Fleet of 200 for Hamo

Whitsunday Times - - ON THE WATER -

A RUSH of late en­tries for Audi Hamil­ton Is­land Race Week, which starts this Satur­day, has seen the fleet num­ber surge be­yond the mag­i­cal fig­ure of 200.

Early this week there were 202 en­tries, mak­ing this year’s fleet the sec­ond largest Race Week in its 32-year history.

Growth is the re­sult of an ex­po­nen­tial rise in the num­ber of mul­ti­hull en­tries since the di­vi­sion was added back into the sched­ule of rac­ing in 2013.

Then a fledg­ling fleet of five turned out.

This year 31 mul­tis – both rac­ing and cruis­ing – from as far away as Western Aus­tralia and South Aus­tralia have bol­stered the fleet.

The Hamil­ton Is­land IRC Aus­tralian Cham­pi­onship has proven a huge draw­card for IRC own­ers, and the in­tro­duc­tion of a di­vi­sion for trail­ables has also at­tracted in­ter­est from that sec­tion of the sail­ing com­mu­nity.

The 200th en­try was Vic­tor- ian yachts­man, David Perkins, who en­tered his Jeanneau 54, Vanilla, in the cruis­ing di­vi­sion.

The good news for Perkins and his crew is that by be­ing the 200th en­try they are al­ready Race Week win­ners.

Re­gatta or­gan­is­ers will present them with a mag­num of Piper-Hei­d­se­ick cham­pagne to celebrate the mile­stone.

Hamil­ton Is­land’s CEO, Olympic and world cham­pion sailor Glenn Bourke, said Race Week or­gan­is­ers were jus­ti­fi­ably proud of the fact that 202 yachts had en­tered this year.

“This great fleet con­firms that Audi Hamil­ton Is­land Race Week con­tin­ues to stand as Aus­tralia’s premier off­shore re­gatta, and (is) un­doubt­edly one of the best sail­ing events in the world,” Bourke said.

“From our side, we are well aware of the ef­fort all par­tic­i­pants, their fam­i­lies and friends, put in, just to be with us each year. It’s this com­mit­ment on their part that causes us to work even harder so ev­ery Audi Hamil­ton Is­land Race Week is big­ger, bet­ter and more fun.”

For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.hamil­ton­is­landrace­week.com.au.

STRONG FLEET: Over 200 yachts have now en­tered the 2015 Audi Hamil­ton Is­land Race Week. Photo Ciaran Handy

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