Entries for Australia’s largest offshore sailing series, Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, from August 20 to 27, are approaching 120. The 30m supermaxi Wild Oats XI, arguably the world’s most successful ocean racing yacht, has been confirmed as a starter. Wild Oats XI is being campaigned by the Oatley family – Sandy, Ian and Ros – as a tribute to their father, sailing legend and Hamilton Island owner Bob Oatley AO, who passed away in January.
There’s still a while to go before entries close (August 7) and already the big-boat division of the 2016 Australian Yachting Championship is shaping up as a mighty effort by the local crews to challenge Karl Kwok’s TP52 Team Beau Geste, as it attempts to pocket a third consecutive title and back-to-back Hamilton Island series wins.
Kwok has long supported the Oatley family’s favourite sailing series and, this year in particular, he wants his Audi Hamilton Island Race Week entry, which automatically qualifies Team Beau Geste for the Australian Yachting Championship, to convey his respects to the late Bob Oatley.
“Our team has always enjoyed Hamilton Island and we could not thank Bob enough for his contribution to the sport,” Kwok said. “A big reason for going back to Hamilton is a thank you to Bob and a chance for us to pay our respects.”
Exciting tradewind racing, exceptional dockside camaraderie among competitors, and an unprecedented party agenda across the entire week, combine to make Audi Hamilton Island Race Week unlike any other local or international regatta.
The regatta caters for a wide range of sailboats – from sportboats and trailerables through to Grand Prix-level keelboats, maxi yachts, cruising yachts of all sizes and configuration, and multihulls.
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