Battle lines drawn - Melges 32 Fleet at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week
by Tracey Walters on 8 Aug 2011
Melges 32 travelling through the cotton fields - Melges 32 Australasian Cup Series Tracey Walters
Complementing its sporty attitude the Melges 32 possesses one of the most diverse International regatta schedules that includes many prestigious venues; now on the list is Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays, North Queensland.
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2011 will host exciting, spectacular one design Melges 32 racing in the first Melges 32 Australasian Cup Series event. Six of the eleven Melges 32’s in Australia are now heading to Hamilton Island.
Events in the 2011 – 2012 Melges 32 Regatta Schedule have been included in the Australasian Cup Series with five out of seven results to count. Hamilton Island Race Week is the first in this series.
The Whitsundays provides ideal conditions and Hamilton Island hosts a fantastic regatta, a perfect fit for Melges 32 one design racing. The racing will consist of a combination of windward / leeward courses plus the island passage races Hamilton Island is renowned for.
Strict one design class rules govern the Melges 32 amateur owner/driver requirements, professional crew limitations and crew weight maximum (629kg) provides highly competitive racing. In accordance with class rules bow stickers have been issued to help identify boats for the race committee.
Following in the footsteps of the Melges 24 class the Australian Melges 32 fleet has grown rapidly. Melges Asia Pacific has recently bolstered the numbers by importing used US boats. The class is supported by an organized and well-established International Class Association.
Melges Asia Pacific’s step on, step off delivery service have been busy preparing for the regatta transporting boats 2000 kilometres up the New England Highway through inland Queensland to the Airlie Beach barge for Hamilton Island. Easily launched via hoist or ramp and when equipped with a gin pole the Melges 32 can be rigged without the assistance of a crane to step the mast.
Australian Fleet President Kim Williams is anticipating some awesome rides and incredibly close racing at Hamilton Island. This will be a first class event promising the best in Melges 32 competition, racing conditions and camaraderie.
For several of the teams this will be their first experience of Grand Prix Melges 32 racing, the fleet welcomes all new owners and their crews. Some of the crews have Melges 24’s sailors recently returned from the Worlds on board. It is great to see the Asia Pacific fleet gaining strength and momentum in the international circuit.
The class is thrilled to be kicking off their 2011 sailing season at Hamilton Island Race Week.
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