Expresso Martini and crew are ready to face their foes – Photo By Judi Marshall

Entries for Whitsunday Sailing Club’s (WSC) Ocean Dynamics and Mount Gay Airlie Beach Race Week 2024 continue to flow in and competition is set to ignite in the Trailable Yachts and Sports Boat class, while new support sponsors sign up for the popular Queensland regatta.

Akin to the other classes taking part in the 36th running of Airlie Beach Race Week, numbers are growing in the Trailable and Sports Boats, which has attracted new blood.

Expresso Martini is making her ABRW debut, but her co-owner, Judi Marshall, is not. She explains: “We bought Expresso Martini a couple of years ago from the Gold Coast, but excluding the last two years, I’ve done the last six or seven Race Weeks as crew on other people’s yachts.”

Marshall says of the Ross 780e she owns with husband, Steve Brierley, “We’re working directly with Greg Hammon at the Club (WSC) to get a group 780s to make a separate division. That’s the hope.”

Marshall and Brierley are representing Tasmania and Queensland. “I’m a FIFO (fly in fly out) who spends time in both places, but the boat is based at Townsville Sailing Club and at least one of our crew is from Townsville,” she says of Helena May’s co-owner/skipper Lyndy Sawbridge, a regular on the podium at SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week.

“We have a highly skilled crew. My husband Steve is sailing master on Mayfair, a Sydney Hobart competitor and we have a sailmaker and others. Our only problem is we have four skippers and only one foredeckie!

“We love Airlie Beach,” Marshall continued, “as you have a lot of options of things to do compared to other northern races and regattas. There’s a variety of places to go and a lot of different people to mix with and it’s not just all the top end boats.

“It’s a lot of fun in an intimate setting at the Club and we have friends there we catch up with every year. And we can pull the boat out of the water every night, so it stays clean, which is s a major saving. We’re really looking forward to it and it’s wonderful to see Mount Gay involved – that’s a bonus!”

Other serious contenders in the class include Thompson 7 and 8 designs. In the ‘8’s are the likes of Andrew Jones’ Cutting Edge (Tas) and Dave Eickmeyer’s Rush (Vic). Hard to beat too, will be Andrew York’s Reo 8.5, Like Oxygen (NSW).

Jan  and Peter Claxton’s approach to the event is different to the competitors. Their company, Ocean Rafting, is a new support sponsor of ABRW.

”We’ve been here (Airlie Beach) 23 years and have three generations of family involved now. So many of our team have done their training at Whitsunday Sailing Club; 50 percent joined us as crew and then went to the Club to obtain Coxswain and Skipper’s certification, so we’ve enjoyed grass roots involvement with the Club over the years,” Jan Claxton says. 

“Our involvement with Airlie Beach Race Week is supporting Whitsunday Sailing Club because of our involvement with them. It’s also because we have the maritime connection in common and it’s about supporting local events,” she said.

The Claxtons bought Ocean Rafting in 2001 and now have eight boats. “They are fast and traverse the islands quickly, so after a fun day out our clients are back in time to shower and go to dinner.”

For more information on viewing the scenic Whitsunday Islands, brimming with spectacular natural scenery, marine, bird and animal life and all it entails, visit:

Airlie Summit is also a new support sponsor: “Our vision has been firmly set on creating a unique master-planned community where like-minded neighbours can enjoy this rare and incredible location, with all 74 of the beautiful islands of The Whitsundays at their doorstep,” Alder General Manager of Developments Greg Tupicoff said.

“Our Managing Director, Greg Alder, is a passionate boatie and as a company we are passionate about contributing to the organisations that surround our communities.”

Airlie Summit’s $60 million project is being developed by Queensland company, Alder. The site is in a key location for the region, offering aspirational land lots with some of the best views in the Whitsundays freehold land market.

“With land currently on sale and under construction, the development represents a fantastic opportunity for anyone looking for a permanent holiday home, investors looking for diverse real estate and owner occupiers who are looking for a unique outlook,” Tupicoff said.

In the new financial year, Alder will release the next stage of Airlie Summit, giving more Australians the opportunity to buy into paradise. For more information, visit:

Ocean Dynamics and Mount Gay Airlie Beach Race Week 2024 enjoys continued support Tourism and Events Queensland and is a feature on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.

To enter ABRW and for all information, visit the new official website 

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