One of the best-known and most successful yachtsmen in the Asia-Pacific region, Karl Kwok, has set his sights on becoming outright champion in the IRC Grand Prix Division at next month’s Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.
The Hong Kong-based businessman will be sailing his impressive TP52 class yacht, Team Beau Geste, in the series that is contested on the tropical waters of the Whitsunday island region. Kwok will be joined by a top-line international crew for the regatta. It’s a potent package – one that will see Team Beau Geste installed as the yacht to beat for the IRC championship this year.
Originally named Matador when launched, she won the TP52 world championship in 2009, and then in 2011, when named Bribon and campaigned by King Juan Carlos of Spain, she was second in the Audi Med Cup.
After purchasing the yacht in 2013 and renaming her Team Beau Geste, Kwok shipped her to Australia for the local TP52 championship. She won every race and claimed that crown by a comfortable margin. Then, earlier this year, she scored a clean sweep in the NSW State Championship and Class A of the Audi IRC Australian Championship.
Kwok is hoping his string of six consecutive victories with the yacht will continue at Race Week. Fortunately, he and some of his crew are not newcomers to the regatta, having competed with a previous Beau Geste in 2007.
That experience obviously left a strong impression on Kwok. On committing to enter the regatta this year he said: “I’m certainly looking forward to revisiting Hamilton Island and Race Week, and enjoying some world class sailing.”
Team Beau Geste will have to put down some strong challenges if she is to win the title. Among the yachts to beat are Matt Allen’s new Carkeek 60, Ichi Ban, and the supermaxi, Wild Oats XI (Bob & Sandy Oatley).
The entry list for this year’s Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is expected to exceed 150 within a matter of days.
The Notice of Race, entry form and regatta information are all available on the regatta website – www.hamiltonislandraceweek.com.au.
– Rob Mundle