Breaking records

The 33rd Airlie Beach Race Week has set a new record for entries, with the fleet already surpassing 130 boats.

11 June 2021


Organisers of the 33rd Airlie Beach Race Week have announced that an unprecedented high of 139 boats has already been confirmed for this year’s competition, set to begin on 12 August.

With over a month until entries close, the figure surpasses the event’s previous record of 133, set in 2016, and more than doubles the registered contestants of the COVID-affected 32nd Airlie Beach Race Week.

“Entries for the 33rd running of our regatta, to be held from 12–19 August, have gone beyond expectation,” said Whitsunday Sailing Club Event Chairman Ross Chisholm.

“Both Coral Sea Resort and Port of Airlie marinas are full, so those boats that can’t be stored ashore will be on swing moorings.

“I am pleased to say Airlie Beach Race Week is going back to its roots. Off-the-beach classes – F16 and F18 sports catamarans – along with the Weta trimaran class are joining us in 2021. We’ll house them here at Whitsunday Sailing Club.”


The inclusion of trimarans and catamarans at this year’s regatta is set to add to the vast range of multihulls throughout the region, with the 2021 Australian Multihull Championship also taking place during the Airlie Beach Race Week Whitsundays Festival of Sailing.

The news of increasing entries, however, magnifies the excitement for this year’s Race Week, with Beau White – the F16 NSW Association representative and a competitor in this year’s Race Week – musing, “To say I’m looking forward to it would be the understatement of the decade.”

“The fact we haven’t been able to travel to events and that there hasn’t been a long-distance race for cats in Australia since I’ve become involved in the class make Airlie Beach a great opportunity,” he later added.

White, who placed second at both the 2019 F16 Nationals and the 2021 NSW Championship, and won the Worrall 1000 with Team Australia’s Rod Waterhouse, also competed in the 2016 Airlie Beach Race Week with his 30-foot multihull Airplay.

This year, he will be racing his F16 Cristopia Energy Storage.

“We are all keen and very, very excited. There will be 12 to 16 of us there,” said White.

“It will be more of a challenge than the [F18], but I enjoy sailing the 16-footer – the two designs are very closely matched. On the racecourse, there’s not much in it, but the 16s are better in lighter wind on flat water, while the 18s are best if it blows in. Both are brilliant to sail.”

Gold Coast sailor Andy Duffield is also expected to join the August fleet, cutting his teeth with his new Weta trimaran, “I bought Wee Tri at Christmas and have sailed it at Hervey Bay, Big River and other places,” he said.

“The Weta is user-friendly – no trapeze. They’re a great class; you get good competition.

“I usually sail a bit of everything, and competitively, but predominantly multis, though I haven’t sailed much in the last 20 years. I’ve never sailed at Airlie Beach Race Week before, but I’m looking forward to it and the competition.”

Airlie Beach Race Week Whitsundays 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.

To enter this year’s competition, click here.

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