Berthing for yachts and big multihulls for the 35th edition of Airlie Beach Race Week has been exhausted, as entries reach 100 early on, but organisers at Whitsunday Sailing Club (WSC) encourage other possible entries to try and source independently.

”We have exhausted all known berths and moorings available for visiting yachts,” Event Chairman, Ross Chisholm said of the event to be held from 10-17 August.

Owners who still wish to enter, but require moorings, will need to make their own berthing arrangements prior to completing their entry.

“We are currently maintaining a waiting list and will continue to endeavour to find opportunities, but unfortunately we are unable to guarantee further berths. We apologise, but both marinas are claiming record bookings for 2023,” Chisholm explained.

The above does not affect local boats with permanent berths. Nor does it affect those that can dry store their boats at the regatta, such as Trailable yachts, sports boats and Off the Beach classes.

In that respect, entries for the Queensland Trailable Yacht & Sports Boat Championships, to be held in conjunction with ABRW, are shaping up nicely, with a few holding their cards close to their chests.

Andrew York has a brand new REO 8.5 on the way. ‘Like Oxygen’ is already entered, even though she is yet to launch.

“It’s an REO 8.5 full carbon infusion mould boat being completed at Innovation Composites in Nowra. It should be launched sometime in June,” York, from Sydney said.

“It’s a lot lighter than my last boat (REO Speed wagon, a REO 7.7). The new boat is a lot lighter. Even with 30 kilos of ballast it’s much lighter and has one more metre on the rig.“

On the competition, he says, “Vivace is always sailed well and should be a bit of competition for us.”

Vivace is a Bethwaite 79er owned by John Rae and Gary Smith. The pair rarely miss out on a podium finish and placed second overall to Sandor Tornai’s Skeeter last year. Tornai, from NSW, is likely to bring his Bethwaite 8 back to defend.

“There’s bound to be a bunch of good entries from Queensland,” York says.

Among them is Tim McCall’s Hairy McClary, an Elliott 780 that won in 2021 and finished third last year. Jason “just call me Goggles,” Rickert also forms part of the strong Queensland contingent with Mister Magoo. Everyone knows Goggles, who has been in the winner’s seat before.

Those boats with a current CBH in accordance with Australian Class Based Handicap (CBH) Rating System are eligible and will be scored using the CBH rating system.

The wee WETAs return too. Todd McVey is back to finish what he started last year. With his aptly named ‘Getting Weta’ McVey led for most the series until his son, Ryan, overtook and stole the show and the top place sailing ‘The Other Office’.

Bill Henebery (Teal Spirit) is one of those who will be out to stop McVey in these colourful 4.4 trimarans.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO, Rick Hamilton, is thrilled to see another successful Airlie Beach Race Week Festival of Sailing well underway, with 100 entries already received.

“Airlie Beach Race Week is a staple on The Whitsundays event calendar and has been for 34 years, attracting boats from all over Australia for a week of sailing the Whitsunday Islands,” Hamilton said.

“We’ve had record visitation and expenditure in The Whitsundays in the past 12 months and that can partly be credited to the exceptional events held each year.

“Events like this one attract not only participants, but their families and friends to the region, meaning the flow on effect for our accommodation, restaurants and tour operators is significant.

“In an area that relies on tourism for one in three jobs, it’s crucial that events put together by the community benefit the community. Airlie Beach Race Week Festival of Sailing does that very well,” Hamilton ended.

ating Passage, ORC Passage, One-Design classes, Performance Racing, Performance Cruising, Non-Spinnaker, Trailable Yachts and Sports Boat PHS and CBH classes, Multihull Racing, Multihull Passage, Off Beach Multihull, WETA 4.4 Trimaran and Off the Beach classes will take part at Airlie Beach Race Week 2023.

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.

For online entry and Notice of Race, please visit the official site:

By Di Pearson/ABRW media