It’s goodbye Coral Sea Marina and back to the Coral Sea proper as the Clipper Race fleet bids farewell to a picture-perfect stopover in Airlie Beach and heads for Race 7: Endless Discovery in Ha Long Bay. Even the cyclone failed to dampen spirits, not materialising into the storm predicted.

Image: Yacht Club Punta del Este AQP Angus Whitehaead waves goodbye to supporters

The Coral Sea Marina provided a great base for Race Crew to explore the tropical paradise. Fresh local prawns, washed down with local beers greeted the teams on arrival setting the tone for a chilled stopover. Activities and excursions laid on for the sailors included meeting some local wildlife at a sunny sausage sizzle, finding out more about the surrounding Great Barrier Reef at a sustainability seminar, and exploring the Whitsunday islands on a snorkel trip.

Image: Happy faces from the AQP's ahead of their next adventure

Today, the eleven strong fleet departed, ahead of a challenging race to Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam.

Speaking from the marina as the team’s slipped lines, Clipper Ventures Managing Director Chris Rushton said: “The departure from Airlie Beach marks the end of a highly successful trio of Australian stopovers on the circumnavigation.

Image: Our Isles and Oceans crew member bidding farewell to onlooking supporters

“This is our fourth visit to Airlie Beach and we once again thank Coral Sea Marina for its continued support, particularly over the past few days as we experienced the tropical low. Thank you too to our our staff and crew for their preparation of the fleet and patience during this prolonged stop.

Image: UNICEF crew capturing the moment from the boat as they set sail

The Whitsundays always provide a welcome respite to the rugged conditions faced by our teams at sea. Over 200 Race Crew, plus their family and friends have enjoyed the vast array of activities on offer in the region, boosting the local tourism economy.”

Image: Dare To Lead slip lines out of Coral Sea Marina