Grand finale

Superlative conditions set up a final showdown at Airlie Beach Race Week.

Written by ABRW Media
Photography by Andrea Francolini

15 August 2019


The 2019 Airlie Beach Race Week (ABRW) grand finale is shaping up to be a beauty with east/south-east 15 to 20 knot winds expect and Ross Chisholm, the Race Director Whitsunday Sailing Club (WSC) advising all courses would be on Pioneer Bay for the final day.

Multihull 1 and 2 divisions will be away first at 10am, followed by IRC Passage, Performance Racing, Sports Boats, then the four Cruising Divisions, Multihull Passage and finally, the Trailable yachts. 

Courses will take in Bluff, Grimston and laid marks, making for an ideal viewing platform for spectators on the water and ashore.

Today is it – the final chance to make an impact in each division. Marcus Blackmore’s Hooligan leads IRC Passage by two points to fellow TP52, Zen, going into the day. It’s been a battle all week, with Zen taking yesterday’s race. Blackmore commented: “They have kept us on our toes all week. Zen is a well-sailed boat.

The same battle has been going on with the 40 footers, where third placed Ray Roberts’ Botin 40, Team Hollywood, leads David Currie’s modified Farr 40, Ponyo (Vic).


Only three points separates the top three in Performance Racing.  Gerrit Veenemans’ Fareast 28R (NSW) has the upper hand by one point over Tim Cummings’ Kraken, a Melges 24. A second Fareast 28R, Whereswall 11, owned by Victorian, Roger Jepson is just two points in arrears of Kraken.

In Cruising Division 1, Steve Capell’s elegant Swan 65, Eve (NSW) is a mere point ahead of another beauty, David Perkins’ Dufour 560 Gl, Vanilla 2. Division 2 is led by Brendan Gregg’s X-43, Quest 3, which is four points ahead of Greg Busch’s Sydney 40, Mako Sunglasses; while Division 3 has the Chris McSorley chartered Charm Offensive just four points ahead of Ray Nankervis’ Karm.

At the top of Non-Spinnaker Cruising is Renaissance 3, skippered by Victorian, Robert Grey. However, it is on equal points with Matt Doyle’s La Troisieme Mitemps (NSW), with Charles Weatherly’s Smooth Operator (Vic) just another two points in arrears. It will be a showdown at the OK Corral today on Pioneer Bay.

At this morning’s race briefing, Ross Chisholm took the opportunity to thank his experienced volunteer race management team. Most come here year after year, but there were some new faces added to the team too.

“It’s been a great week, in no small part to all of you,” Chisholm said. “There will be a breakfast for all volunteers tomorrow and I look forward to seeing you there.”

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