by Rob Mundle
Multihulls are to become a permanent feature at Australia’s premier big-boat regatta, Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, starting with the 30th staging of the award-winning event next month.
Team Vodafone at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2011
The series will be sailed from August 17 to 24. Hamilton Island’s CEO, Olympic and world champion sailor, Glenn Bourke, said the decision to open the regatta to multihulls had come as a consequence of the completion recently of a new 40-berth marina arm in the island’s harbour, a structure that is ideal for accommodating catamarans and trimarans.
‘Having multihulls as part of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week has been on our agenda for some time,’ Bourke said. ‘However, it has not been until now, with the new marina arm completed, that we’ve had the opportunity to offer the right facilities for them within Hamilton Island’s harbour.
‘In recent years we have had the ORMA 60s, Team Australia and Team Vodafone, racing within the fleet, and they have really impressed everyone. Now, in what we see as another significant milestone for the regatta, we are in a position to have all eligible multihulls become part of the fleet.’
Glen Bourke said that the island’s owners, the Oatley family, were very enthusiastic about multihulls participating at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. The family’s patriarch, octogenarian, Bob Oatley, is the owner of the 30-metre supermaxi, Wild Oats XI, which is the Rolex Sydney-Hobart race record holder.
Equally supportive is Audi Hamilton Island Race Week’s Race Director, Denis Thompson. He has worked hard to make sure the multihulls will enjoy exciting and spectacular racing around the beautiful islands that surround Hamilton Island.
‘Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is unique on the Australian sailing scene,’ Thompson said, ‘and we are looking forward to having multihulls become a permanent part of the event. I’m hoping that many of the multihull owners who will be racing at Airlie Beach the week before the start of racing at Hamilton Island, will make the effort to be with us. It promises to be a wonderful experience for them.’
More than 130 yachts are now entered for this year’s milestone regatta. As well as being the 30th staging of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, it also represents 10 years of ownership of Hamilton Island by the Oatley family.
Luxury carmaker, Audi, returns as the title sponsor of Hamilton Island Race Week in 2013. The German premium brand will host a range of special events on the island for yacht owners and guests to enjoy during the week.
More at www.hamiltonislandraceweek.com.au