Whit­sun­day sailors in the fast lane on Hamil­ton Is­land

Whitsunday Times - - ON THE WATER -

TWO Whit­sun­day sailors are aboard what is shap­ing up to be the fastest boat com­pet­ing at Audi Hamil­ton Is­land Race Week (AHIRW).

Mike Keyte and Paul Mitchell have joined Sun­shine Coast skip­per Matt Johns aboard the 8.5m mul­ti­hull ap­pro­pri­ately named Box Of­fice.

Box Of­fice is one of just five boats to have en­tered in this year’s newly added mul­ti­hull di­vi­sion.

With its Whit­sun­day-based Wings Div­ing Ad­ven­tures brand­ing, the car­bon fi­bre rac­ing cata­ma­ran has been mak­ing an im­pres­sion on the AHIRW course.

Dur­ing Sun­day’s in­au­gu­ral race of the re­gatta, the sailors hit speeds of 18 knots – be­lieved to be faster than those achieved by Bob Oatley’s su­per maxi Wild Oats XI on the same course.

Mike Keyte, who has spon­sored the boat, says this is just what the sport of sail­ing needs to en­sure it at­tracts young peo­ple and con­tin­ues for gen­er­a­tions to come.

“From the out­side it [the boat] looks pretty tech­ni­cal but it’s ac­tu­ally pretty easy to sail,” he said.

Skip­per Matt Johns said com­pet­ing at AHIRW had pro­vided a great op­por­tu­nity to show­case the boat, which was only launched in Fe­bru­ary and is the first of just three of its kind built to date. “And it’s great that they’ve opened it [the re­gatta] up to mul­ti­hulls,” he said.

LO­CAL HOPES: Mike Keyte and Paul Mitchell have joined Sun­shine Coast skip­per Matt Johns aboard 8.5m boat Box Of­fice, one of the fastest boats at Hamil­ton Is­land Race week.

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