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Sibling rivalry heats-up at 2022 Hamilton Island Race Week

by Windcraft Yachts 18 Aug 18:40 PDT
Hamilton Island Race Week © Hamilton Island Race Week

Windcraft Yachts is gearing-up for a long-awaited return to Australia's premier keelboat sailing event, Hamilton Island Race Week from 20-27 August.

Hamilton Island's tropical delights of warm sapphire water, steady trade wind breezes and relaxed dockside bonhomie stretching into balmy nights make Race Week a favourite on many sailors' calendars, and Windcraft owners and their crews are no exception.

A contingent of eleven yachts from Windcraft's well-known Hanse, Dehler and Solaris brands will be lining-up in the Hamilton Island Class that has attracted more than 100 entries.

One design racing is always closely contested but the competition between the six Dehler 46s all heading to Race Week will be especially keen. The Dehlers, well-known for their all-round sailing ability will duel in their own internal division, with daily prizes awarded and a trophy up for grabs at the end.

Though all the 46s are identical hulls from the famed Judel/Vrolijk design house there are differences in the rigs; carbon or aluminium, as well as the cockpit set-up and sails that are reflected in a special handicap system devised by Ian Edwards, owner and skipper of Wings, the winner on PHS, and second on IRC in the recent Brisbane to Hamilton Island Race.

"I've given the standard Dehlers six per cent (lower handicap) and the other carbon ones two per cent," he notes. "We are all looking forward to the match-ups and being able to race against one another after so long will be a real highlight of this 'Hamo' ", he adds.

While the Dehlers will be a thrilling sight out on the spectacular island courses set during Race Week, the new Solaris 50 Salt, will also attract a lot of attention and admiring glances from fellow sailors.

Salt's beautiful metallic grey hull has been a regular sight on Port Philip Bay as owner Ian Fankhanel and his crew have tuned and tweaked the systems on the fast, stylish Italian built performance cruiser ahead of their big regatta debut.

"We are still learning how to sail the boat to its full potential," he confesses. "Salt is fast in light airs, very responsive and light on the helm," he reveals. Asked what he's looking forward to at his first Hamilton Island Race Week he quickly replies: "warm weather, lots of laughs and good racing. We can't wait to get out there."

Four Hanse models; two Hanse 505's and a Hanse 458 from Sydney, along with Richard Fader's 540e One O Nine from Tasmania will also be out mixing it with the other cruising boats in what promises to be a highly enjoyable edition of Australia's biggest keelboat

The usually primo sailing conditions at Hamilton Island are matched by an array of onshore social functions and Windcraft will be hosting boat owners and their crews at welcome drinks at the Reef View Hotel on Saturday 21st August.

Windcraft Managing Director Anthony Bishop, who will be aboard Salt, is anticipating a memorable Race Week.

"We are looking forward to re-connecting in person with our Owners and fellow sailors and enjoying the camaraderie Hamilton Island Race Week is renown for," he says. "It's one my favourite places to sail. In the past we've been quite competitive, (referring to his 2017 Divisional win on Rocksalt his Dehler 38), and it's a great atmosphere, both on the water and dockside," he adds.

Racing commences for all classes on Sunday 21 August with a short around-the-islands race.

For more information visit www.teamwindcraft.com.

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