by Rob Mundle
You don’t need to be a championship winning sailor to take home one of two impressive trophies at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. You will only need to be creative, clever, and have a supportive crew to be a winner.
Lahana - Prix d’ Elegance. Photo supplied by Rob Mundle - Audi Hamilton Island Race Week
The Prix d’ Elegance is one of the many fun events at Race Week that make it so special for competitors, families and friends. This particular event is all about entertainment, and it is open to every competing yacht and crew, from the largest Grand Prix offshore racing yacht to the smallest cruising boat.
It is a competition where ingenuity and creative genius are the keys to success – just dress up the crew and the yacht and you are in the running.
This year the Prix d’ Elegance is scheduled for Friday, August 24, and it will be judged as the fleet parades past the flag deck of Hamilton Island Yacht Club while heading to the start line for the day’s racing. The trophies will be awarded at the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week Presentation Dinner the following evening.
As always, there will be two categories:
· The Best Presented Yacht and Crew (yacht in first-class trim, and matching crew uniforms)
· The Best Fun-Themed Yacht and Crew (where imaginations run wild)
In the past the Prix d’ Elegance has seen some spectacular efforts – some good, some bad and some plain ugly. Last year Anthony Bell’s 30-metre supermaxi, Investec Loyal, was the stand-out in the ‘Best Presented Yacht’ category.
The crew looked immaculate in matching uniforms, and while they lined the side of the yacht for the benefit of the judges, seven-time world surfing champion, Layne Beachley, balanced on the yacht’s bowsprit and rode it like a giant surfboard.
In the ‘Best Fun-Themed’ category, John Honan and Peter Millard’s maxi, the Hawaiian-influenced, Lahana, was highly impressive, but there was no matching Steve Smith’s charter cruising yacht, Bula, when it came to just plain ‘ugly’. The crew on deck shed their bathrobes on cue to reveal they were wearing matching fluorescent-lime, Borat-style ‘mankinis’. It wasn’t a pretty sight!
This ‘exhibition’ by the crew of Bula received the loudest round of cheers and applause from the large crowd that had gathered on the Bommie Deck of the Hamilton Island Yacht Club to watch the Prix d’ Elegance parade.
No doubt there will be some grand productions, and surprises, again this year.
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012, which will be staged from August 17 to 25, is open to a wide spectrum of sailboats – from sport boats to cruising yachts, cruiser-racers and Grand Prix level keelboats, plus high-performance multihulls. The fleet already totals 126, and with entries being received at a rate faster than last year it is likely 200 yachts will be competing.
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012 regatta website
The Notice of Race and Entry Form are also on the site.
Luxury carmaker, Audi, returns as the main partner of Hamilton Island Race Week in 2012. The German premium brand will host a range of special events on the island for yacht owners and guests to enjoy during the week.