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Airlie Beach Race Week: "Festival of Sailing in Paradise," and it's only the start

AIRLIE BEACH, WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS, QLD, AUS – Have you ever seen the banner for a Facebook page event that looks quite like this? Not a regatta but a "Festival of Sailing." Open to all (not just the racers), the Aussies know how to regatta. And SAILING ILLUSTRATED is pleased to have had our good friend Mary Longpre (USA, Newport Beach) at the Airlie Beach Race Week and sending us photos. As big an event as ABRW is, next week is the even larger event at neighboring Hamilton Island, one of the 74 Whitsunday Islands. Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is hosted annually by Hamilton Island Yacht Club, which we will also be covering thanks to Mary and another longtime friend, Hamo promotions manager Rob Mundle. Your Ed. has been to Hamo, and can attest first hand that it is one of the great sailing festivals – regattas – in the modern history of the world.

Some of the "Wizards of Oz" of Australian sailing at Airlie Beach Race Week, which concluded yesterday. And the fun in Paradise is just beginning, with neighboring Hamilton Race Race Week taking place next week. Photos: Mary Longpre.

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