by Rob Mundle
Audi Hamilton Island Race 2011 welcomes back Holy Cow
Holy Cow – that’s some headsail! John and Kim Clinton’s Oceanis 50, Holy Cow, on Sydney Harbour. - Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2011
For 11 years John Clinton has been better recognised for his presence at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week rather than his results on the race course – and it probably will be no different when the 28th edition of the famous regatta is staged in August.
On the water John, and his wife Kim, are highly conspicuous while racing their Oceanis 50 cruising yacht, Holy Cow, because it carries a large headsail that looks like it has been made from the black and white hide of a Friesian cow. The yacht also comes with sound accompaniments - a cow bell and a recording of a cow mooing.
On land, 63-year-old John is also a stand-out, primarily because of his metre-long and perfectly groomed silver beard. At the same time, anyone who is into country rock music will recognise him as the leader, drummer and vocalist of Australia’s legendary southern-style group, The Wolverines.
This year John and Kim will be returning to Audi Hamilton Island Race Week for the eleventh time while Holy Cow will be making her third consecutive appearance since they bought her in 2009. And once again, included in their crew will be their well-travelled and highly publicised ‘sea dog’ Shoni: she’s sailed every mile aboard the yacht with the owners.
Dog and Dolphin: Holy Cow’s resident ‘sea dog’, Shoni, out to make friends while cruising off the coast of Queensland. - Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2011
This week Holy Cow was the 98th registration for Race Week, which will be staged from 19 – 27 August. With the 100th entry certain to be lodged before the end of the week, there is little doubt that the final fleet will again number around 200.
For John and Kim, being at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is all about fun while both racing and being on shore. They will be competing in what they see as the ‘family and friends’ classification, the Cruising Division - the most popular class of the regatta. They will also be hoping they can again beat all-comers when they ‘dress ship and crew’ for the ‘Best Themed’ category of this year’s Prix d’ Elegance.
‘Going to Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is like going to a huge yacht club that meets only once a year,’ said John. ‘It’s a reunion – a fantastic atmosphere that is driven by exceptional camaraderie and really interesting people. Each year you catch up with old friends and make lots of new ones. Also, what keeps bringing us back is the vibe at the regatta: it just keeps getting better every time. It’s a full-time party atmosphere.
‘Over the years Kim and I have realised that the one thing everyone must learn at Race Week is how to cope with the scene while racing and partying. We’re not quite there yet – we’re still learning, and that’s another reason for us coming back.’
The crew of Holy Cow milking it for everything at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2011
Each year Race Week is the pinnacle of an annual cruise for the Clintons which takes them from their home port in Sydney to Hamilton Island and return. Quite often John’s two other members of the band will meet him in a port along the way and The Wolverines will put on a ‘gig’, usually to raise money for children’s charities. John says that for the rest of the time the trip is all about grazing on great food and stopping off at deserted islands – the ‘perfect escape from the turmoil of the entertainment world’. This is in keeping with his solid theory on life: ‘Grow old disgracefully and put a smile on everyone’s face’.
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2011!website
Hamilton Island Race Week’s naming rights sponsor, luxury car maker Audi, is Australia’s largest corporate sponsor of yachting.