Clipper Race Crew Embrace Carnival

24 January 2018

The Clipper Race crew may still have a week left of their stopover here in Airlie Beach but it’s already been one to remember, thanks to the brilliant events organised as part of the inaugural Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival.

It all kicked off on Friday night with the official Welcome Party, held alongside the picturesque setting of Airlie Beach foreshore. The crew were presented with the ‘Key to the Heart of the Whitsundays’ by the regional council leaders before a relaxed evening of live music and a stunning firework display above the beach.

On Saturday, a selection of Clipper Race Skippers and crew boarded a boat bound for the pristine white silica sands of Whitehaven Beach for the ultra-special White on Whitehaven Lunch.

Jenny Hall, a round the worlder on Dare To Lead, was one of the crew who attended the lunch and says: “I’ve really been looking forward to this. It’s been a brilliant break from the full-on racing element of the Clipper Race so it’s nice to come and relax. It’s the first time I’ve been on a beach since we left Liverpool at Race Start in August so it was very exciting.”

After being greeted on Whitehaven Beach with champagne and canapes, the Skippers and crew joined the other 300 guests for a long table lunch, and feasted on the brilliant seafood that Far North Queensland is renowned for.

“The lunch on Whitehaven Beach was just fantastic,” says PSP Logistics Skipper Matt Mitchell.

“It was nice to get away from the work on the boats for a day and relax with some of my fellow Skippers and the crew as well. I’ve really enjoyed this stopover but how could you not, given what’s around us?”

Nell Wyatt, a circumnavigator on board Garmin, says: “We had the most amazing day on Whitehaven. We are standing on the most amazing beach covered in unspoiled white sand and all around are deep turquoise seas. It’s the most beautiful place I’ve seen and looks better in person than in all the brochures.”

Nell and Rose Todd, a fellow circumnavigator on Qingdao, were two who returned on Sunday for the Progressive Lunch event which saw guests visit three beautiful locations across the Whitsundays region, including the normally private azure waters of Paradise Cove. Rose says: “The Whitsundays is just amazing, it’s just one of the magic corners of the world.

“It’s really one of the great joys of doing the Clipper Race that you get to see these places and this is really right up there at the top of the list of amazing places to go. It’s all just been absolutely incredible here and we’re just making the most of it. The best stopover so far and we still have lots of time left to explore further.”

Qingdao Skipper Chris Kobusch, who also attended the Progressive Lunch, agrees, adding: “When you’re sailing, you just sail past all the islands and never really get to see them. So, it’s been nice to actually get some time off here in Airlie Beach and experience the culture and the people, it’s fantastic.”

The Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival has been developed by a consortium between Tourism Whitsundays and the Whitsundays Regional Council, as a way to celebrate the arrival of the Clipper Race fleet and showcase the beauty of the Whitsundays through two weeks of vibrant regional events and activities.

The carnival will wrap up with one last celebration this Saturday, a Rodeo by the Reef in nearby Bowen. Tickets are still available and can be booked on the Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival website.

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