It is now just a few days until the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet arrives in the Whitsundays.
Expected arrival times have been put back due to the challenging weather conditions of the southern states, with the first yachts now expected to arrive on Tuesday (January 16).
A tight finish is predicted, with the yachts currently bunched together as they race up the east coast of Australia in the Wondrous Whitsundays Race.
The latest estimated times of arrivals for the teams into Abell Point Marina can be found on the Clipper Race website and will be updated regularly as the teams approach the finish line.
Once they arrive in the Whitsundays, the crews, their families and friends, will enjoy a two-week Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival, with a raft of events taking place right across the region.
Tourism Whitsundays CEO Craig Turner said the region was on high alert, ready to welcome the crews once they made it into Airlie Beach.
“We’re primed and ready to go and can’t wait to get the party started,” he said.
“The crews will be able to have a rest as soon as they arrive and then we have the Welcome Party on Friday, January 19, which will kick off the celebrations.
“We are very excited to be welcoming the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race crews to the Whitsundays and we wish them well for the remainder of their exciting voyage up the coast.”
During the Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival, sailing enthusiasts will enjoy tours of the ocean-racing yachts, public talks by the skippers and opportunities to meet the crews.
There will also be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a few lucky people to race around the Whitsunday Islands on one of the Clipper yachts.
There are events planned right around the region as part of the carnival including the Bendigo Bank Clipper Welcome Party (free for everyone), the Fish D’Vine White on Whitehaven Long Lunch, the Whitsunday Foodservice Progressive Cruise Lunch and the Rodeo by the Reef, in Bowen.
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the only race of its kind and matches experienced skippers with novice sailors for the race, which starts and ends in Liverpool in the UK and takes in Uruguay, South Africa, Australia, China, the USA and Northern Ireland.
Crew members – who come from all over the world – can take part in just one leg or every leg of the 11-month long race around the globe.
The All-Australian leg is one of the toughest, with the Clipper crews having already completed a gruelling race around the south of Australia from Fremantle to Sydney, followed by the iconic Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and the Wondrous Whitsundays Race.
For more information and to book tickets for the events please visit www.whitsundayclipperrace.com.au.