Wondrous Whitsundays Completes Leg 4

09 May 2019

In the first of many exciting announcements planned for this week in the lead up to Crew Allocation on Saturday, we can now reveal that the Australian Coast-to-Coast Leg 4 is complete, with the beautiful Whitsundays added to the Clipper 2019-20 Race route.

IMAGE: The Clipper Race fleet during the 2018 Whitsundays Stopover.

This is the third time the race will visit the azure warm waters and white sandy shores of this Tropical Far North Queensland Region, with the fleet due to arrive in early 2020.

And following the positive economic impact of our previous visit, the stopover will form part of the second Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival - a week-long event celebrating all that is great about the Whitsundays.

The 74 Island Wonders of the Whitsundays will be a welcome reward for crew, who will have raced more than 20,000 nautical miles halfway round the globe. As well as the beautiful surrounding, teams will also enjoy world-class facilities, with the fleet to be berthed at the Five Gold Anchor Global Accredited and award winning Abell Point Marina - soon to be re-branded to Coral Sea Marina|Resort - at Airlie Beach.

IMAGE: The Clipper 1017-18 Race fleet in the 74 Island Wonders of the Whitsundays.

Clipper Race Founder and Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who last month celebrated 50 years since becoming the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the world, said: “I am pleased Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays will once again be a Host Port.

“The Whitsundays has been an extremely popular stopover port during the last two editions of the Clipper Race. It is a truly stunning location and a perfect place to really relax and unwind midway through our intense race route.

“Being a Clipper 2019-20 Race Host Port will enable the Whitsundays region to continue to promote its beautiful surroundings to our global race community. This is a leading sailing destination in the Southern Hemisphere and we can’t wait to return.”

Whitsunday Regional Council are excited to welcome back the Clipper 2019-20 Race, and have been busy planning the carnival which will showcase the beauty of the region and its UNESCO World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef to the world.

IMAGE: The 2018 White-on-Whitehaven Lunch was a huge hit with crew.

The Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival in January of 2018 included events such as the ‘Luxurious White on Whitehaven Lunch’ and the ‘Crew Parade and Party’ in Airlie. Queensland Minister for Tourism, the Honourable Kate Jones announced in a statement in May, 2018, that “the event not only attracted visitors to the region, but encouraged participants to extend their stay and explore this beautiful region”. The report identified the inaugural Clipper Race Carnival injected almost $2 million (AUD) into the local economy, and generated almost 8,800 visitors nights from attendees outside the region.

IMAGE: The Clipper 1017-18 Race crew presented keys to Whitsundays as part of the 2018 carnival.

Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox said: “Located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef and home to 74 Islands, the Whitsundays is a match made in heaven to host a leg of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

“The Whitsunday Clipper Race Carnival is the ideal opportunity to showcase our stunning natural paradise to the world. Where else can you take a scenic flight to Whitehaven Beach, snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, take a rainforest segway tour and attend a rodeo metres from the Coral Sea, all in the same day.”

Of the 60 Australian based crew taking part in the Clipper 2019-20 Race, 14 call Queensland home. Also, 27 year old Canadian Ryan Barkey, who lived in Airlie for the past two years, was inspire to join the race as a ‘Mate’ after watching the Clipper Race yachts arrive in 2018.

Ryan said: “Of all the races, this is the one I most want to win. It was a spectacle seeing the boats arrive through the islands. I’m excited for it to be me on the boats this time.

“I was only meant to be in Airlie Beach for two months but this turned into two years - it’s a place you never what to leave. I can’t wait to show my crew, who come from all around the world, what makes the Whitsundays so special.”

IMAGE: Clipper 2019-20 Race Mate Ryan Barkey can't wait to race to former home in the Whitsundays.

The Clipper Race Stopover in the Whitsundays will complete Leg 4, a 3,500 nautical mile race from Fremantle, Western Australia, to Airlie Beach. For three weeks, the eleven teams will race through through the Southern Ocean, cross the Bass Strait, and navigate the infamous Southerly Busters. The reward will arriving in the warm, azure waters of the Coral Sea to be greeted by the incredible sight of the Whitsundays.

A world class sailing destination, the Whitsundays is situated on the beautiful tropical coast of Queensland, Australia, and right in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. A visit to the Whitsundays is a feast for the senses, with the stunning natural landscapes of coast and islands dotted with secluded beaches.

To learn more about the Whitsundays, see the Host Port Page here.

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