Australian IRC Championship to be held at Hamilton Island in 2015

Yachting Australia has announced that the 2015 IRC Australian Championship will be held at Hamilton Island.

The Hamilton Island Yacht Club last hosted the championship in 2012. History was created at that event when Marcus Blackmore took out the IRC Australian Championship with his TP52 Hooligan, making it back-to-back wins following his success in 2011. His was the first boat in 29 years to win successive championships in the grand prix division at Hamilton Island.

Racing will again take place in three classes (Division 1, Division 2 and Division 3) allowing similar-sized yachts to compete in their relevant division and offering fairer racing.

Yachting Australia CEO Phil Jones believes Hamilton Island Yacht Club hosting the 2015 IRC Australian Championship will strengthen and grow the event. “The IRC Australian Championship has always been a linchpin of racing in this country and a showpiece in the Yachting Australia events calendar. Yachting Australia is delighted to again be partnering with Hamilton Island.

“With 31 years of regatta management experience hosting Race Week plus the IRC Championship and a number of world championships we know the Island and the club will deliver an excellent program of racing and off-water activities in 2015.”

A fleet of 182 boats has just finished the 31st edition of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. The annual event again proved it’s a magnet for quality IRC boats from around the country, attracting three divisions from the BH36 Local Hero in division 3 up to the current Audi IRC Australian champion, Karl Kwok’s TP52 Team Beau Geste which took out division 1 honours.

Glenn Bourke, Hamilton Island CEO, welcomed the IRC Australian Championship back to Hamilton Island and said, “We have some of the best racing and courses in the world and to host the championship again provides a great opportunity to experience Hamilton Island.

“I extend an open invitation to all IRC rated boats to come and compete in the Whitsundays next year and fight it out for the honour of being the premier IRC racing teams. Building on the great series hosted by Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club this year, we are hoping for more than 30 challengers,” Bourke added.

The dates and duration the championship are currently being finalised and details will be released later in the year.

– Lisa Ratcliff

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