A radical 25m catamaran has just been competed on Queensland's Gold Coast, and is destined to be one of the first entries for the new superyacht power classification at this year’s Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.
The sleek, futuristically styled vessel is being built for a legend of the hairdressing industry in Australia, and six-time Australian offshore powerboat racing champion, Stefan Ackerie. However, at Hamilton Island, instead of piloting his offshore racer at around 120 knots he will be guiding his new boat at a far more sedate 20 knots.
The Duncan Van Woerden-built vessel will also be appearing at Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, 19-22 May.
Van Woerden is famous for the pioneering maxi-yacht Windward Passage II. While Ackerie's boat will be far from a racing yacht, it is highly fuel efficient, with its twin engines only 450hp.
Built of carbon fibre and Kevlar composite materials with an end-grain balsa core, the as yet unnamed craft will weigh only 23 tonnes when launched. This light displacement, combined with the slender and easily driven hulls, means that the twin 450hp diesel engines will deliver a maximum speed of 23 knots and a cruising speed of 17 knots. The original design by Bob Oram was 22 metres (72ft) overall, however the vessel’s builder, Duncan Van Woerden, lengthened the hulls and has made impressive changes to the styling from bow to stern, inside and out.
This is the first year that power superyachts have been part of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week – Australia’s largest offshore keelboat yacht regatta – and Ackerie is determined to share in the amazing atmosphere that will exist around the superyacht competition and the regatta in general. The series will be staged from 19-27 August.
More than 200 sailboats, ranging from sports boats and casual cruising yachts through to Grand Prix level racers, are expected to take part. A sailing superyacht division was successfully introduced last year and will also be included this year.
Ackerie’s gleaming new silver and white vessel, which is certain to be a ‘head turner’, will be launched within two months. Once extensive sea trials are completed off the Gold Coast it will head north to the Whitsundays and Hamilton Island.
‘I think it is fantastic that a power superyacht division has been established for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week,’ Ackerie said. ‘We definitely want to be part of the on-water scene and social activities that make this regatta so famous.’