Please select your home edition
Edition
Henri Lloyd 50 Years

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Warm weather and whales

by Rob Mundle on 17 Aug 2012
Close company on an island course at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012 © Andrea Francolini / Audi http://www.afrancolini.com
The annual mass migration to Audi Hamilton Island Race Week by sailors, their families and friends was in full swing today. As they flew in to the island in their hundreds by plane, or stepped ashore from their boats, all were treated to the scene they had come for – clear skies, a warm tropical breeze and an island that has never been better presented for the event.

As if on cue, some of the large number of whales and their calves that are in the region at this time of the year were turning on an entertaining display of leaps and dives just off the island’s shoreline.

Most importantly, everything is in readiness for the series, starting with tonight’s big waterfront welcome party, followed by the commencement of racing tomorrow.

On the marina arm within the island’s harbour where the cruising yachts gather, the sailors were renewing old friendships and meeting new mates, while not far away the crews of the Grand Prix level racers were fine tuning their yachts, or preparing for their final day of intense practice.

Two sailors in particular were the centre of attention – one a relative newcomer to the high-profile scene, and the other and old pro. Tom Slingsby, who led Australia’s gold medal charge in London last week with a win in the Laser class, was the new hero. Nearby none other than John Bertrand, who skippered Australia II to the ultimate prize in the 1983 America’s Cup match, was also being well recognised. Slingsby will be tactician aboard Peter Harburg’s 66-footer, Black Jack, for the week while Bertrand will lead a team of mates, who are sailing novices, aboard the 60-footer, Spirit of the Maid. That team includes Australian Rules football legend, Ron Barassi and Australian Government minister, Simon Crean.

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is Australia’s premier keelboat regatta, and this year the 163 competing crews are destined to have their best time ever. Most importantly, the fleet represents a true cross section of the sport – from small SB20 sport boats through to a myriad of cruising yachts, two blisteringly fast ORMA 60 trimarans, and the best Grand Prix level racing yachts imaginable, including the Rolex Sydney Hobart race record holding supermaxi, Wild Oats XI.

While this ‘regatta for everyone’ continues to grow in status, so too does Hamilton Island. The Oatley family, who own the island, are avid sailing enthusiasts and supporters of the sport (they were among a group of corporate people who supported Australia’s 2012 Olympic sailing team), and this year they have made sure that the island – from the facilities to the beaches and lush tropical gardens – have never been better. It all makes for a great launching pad for next year’s 30th anniversary edition of the regatta.

If there is a potential problem on the horizon it is that the weather for the first two days, at least, might be too good – perfect for holidaymakers but not ideal for sailboat racing. Audi Hamilton Island Race Week’s Race Director, Denis Thompson, is contemplating a forecast for a very light breeze of around five knots for the first race, a 23-nautical mile loop from Hamilton Island around Lindeman Island then return.

'We will wait to see what the day brings,' Thompson said, 'If the winds are very light it is quite likely that the strong tidal flows around Lindeman Island will make it impossible for the smaller and slower yachts to complete the course. If that is the case then I will probably set a shorter, but equally interesting island course for those yachts and send only the Grand Prix division yachts on the full course.'

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.

Related Articles

Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted today at 5:56 am
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
Pantaenius – Smooth sailing is more than a favourable weather forecast
Pantaenius get ready to launch into their fourth year operating in Australia As Pantaenius get ready to launch into their fourth year operating in Australia, we get to see why they continue to grow their happy crew of customers. Sitting down with Pantaenius Australia’s MD, Jamie MacPhail, you immediately get a sense that the smooth sailing is a direct result of both their unique product and the marketplace’s willingness to embrace the better mousetrap
Posted on 27 Apr
100 days to Rio, are there potholes and bumps ahead?
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for most crews.
Posted on 26 Apr
Is George Lucas a sailor?
He’s very famous for a lot of things, and justifiably so. One of them is Industrial Light and Magic He’s very famous for a lot of things, and justifiably so. One of them is Industrial Light and Magic, which has been instrumental in the making of many of the special effects that have made the digital world so impressive. Gone are the smears of Vaseline along the bottom edge of the clear filter to hide the trolley that was actually transporting Luke Skywalker’s Speeder, for instance.
Posted on 25 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Thou doth protest too much, me thinks
And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen about now. At any rate, it is simply an adaptation of Lady Gertrude’s original line. We merely seek to use it as a way to demonstrate that when there is a lot of brouhaha going on, the smoke screen ultimately ends up as a lovely, colourful flag as to the real intent behind it.
Posted on 18 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Can World Sailing learn from dear old Oz?
Why just lay the drop sheets out and tape up the edges of the windows for a splash of paint Some time ago now, Sail-World proposed that ISAF had a really good opportunity at hand when it morphed into World Sailing (WS). Why just lay the drop sheets out and tape up the edges of the windows for a splash of paint, when you could bring out the jackhammers and do a proper reno??? A call was issued for 200,000 sets of goggles and earmuffs to be supplied and for the real work to be commenced.
Posted on 11 Apr
T Clewring AC72Kilwell - 1Safety at Sea - Baltic - 3