31st Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Declared 'best ever'

Envy Scooters winning Melges 32
Andrea Francolini
2014 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Interstate and international crews from 182 boats are leaving Hamilton Island today in droves, letting the island return to its regular trade.

This year’s Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, boosted by the return of the tradewinds and perfect conditions was declared the 'best ever' by yachting journalist Rob Mundle who was part of the first-ever regatta in 1984 and has been involved ever since.

The 31st edition in 2014 marked nine years of Audi’s title sponsorship of this premier yachting event.

Melges 32s

Barry Cuneo’s Melges 32 Envy Scooters out of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron was one of a small Melges fleet that spent the majority of the week on the MC38 track in Turtle Bay to the east of Hamilton Island.

Their results in their final two windward/leewards in blowy conditions cemented Envy Scooters’ overall win, but not without a casualty. Rob Brown, one of four seasoned yachtsmen mentoring the RQYS youth crew in this stepping-stone to the class’ world championship later in the year, thinks he’s torn a medial ligament in his knee. It’s been a long week.

Klaus Lorenze, one of the young sailors under the tutelage of Cuneo, Brown, Grant Wharington and RQ coach Adrian Finglas, said, 'We are so excited to have had the opportunity to learn from the ‘old guys’. We want to thank them, RQYS and in particular Barry for investing in the program.'

A major highlight was meeting Olympic gold medallist Tom Slingsby who spoke to the boys about transitioning from dinghies to keelboats.

Second placed overall Melges 32, Stephen O’Rourke’s Panther broke its rudder on the penultimate day of racing, finishing their series.

Spirit of the Maid
Andrea Francolini

Performance Racing:

Having dominated Performance Racing for most of the week Hamilton Island based Bruce Absolon’s V060 Spirit of the Maid came so close to taking out the division. There weren’t quite enough miles in yesterday’s closing race to put enough distance between the 60-footer and the smaller boats and take the handicap gain, allowing the Beneteau 40 Peter Lehmann Breakthrough to slip in to first, on equal points with Spirit of the Maid.

'You have to time these things,' said Breakthrough’s skipper Ben McGrath sailing for the CYCA in Sydney. 'We had the choice of heading home via Catseye Bay or Dent Island passage. Six out of 10 chose Dent Island and we chose Catseye. That was our winning leg.'

'We are over the moon to end up on equal points with first,' Absolon said. 'It’s the highest the boat has ever finished at Race Week.' Another highlight for the Spirit crew was being presented with the specialty Don McLean trophy for the best performing Queensland boat at last night’s awards presentation. McLean’s son, Lach, made the presentation.


Much of the growth in numbers for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2014 came from an increase of multihulls from a handful last year to full fingers and toes this year. Owners had the option to enter the racing or cruising division.

Chillpill multi racing winner
Andrea Francolini

In multihull racing it was make or break for Wayne Bloomer’s Schionning G Force from Brisbane called Chillpill which had to beat Scott Gralow’s same design, Bulletproof, in the final race to take out the series. Bloomer and his crew, including sail maker Paul Mitchell from Airlie Beach and winner of the multihulls last year, Matt Johns, pulled off the win to finish the series with a one point break to Gralow.

In the larger multihull cruising division, William Dicker’s Seawind 1000 Miz Behavin - delivered to the owner just two weeks ago – had a welcome win at the boat’s inaugural Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.

AC45 Wild Oats flying
Andrea Francolini

The Oatley family’s AC45, Wild Oats, shadowed the fleet during the week and a daily prize of a demonstration sail for the winner raised money for the CYCA’s Safety of Life at Sea Trusts.

Race management team

Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson paid tribute to his race management team, 'The team worked efficiently and hard all week. It might look easy running races but starting big fleets in Dent Passage in wind and current is hard work. Day one also had its challenges - we had to set up four different finish lines around the islands to shorten courses.

'I was happy with the variety of courses offered, we popped in a couple we hadn’t used for years and finished yesterday with a navigator’s choice, which went down well. Some of the races ended up soldiers courses – unfortunately we can’t shift islands to make them all windward/leewards.

'I would like to thank my team for their fine effort over the six days of racing,' Thompson concluded.

Complete Results: Performance Racing
Series Results [EHC] up to Race 7 (Drops = 1)
PlaceTiesBoat NameSail NumSkipperSers ScoreRace 7Race 6Race 5Race 4Race 3Race 2Race 1
11.0SPETER LEHMANN BREAKT6834Ben McGrath20.[8.0]5.0T
2 SPIRIT OF THE MAIDMH888Bruce Absolon20.0[6.0]
32.0SSPIRIT OF MATESHIPNOR2Russell McCart23.02.0[11.0F]
4 LEEWARD6833John Quinn23.[7.0]5.0T
5 VENTO00400Walter Lewin25.[9.0]
6 PLANITAUS686Anthony Passmore30.[11.0F]3.05.0T
7 WHALE WATCHING SYDNE202Ian Ford33.[8.0]
8 THE MATRIXRQ101Jane Virtue34.0[9.0]
9 DEFIANT7045P Billingham P Mcgee36.[10.0]5.0T
10 HAMILTON MENTORL1Roen Quinn43.[11.0F]9.05.0T
 Melges 32Series Results [OD] up to Race 9 (Drops = 1)
PlaceTiesBoat NameSail NumSkipperSers ScoreRace 9Race 8Race 7Race 6Race 5Race 4Race 3Race 2Race 1
1 ENVY SCOOTERSAUS138Barry Cuneo11.0[5.0C]
2 PANTHERAUS070Stephen O'Rourke17.05.0F[5.0F]
3 GOODGEAR - MAC 2AUS153John McDougall23.[4.0]3.0
4 ROCK N' ROLLAUS320Kim Williams27.0[5.0C]
Multihull RacingSeries Results [EHC] up to Race 6 (Drops = 1)
PlaceTiesBoat NameSail NumSkipperSers ScoreRace 6Race 5Race 4Race 3Race 2Race 1
1 CHILLPILLG1550Wayne Bloomer7.[6.0]
2 BULLETPROOFMK61Scott Gralow8.[3.0]2.02.0
3 J'OUVERTWH3801Peter Berry14.[4.0]
4 WILPARINA 11GR297Robert Remilton20.0[8.0C]
5 OUI OUI!M23Stephen Barton22.[6.0]5.0
63.0SRICOCHET Frank Hobson33.08.0C8.0C[8.0F]
7 CARBON CREDITSA532Peter Hawker33.08.0C8.0C[8.0F]