A bunch of consultant miners from around the country and Jakarta have got together, called their chartered Sunsail Bavaria 50 Mine Y.O.B and are living it up in the tropical Whitsundays at the 26th edition of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week – and all under the rather dubious banner of the Peak Performance Multi-Disciplinary Conference.
The collegiate of 26 has, with the assistance of the Arch Duke Brian Pozzey, chartered three boats of a similar size and rented two houses on the hill. They have brought 480 bottles of wine with them, as well as a masseuse and four chefs who work around the clock creating daily masterpieces from the food that was trucked over from Airlie Beach.
Each night they have lectures with speakers on their feet being judged, and ridiculed, while talking about this year's conference theme, ‘success through adversity'.
But don't think for a minute they aren't serious about their sailing, well some weren't but they've been dragged by the scruff of the crew shirt to think results, particularly with bottles of rum the daily wager.
“It's a truly wonderful 10 days,” said Graeme Boyd from Brisbane who is sailing Mine Y.O.B, a cruising division 2 entry.
A peek in their lunch boxes for today's race revealed sandwiches filled with the leftover fillet mignon from last night's dinner. It's pure gourmet, from the Race Week menus to the on board music library, which includes a bit of Bach….”to rev everyone up” says Rob Collingworth, proudly sporting his orange 2000 Sydney Olympic hat with the beer bottle tops souvenired from the Heineken booth still attached.
Rum wagers are not uncommon at Race Week, the two Volvo 60s sailing in the IRC invitation division have a daily wager, “we are two up at the moment” the owner of Spirit of the Maid, formerly the round-the-world racer Ericsson, Bruce Absolon boasts this morning.
This afternoon the crew of Cruising division 3 entry The Major were giggling all the way to the race office where they were caught lodging paperwork for hitting the finish buoy. The sunburnt Townsville crew, whose motto is ‘a drinking crew with a sailing problem' apparently underestimated the tide at the finish line, openly admitting that some local knowledge would have been helpful today.
Race officials sent the three cruising and non-spinnaker divisions on courses 3 and 4 today. Like the rest of the classes they struggled in the fickle breeze but caught a nice easterly home to the finish in Dent Passage this afternoon.
After a testing three days all Audi Hamilton Island Race Week competitors are looking forward to tomorrow's lay day.
Results for all divisions are available online.
– Lisa Ratcliffe