Ray Roberts, a long time and enthusiastic supporter of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, has purchased one of the most successful yachts on the international offshore scene, the STP 65 Rosebud, and in doing so has set victory at Race Week in his sights – next year.
Unfortunately he will not be able to get the yacht to Australia in time for this year’s regatta, but victory at Race Week 2011, along with a win in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart race, are at the top of his agenda.
In the meantime, Roberts, who races out of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Sydney, will return to Hamilton Island this year looking for a win in the IRC Grand Prix division with his high performance Cookson 50, Evolution Racing.
Rosebud, designed by Bruce Farr and previously owned by American Roger Sturgeon, won the 2007 Hobart race and has claimed victories across the US, in the Mediterranean and at Cowes Week in England. Roberts will rename her Evolution Racing.
‘The Hobart race and Audi Hamilton Island Race Week are my two favourite events in Australia,’ said Roberts, who also campaigns a TP 52 racer extensively on the Asian circuit. ‘I’m certainly looking forward, as always, to Race Week this year, but even more so next year with the new boat.’
Roberts has had Rosebud sent to New England Boatworks in the US so minor hull damage, which came when the yacht was dismasted during last year’s Middle Sea Race out of Malta, can be repaired, and keel modifications can be made. Once she’s back in the water Roberts will contest the North American IRC championships mid-year before shipping her to Australia.
Evidence that Race Week’s IRC Grand Prix Division will again see one of the hottest fleets of high calibre yachts ever assembled in Australia continues to emerge. The latest entry of note is Geoff Ross’ Reichel/Pugh designed 55-footer, Yendys.
Sydney-based Ross is out to repeat his Race Week effort in 2007 when he won the division in a down-to-the-wire contest. This year he is reinforcing his chances with one of the best crews imaginable. It will be led by Australian round-the-world racer, Olympian and world champion, Chris Nicholson, and includes Will Oxley, Robbie Wilmot, Steve Cotton and Dave Blanchfield. Nicholson is currently working on the development of some new high-tech sails for the regatta.
‘Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is the most enjoyable regatta in Australia,’ said Ross. ‘Apart from the fact that it’s a magnificent location, it’s the variety of races during the week that I really enjoy – the perfect balance between courses around all the beautiful islands, and tightly contested windward-leeward races on nice open water.’
Near 70 yachts of all shapes and sizes, from small cruising yachts through to supermaxis and superyachts, have already entered for AHIRW 2010, which is scheduled for August 20 to 28.
All information regarding Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2010 is on the website - www.hamiltonislandraceweek.com.au This includes the Notice of Race and entry form plus details of the impressive, and very diverse, social agenda planned for the week.
- Rob Mundle