. ANDREW PATTINSON, VAMPP

The countdown is on for Airlie Beach Race Week

THERE is less than a week now until it will be on for young and old at Airlie Beach Race Week Festival of Sailing, Whitsunday Sailing Club's (WSC) signature event, which continues to bring more tourists to the region than any other major event on the calendar.

Yachties are renowned worldwide for bringing their entries to the table at the 11th hour, but they are also credited with conveying their crews and the many family and friends along for the ride, which helps skyrocket the visitor numbers to this Whitsunday paradise each and every year.

To accommodate those who stay ashore each year, WSC has again ramped up the entertainment with some new features that will satisfy kids and adults alike.

Event chairman Adrian Bram said "We recognised early on that the allure of Airlie Beach Race Week is much more than going racing and enjoying the beautiful Whitsundays scenery.

"Today we cater to all of the crews, those who accompany and the locals as well. We add to the program every year to keep everyone interested and entertained. Race Week today really is a tropical festival of sailing and entertainment.”

The Craft Beer and Fabulous Food Pairing is one of the new additions to the program.

Complementing the Sunday Long Lunch at WSC, the inaugural Beer Pairing Lunch will be held from 12.30pm on Saturday, August 10, in the regatta marquee at the Club.

The following day is the popular Long Lunch, starting at 12.30pm.

This year the theme is Spanish, with an indulgent five courses; each expertly paired with wines to suit.

Both events are by booking only and are filling up quickly, so go to the official website abrw.com.au and book now.

On Lay Day, Monday, August 12, WSC will serve up a buffet breakfast and from 11.30am, patrons can enjoy a seafood buffet with live entertainment.

Another new event to the program will be the Family Fun Day at Northerlies Beach Bar and Grill from 10am-1pm.

Seven nights of free live entertainment is in the offing, with music from the likes of Hybrid, diva Airlie Norton, local singer/ songwriter Kieran McCarthy, Tasman Hagger, Timmy Mango and more. Food stalls will be open around the marquee at WSC each day after racing, when competitors, locals and visitors can soak up the atmosphere.

Accommodation for Airlie Beach Race Week Festival of Sailing is at a premium, because of the competitors and those who arrive with them, not to mention the multitude of volunteers.

Bram said: "We could not accommodate the officials, media and sponsors without the support of the At Hotel Group, Race Week's preferred accommodation partners.”

Thanks to Whitsundays 2 Everywhere, free transport is provided every 15 minutes from 3.30pm-10pm between Coral Sea Marina Resort and Whitsunday Sailing Club on race days.

On Tuesday, August 13, free transfers are available every 15 minutes between WSC and Northerlies, via the marina, for Race Day Four prize presentation.

Organisers are expecting around 130 boats will take part in the 2019 Airlie Beach Race Week Festival of Sailing, when boat owners are expected to arrive with more than 2,200 crew, family and friends. Currently, entries are at 110.

You can book your accommodation via abrw.com.au. Book your berth with Coral Sea Marina Resort and Port of Airlie as they are filling quickly.