Bil­lion­aire com­ing to Hamo for race week

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

ONE of the world’s rich­est men, Ernesto Bertarelli, is head­ing to Hamil­ton Is­land for the 30th an­niver­sary race week from Au­gust 17-24.

The 47-year-old Swiss bil­lion­aire and two-time win­ner of the Amer­ica’s Cup, has char­tered Wild Oats X – the 66ft rac­ing yacht be­long­ing to Hamil­ton Is­land’s owner Bob Oatley – as his en­try for the re­gatta.

Bertarelli will have some of his Amer­ica’s Cup team, in­clud­ing Kiwi tac­ti­cian, Brad But­ter­worth, sail­ing with him dur­ing the event.

He will also have his im­pres­sive 96-me­tre su­pery­acht, Vava II, at Audi Hamil­ton Is­land Race Week (AHIRW). The sixdeck mo­tor yacht is on a world cruise to raise funds for YachtAid Global, an or­gan­i­sa­tion sup­port­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian and en­vi­ron­men­tal causes.

In 2003 Bertarelli, then aged 37, be­came the first chal­lenger to win the Amer­ica’s Cup with a first-time cam­paign. He was also the first per­son to take the cup – the old­est tro­phy in the his­tory of sport – to Europe. He then suc­cess­fully de­fended the prize against the New Zealand chal­lenger in 2007, but lost to Amer­ica’s Larry El­li­son in a con­tro­ver­sial mul­ti­hull chal­lenge in 2010.

For­mer Wild Oats X skip­per Mark Richards said it would be ex­cit­ing to see Bertarelli rac­ing at AHIRW.

“Hav­ing Ernesto, Brad and the team com­pet­ing cer­tainly says a lot about race week’s sta­tus in the world of yacht­ing,” he said.

Richards, will be steer­ing Oatley’s 30-me­tre Syd­ney-Ho­bart race record holder, Wild Oats XI, at this year’s event.

The two Wild Oats yachts join an im­pres­sive cross-sec­tion of en­tries for the 30th an­niver­sary event. Or­gan­is­ers are plan­ning spe­cial cel­e­bra­tions this year to en­sure the se­ries con­tin­ues to be recog­nised as a world­class re­gatta, in­cor­po­rat­ing fun on­shore and great rac­ing around the Whit­sun­days.

SU­PERY­ACHT: Ernesto Bertarelli will be bring­ing his im­pres­sive 96-me­tre su­pery­acht, Vava II, to Audi Hamil­ton Is­land Race Week next month. Photo by Trevor Bur­rows.

SWISS BIL­LION­AIRE: Ernesto Bertarelli will be on Hamil­ton Is­land for race week.

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