Airlie fleet fills

New Caledonian entry heads to Airlie Beach Race Week as onshore program finalised.

Written by Di Pearson/ABRW media

18 July 2023


As Airlie Beach Race Week’s onshore program was being finalised, a New Caledonia entry marked the 140 entry and the 21st Multihull Racing competitor for Whitsunday Sailing Club’s (WSC) 35th running of the annual event, which kicks off on 10 August.

Judicael Hillion is bringing Kalolo to take on the best racing multihulls in Australia. Representing Cercle Nautique Caledonien, the Architecte Lushër Looping 56GP design finished second multihull over the line and second multihull overall in the 2022 Groupama Race, a 654 mile race around New Caledonia.

Kalolo was beaten for line honours by Drew Caruthers’ Aussie multi, Rushour, a regular at ABRW. Hillion will have to be at his best in the Whitsundays as he will face a strong contingent of Extreme 40s and a host of previous winners at Airlie Beach Race Week Festival of Sailing.


Meanwhile, a lively onshore program has something for everyone. Live music will greet competitors at WSC after racing each day. Kieran McCarthy will lead off on Registration night, Thursday 10 August.

“We’ve tried to cater for all tastes,” said ABRW Event Chairman, Ross Chisholm. “We have solo performers and some of the best live bands in the region, that are sure to get the crowds up on the dance floor, not to mention the different food and beverage options.”

The powerhouse party band, G-Force, will liven the crowd up on Friday evening, Deja Vu is booked for Saturday night, with the ever popular Mason Rock Band, winner of 2018 Live Act of the Year, taking over the stage on Sunday night – a big one ahead of lay day.

Dylan Hammond is on Tuesday night, with Sam McCann on Wednesday night. Rebel and Flying Double Front Kick will make the final evening a memorable one.

Dinner is available at WSC’s 20 Degrees South Bar & Restaurant (bookings essential). A new mouth-watering menu delivers anything from fresh seafood to steaks, burgers, chicken dishes, curries, salads and more.

Food trucks return for those who prefer to sit with a drink in the marquee on the lawn and enjoy the entertainment up close with their crews at the Club.

The much-anticipated Long Lunch is on the calendar for Sunday 13 August and this time the theme is South American. House hot smoked salmon, crispy spiced pork belly, scallops, chimmichurri marinated quail, soft shell crab and chocolate avocado mousse are a sample of what patrons will enjoy on the day, along with wines paired to suit. Bookings are essential as this is a popular lunch.

On Lay Day, there is All-Day Lunch at WSC for those who want to relax. Dinner is also available at the Club in the evening.

Airlie Beach also offers a wide variety of other dining options, ranging from takeaway and pub food to fine dining.

The pièce de résistance is the fireworks display that will close the event on Thursday 17 August.

Airlie Beach Race Week Festival of Sailing is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and is a feature on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.

It’s not too late to enter, so go online now where you can also book dinner at the Club and the Long Lunch.

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