A sudden rush of entries for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012, which will run from August 17 to 25, has seen the fleet of yachts go beyond 150. In just a few days it then surged past 160.
Somewhat appropriately, it was the Farr 57, Espresso Forte, owned by long-time Race Week supporter, Laurence Freedman, which became the 150th entry.
For the past decade Sydneysider Freedman, and his dedicated crew, have made Audi Hamilton Island Race Week an essential part of their annual sailing calendar, and they can see no time soon when that will change.
‘Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is just magic year after year,’ said an enthusiastic Freedman. ‘We love the challenge of the racing – you can’t get better – and the scenery you sail past is amazing. Add that experience to the friendships and atmosphere you enjoy each year and you have the best possible regatta.’
Espresso Forte, a custom design from US-based Farr Yacht Design, is described by Freedman as a ‘high performance station wagon’ – it is fast enough to achieve good results on the race course, while still being sufficiently comfortable for extended cruising. In fact, among the myriad of creature comforts the crew gets to enjoy when below deck is a cappuccino machine.
When it comes to performance, the swag of trophies Espresso Forte has collected over the years includes one for winning the Premier Cruising Division at Race Week in 2007, plus the second place trophy for the same division the previous year.
Freedman believes both his yacht and crew are capable of another big win this year, this time in the Performance Racing division, but only if one important outside influence comes into play: ‘We need the tradewinds to blow,’ says the owner. ‘Light weather is no good for us.’
Tradewind or no tradewind this year, Freedman knows one thing for sure: he will be back for next year’s 30th anniversary edition of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012 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.
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012 website. The Notice of Race and Entry Form are also on the site.
The charter group Sunsail, which is based on Hamilton Island, has two additional Cruising Division yachts available for the series.
Luxury carmaker, Audi, returns as the title sponsor 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.
by Rob Mundle
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1:04 AM Mon 6 Aug 2012GMT
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