Please select your home edition
Edition
upffront 728x90

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Make way for Ezra Pritchard

by Stephanie Hobbs on 19 Aug 2012
Ezra Pritchard at the wheel of Southport Mentor on the opening day © Andrea Francolini Photography http://www.afrancolini.com/
Those steering yachts at 2012 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week have been asked to keep their eyes peeled on the racetrack, not for whales or other boats, but for a youngster punching well above his weight. At Friday night’s skippers and VIP welcome party held at Hamilton Island Yacht Club, the MC asked other skippers to give 11 year-old Ezra Pritchard, who is driving a 32 foot boat at Race Week, room on the race course.

Ezra can only just see above the steering wheel, a minor setback for this minor with a bucket load of enthusiasm, and support.

As part of the junior training program run out of Southport Yacht Club on the Queensland Gold Coast, the primary student has joined a crew of five and taken his position at the helm of Southport Mentor for his first Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.

He is one of the two father and son duos on board the Sydney 32, the other being Christopher and Matt Percy. Christopher was the youngest skipper to tackle last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart.

Ezra cut his sailing teeth at the age of eight, learning the trade largely on Sabots dinghies. Southport Mentor is a big step up for Ezra and having only sailed solo on tiny boats, the St Francis Xavier Catholic student admits he is a little anxious.

‘It’s about having fun. I’m a little nervous and it’s a bit scary, but I’m mostly excited,’ he said on the dock at Hamilton Island before heading to the start line yesterday.

Before the gun had sounded Ezra had already rubbed shoulders with sailing royalty. He was introduced to a larger version of himself, fellow redhead and Olympic gold medal sailor Tom Slingsby, on the dock. Slingsby happily signed Ezra’s shirt and wished him well for the regatta, leaving the young fellow star struck.

Kelvin Holdt is Southport Yacht Club’s sailing administrator and the regular skipper of Southport Mentor. Each year the yacht club enrolls a number of 14 to 18 year olds who want to learn to sail, this year it was mostly younger children who wanted to get involved.

The youngest helmsman at Race Week says the best part so far is ‘being on a big boat’. That was said before he was introduced to his Olympic hero and joined the rest of the fleet for yesterday’s opening 10 nautical mile race in light conditions. Hamilton Island Race Week website

Festival of Sails 2017 660x82Zhik NZ - YNZSailutions - Rutgerson

Related Articles

Audi extends IRC Australian Championship sponsorship
Yachting Australia is pleased to announce that Audi, will continue its support of the IRC Australian Championship Yachting Australia is pleased to announce that luxury carmaker, Audi, will continue its support of the IRC Australian Championship
Posted on 26 Aug 2012
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Performance Racing winners
Sydney yachtsman Matt Allen has been coming to Audi Hamilton Island Race Week on and off since 1984. Mat Allen's efforts have paid off with his latest Ichi Ban, a Farr 400, winning Performance Racing Division 1 at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.
Posted on 26 Aug 2012
Audi IRC Australian Championship - New leader
The Audi IRC Australian Championship Class A has a new leader. The Audi IRC Australian Championship Class A has a new leader. Geoff Ross’ chartered TP52, Yendys, is three points behind Black Jack after today’s two windward/leeward races.
Posted on 24 Aug 2012
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Team Australia stranded
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. T-shirts, shorts and wide smiles were the order of today. On the penultimate day of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week this morning’s gloomy forecast gave way to a glorious day of Whitsunday racing at its best as wet weather gear was packed away.
Posted on 24 Aug 2012
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - South Pacific Trophy contest
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week Day 6 - There is an ever-present rivalry simmering away Audi Hamilton Island Race Week day six and there is an ever-present rivalry simmering away. The contest is on for the South Pacific Trophy, and three boat teams from New Zealand and Australia are going head-to-head.
Posted on 23 Aug 2012
Audi Hamilton Island Race week day 6 images by Andrea Francolini
Andrea Francolini not only captured the day's action but managed (as always it seems) to spot the whales! a foggy start to day 6 of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. Once out on the race course Andrea Francolini not only captured the day's action but managed (as always it seems) to spot the whales!
Posted on 23 Aug 2012
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Long day at the office for some
Yesterday’s 63 nautical mile Club Marine Classic Long Race pitted divisions against the clock Yesterday’s 63 nautical mile Club Marine Classic Long Race pitted the super multihull, IRC and Performance Racing divisions against the clock.
Posted on 22 Aug 2012
Hamilton Island Race Week - Perfect pressure for Lindeman Island Race
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week Club Marine Classic Long Race and the Lindeman Island Race were held today Audi Hamilton Island Race Week Club Marine Classic Long Race and the Lindeman Island Race were held today, August 21st 2012. It was a bright and early start this morning, with the aim to bring most of the fleet ashore in time for this afternoon’s Olympic sailing team welcome home and tickertape parade.
Posted on 21 Aug 2012
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012 - Francolini images
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012 - Andrea Francolini was in the air and on the water at Hamilton Island again today. Top international photographer Andrea Francolini was in the air and on the water at Hamilton Island again today. Here's his view of the day.
Posted on 21 Aug 2012
Hamilton Island Race Week - Mixed bag on Day 3
Hamilton Island Race Week day 3 delivered a mixed bag, this morning’s showery and gusty 20kt breeze easing over the day Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012 third day delivered a mixed bag, this morning’s showery and gusty 20 knot breeze easing over the day as forecast, however there was enough in the tank to bring all divisions home in reasonable time. An overall win in today’s 30 mile race means the leading Audi IRC Australian Championship Class A boat is Geoff Ross’ chartered TP52 Yendys
Posted on 20 Aug 2012