Hamo Race Week is a fam­ily af­fair

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT -

THE frigid wa­ters of Canberra’s Lake Bur­ley Grif­fin are be­com­ing a dis­tant mem­ory for Danielle Hutch­e­son as she pre­pares to en­joy the trop­i­cal warmth that will come at the 34th stag­ing of Audi Hamilton Is­land Race Week next month.

Danielle learned to sail on the lake as a 10-year-old but 19 years later her pri­or­ity is to en­joy the trop­i­cal win­ter warmth ex­pe­ri­enced at race week on an an­nual ba­sis.

Audi Hamilton Is­land Race Week is also part of an ad­ven­ture that brings the en­tire Hutch­e­son fam­ily to­gether.

While Danielle will be rac­ing the Syd­ney 32, Onyx, in the racer-cruiser di­vi­sion, her par­ents, Dave and He­len Hutch­e­son, will be com­pet­ing in the mul­ti­hull cruis­ing class with their Seawind 11.6 cata­ma­ran, Trop­i­cal Sun­set.

That crew will also in­clude two of Danielle’s un­cles.

“This is my third con­sec­u­tive Race Week,” Danielle said.

“And it won’t be my last. I’m amazed by how this re­gatta goes to the ex­treme and of­fers ev­ery­thing there is to be en­joyed about sail­ing.

“De­serted is­lands, warm trade winds, great cour­ses and an amaz­ingly vi­brant on­shore at­mos­phere. But for me, sailor that I am, the most ex­cit­ing thing about be­ing at Hamilton Is­land comes when you are among a mass of boats in a spin­naker start in Dent Pas­sage, just off the yacht club.”

Danielle’s par­ents moved the fam­ily to the Gold Coast 12 years ago, and soon af­ter she was sail­ing on a reg­u­lar ba­sis out of Southport Yacht Club.

She has been rac­ing Onyx off­shore since her fa­ther pur­chased it two years ago, but her en­thu­si­asm for off­shore rac­ing has gone be­yond that.

Last Easter, she com­peted in her first 308-nau­ti­cal mile Bris­bane to Glad­stone race and was sub­se­quently named the re­cip­i­ent of the Women in Yacht­ing award for her role in the crew of the yacht, Tur­bu­lence.

The num­ber of yachts en­tered for this year’s Audi Hamilton Is­land Race Week ex­ceeded the magic 200 fig­ure this week.

The re­gatta will be staged from Au­gust 19-26.

PHOTO: AN­DREA FRANCOLINI

SET SAIL: The Syd­ney 32, Onyx, com­petes at the 2016 Hamilton Is­land Race Week.

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