Often called the party arm at Audi Hamilton Race Week, the cruising crews have more reasons to celebrate this year.
Organisers have listened and new initiatives are now in place designed to foster camaraderie and bridge the gap between the cruising divisions and the rest of the 163 strong fleet of boats assembled for the prestigious keelboat regatta.
All crews on G and F-arm, affectionately known as ‘the farm’, are being treated to a good old fashioned sausage sizzle each afternoon, free filtered coffee and the general manager of Hotels and Resorts at Hamilton Island, Ciaran Handy, has given them another reason to smile.
Handy and other Island managers are personally delivering bags of ice the cruising fleet every afternoon, he says ‘to make them feel like they an important part of the event, which they are. The cruising divisions make up nearly 40 percent of entries, without them the event wouldn’t be what it is, or nearly as spectacular.'
The cruising boats are berthed together on the opposite side of the harbour to the village and Hamilton Island Yacht Club and these new measures have created a greater sense of inclusion and community on the cruising jetties.
‘Everybody should feel a part of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, arguably more so for the G and F arm boats due to the distance,’ added Handy.
John Hickling, skipper of the grand pearl lugger Ruby Charlotte, and his merry crew have been pleasantly surprised by the enhancements, and have some suggestions to take to management for next year including ‘kegs, pies and bottled water.'
In the meantime he praised the Island for the initiatives. ‘All the things they’ve put in place are great, we love it.'
The sentiment is the same around the two cruising jetties with first time Race Week goers, the crew of Peter Kerr’s Pagan not expecting the special treatment that has been served up.
‘We love the sausage sizzle and the ice,’ said the Queensland Cruising Yacht Club skipper and in true sailor fashion, has requested Bundy Rum on the dock next year.
All information relating to Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012 is on the regatta website
by Stephanie Hobbs
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1:06 AM Wed 22 Aug 2012GMT
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2012 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week
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