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Airlie Beach Race Week: Gateway to become world-class destination

Abell Point Marina Airlie Beach Race Week 2013. Precinct redevelopment wont affect the 2013 event

Abell Point Marina Airlie Beach Race Week 2013. Precinct redevelopment wont affect the 2013 event

Abell Point Marina’s decision to step in as major sponsor of this year’s Airlie Beach Race Week provides an opportunity for the owner to showcase the soon to be rebranded and reinvigorated marina precinct.

The former Foxleigh Mining Chair, Paul Darrouzet came on board in April 2013 as the new owner of the precinct. With over 25 years of experience enjoying the Whitsundays as an avid boating enthusiast and Hamilton Island Race Week competitor, Darrouzet saw Abell Point Marina as a key asset to the region and to the health of Airlie Beach.

The precinct’s marketing and business development manager, Luke McCaul, said sponsorship of this year’s Race Week was a natural fit for a business that is supporting local businesses and encouraging industry collaboration. “Race Week is a signature event and sailing is the heart and soul of Airlie Beach so to get behind something that is dear to the hearts of the locals is really important.”

This year’s competitors will be welcomed under the new ownership during Race Week, to be held from 9th to 16th August. “By coming in as naming rights sponsor this year, the new owner is taking the opportunity for all entrants to get a bit of a taste of where we are going with the precinct over the next year. We will have the plans on display for viewing and discussion.

“In September, immediately following Race Week and our annual peak season, a 12 to 18 month program of significant works is scheduled to commence,” McCaul said.

By the start of next year’s 25th anniversary Airlie Beach Race Week the marina and its surrounding areas will have received major upgrades as the precinct progresses towards becoming a world-class Destination Marina for its Australian and international visitors.

Sailors in the Australasian region are well versed on the quality of competition at Airlie Beach Race Week and the planned changes at Abell Point Marina will provide further incentive for them to travel to Airlie Beach in 2014 to race and holiday.

The beauty of the event is international sailors can charter a boat and compete in race week and then spend some time cruising around the Whitsunday islands. There are a variety of other experiences to have from the marina including island hopping, day trips to Whitehaven Beach and the outer reef, jet-ski tours that explore the bays and inlets of Airlie Beach, and a Daydream Island extreme adventure. The marina experiences extend further into diving, fishing and sailing adventures that range from day trips to three-day adventures. Abell Point Marina has the advantage of hosting a large range of commercial operators servicing the Whitsunday islands and Great Barrier Reef, giving it the reputation as the tourism and recreation hub of the Whitsundays

“The major precinct works include expansion and beautification of the marina and its surrounds as well as extensive environmental remediation. The main goal is to develop the marina into a signature attraction for the Whitsundays working towards a world-class Destination Marina. Paul believes the plans are synergistic with how the marina was originally intended to service the industry and region before and during the many years of uncertainty and through the GFC.

“The development plans include a public access area, upgrades of onsite amenities including 230 additional car parks, integrating walkways across the precinct, associated tourism facilities and recreation activities as well as the environmental remediation of the precinct incorporating the retention basin to create a community park.

“Paul’s commitment to developing the park demonstrates his commitment to providing a dedicated space for the whole community which will be a prime location for the holding of family-friendly community events.

“There are plans down the track for a sunset bar/pavilion which will be a good venue for Race Week competitors in 2014. We are also looking at the opportunity to maximise retail and entertainment opportunities to add to the marina village experience in order to develop into a destination attraction.

“Additionally, there are plans for dredging inside the marina walls to depths never experienced in the history of the marina. With berthing for super yachts up to 60m, this will enhance berthing capabilities while providing real opportunity to strengthen Abell Point Marina’s position as a super yacht destination.

“Alongside the enhancement of the marina facilities, we are looking at raising the service standards to a benchmark level ensuring a more customer-centric, seamless and memorable experience for all visiting clientele. The new owner is determined to ensure we are bringing that customer service, welcome and concierge up to a level that leads the way in marine service delivery..

“The aim is to provide a genuine destination for owners and charterers which extends past the boat just being tied up at the marina, but offering dedicated customer service, a plethora of shore-side options and social activities, as well as the provision of support services to ensure captains, managers and crews confidently return to Abell Point Marina.”

So this year’s Abell Point Marina Airlie Beach Race Week will be the point of change for the signature sailing event.

The savvy sailors within the fleet will soon realise that next year will be a huge year of on-water racing and onshore celebrations so booking their accommodation and securing a berth for next year as they prepare to leave town on the 17th August, would be a solid idea.

For event information and online entry, go http://airlieraceweek.com/

By Tracey Johnstone