Will the fleet for this month's Audi Hamilton Island Race Week top the magical 200? It's a distinct possibility as the closing time for entries looms. The number of entries for the week of sensational sailing and exceptional social activities that starts on August 22 is now nudging 190.
“To have a fleet of around 200 is quite amazing and extremely satisfying,” said Hamilton Island's CEO and world champion yachtsman, Glenn Bourke. “It confirms just how great Race Week really is.
“We would have been happy with a fleet of 150, especially in the wake of some tough financial times. But no: after last year's hugely successful 25th anniversary Race Week the sailors have decided to come back once more. I guess it's because we deliver the complete package – outstanding racing around deserted islands in a tropical environment, spectacular scenery, a wide-ranging social agenda, and you're here at the venue the moment you step off the jet.”
The cluster of entries lodged in recent days reflects the diverse nature of the regatta. They range from Andrew Short's 80ft maxi, Club Marine Shockwave, and Michael Hiatt's hot new Farr 55 Grand Prix racer, Living Doll, through to Mike Blenkisop's non-spinnaker cruising division entry out of Melbourne, Pelikan, and Tim Osborne's well-known performance racer, Rising Farrst, from Airlie Beach.
New Division – IRC Invitational Class
This year the Race Committee has assessed the cross section of yachts entered in the IRC classes and decided there is a need to create a new IRC category. The parameters for this IRC Invitational Class ensure it will not interfere with the integrity of existing IRC classes.
The reason for this change is that while the Grand Prix IRC Class caters very effectively for the upper echelon of racing yachts and crews, and IRC Passage has developed well in recent years for its target participants, there is now a growing number of yachts that slot between these two classes whose owners want to enjoy racing under tight IRC rules but are not willing to race to Performance adjusted handicaps. These yachts, which meet the parameters of the new IRC Invitational class, struggle to mix it with the newer boats when racing around the cans in the short racing format. At the same time the owners of these yachts do not wish to impose on the tight group of boats that make up the current IRC Passage class.
One of the fun factors that will again be part of Race Week this year is the Prix d'Elegance, which will be judged as the fleet departs the harbour at Hamilton Island for racing on the morning of Friday, August 28. It is open to all yachts that are competing, and there will be two categories:
- The Best Presented Yacht and Crew – with the yacht in first-class trim and the crew in matching crew uniforms.
- The Best Fun-Themed Yacht and Crew – where the sailors dress up their yachts and let their imagination run wild.
Audi IRC Australian Championship
Among the many highlights that will come with the racing will be the final round of the Audi IRC Australian Championship, a contest which has taken on an exciting new dimension since the completion of the penultimate round, the Audi Sydney-Gold Coast race. The championship leader, the Archambault 40 Alegria (Rod Jones), was penalised in that race for a breach of safety regulations and as a consequence the yacht has gone from looking to have the Australian title ‘in the bag' to now facing a battle to the death at Race Week with Graeme Woods' Wot Now.
Alegria will go into the final round with an advantage of just 0.319 points over Wot Now with Peter and Ruth Hill's Ruth Magic in third place.
All information regarding the 26th Hamilton Island Race Week can be found on the website: www.hamiltonislandraceweek.com.au
For additional information please contact the Promotions Manager:
Rob Mundle – firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: + 61 (0)417 323 573 or + 61 (0)7 5527 1126