by Rob Mundle
2014 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - For eight consecutive years, Victorian yachtsman Ross Wilson has looked at the top of the podium at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, but never quite enjoyed the pleasure of standing there.
Pursuing a podium finish: Ross Wilson’s yacht, Eagle Rock, will be back at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week for the ninth consecutive year.
This year, in August, he will be back for another attempt at winning the IRC Passage division at the famous regatta, with what he considers to be the best formula for success: the same yacht and a crew comprising good friends who know how to have a fun time when sailing, and socially.
'We’ve been second in our division a few times, but have never quite got to the top,' Wilson said. 'Regardless, we keep coming back because we enjoy Audi Hamilton Island Race Week so much.'
The majority of 12-person crew will be regulars – friends from Sydney, where his yacht, the Beneteau 47.7, Eagle Rock, is based, and others from Melbourne, including some who have spent many years racing with the legendary Melbourne yachtsman Lou Abrahams, who passed away late last month.
While this will be Wilson’s ninth straight Race Week with the yacht, it will be his 14th time at the regatta in 15 years.
'When you do only one sailing series a year, as is the case for many of us, and you always choose Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, it says plenty about our impressions of the regatta. We thrive on the intensity of the racing and the scenery you sail by on every course. It has to also be said that we enjoy the post-race dock parties as much as we do the sailing. It’s like an annual gathering of the clan.'
The scenery is one of the things that keeps bringing Ross Wilson and his yacht, Eagle Rock, back to Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. Here, part of the regatta fleet heads away from the island and towards the Whitsunday Passage. - Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2014
Anyone wanting clear evidence of how superb the scenery is in the tropical Whitsunday islands – where Hamilton Island is the centrepiece – need only be aware of the recently announced TripAdvisor Best Beaches in the World awards for 2014. The stunning, six-kilometre-long, Whitehaven Beach, was ranked fifth best beach in the world, and the best in Australia. Whitehaven is just eight nautical miles from Hamilton Island.
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2014 will be staged from August 16 to 23. The regatta is open to the full spectrum of keelboats, sport boats and multihulls.
The Notice of Race, entry form and regatta information are all available on the regatta website.
German luxury brand, Audi, is back for the ninth year at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in 2014. Audi and the sport of sailing go hand in hand, thanks to a shared passion for winning performance, the use of lightweight and progressive materials in construction, and a love of spirited competition. In Australia, the Audi brand has closed 2013 with its ninth consecutive year of growth, supported in part by the Australian sailing community. Throughout Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2014, the brand will host a range of events and activities on the island for yacht owners, yacht crews and guests to enjoy.