Airlie Beach Race Week is going to be so hot this year, the official Start Boat couldn’t take it anymore and burst into flame. Seriously, and actually a bit of a sad story, but the loss of the lovely M/Y Arawe won’t damp any enthusiasm for one of the most bucketworthy regattas in the world; Airlie Beach Race Week. It’s got a laid-back attitude with little of the bullshit that accompanies most top-level events, perfect weather with solid tradewind sailing, the town is a backpackers’s paradise full of hot young chicks and cheap booze, and it all comes at the perfect time for winterbound Aussies. Airlie is also one of the best jumping-off points to explore the Great Barrier Reef; perfect for an extended trip with some sailboat racing in the middle.
It’s a long haul from most places and you might die if you swim in the water, but on a positive note, they’ve got the best drinks cooler in all of sailing on the dock (seen here thanks to SA’er ‘shaneo’). Plus this year features the Aussie multihull championship, another good mixed sportboat fleet, and some high-powered handicap racing. Racing starts on August 9th, and there’s plenty of chatter (at least from the multihullers) here.