Entries hit 200
Milestone marked for Hamo Race Week
THE Western Australian TP52 class racing yacht, M3, which experienced adversity of its own, running aground in early 2016 and narrowly escaping the scrapyard, is not only the 200th entry for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week but a welcome message to the hardworking team that their efforts are appreciated by all competitors and guests.
M3 was caught in a huge storm during a delivery trip from Coffs Harbour to Sydney and was washed ashore onto a beach south of Seal Rocks.
The remote location meant there was no commercially viable way of salvaging the yacht – until NSW National Parks officials stepped in.
The location was part of a national park so the yacht could not be cut up and taken to the closest dump.
Instead, it had to be removed so there was no trace of it left behind.
An amazing salvage effort ensued: a trench was dug in the sand so the yacht could be stood upright, then both the keel and mast were removed.
The keel was then put on a truck and sent south while the mast was strapped to the yacht’s deck. Soon after, when calm weather prevailed, a long line was attached to the bare hull so it could be dragged across the sand and towed offshore by a large work boat positioned beyond the surf line.
Eventually, all the pieces came together at a boatyard and M3 lived to sail again – now at the 2017 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week for the first time.
The lodging of the 200th entry confirms the popularity the regatta holds with sailors nationally and internationally. It is now anticipated that the final fleet for the series will be between 225 and 230.
“I’m really impressed by the support for the regatta,” Regatta director Denis Thompson said. “It appears that the final fleet will be only 20 or so less than last year’s amazing record of 252 entries.”
The fleet size also reflects the confidence sailors have in the regatta, particularly in the wake of Cyclone Debbie which devastated much of Hamilton Island in March.
Hamilton Island’s CEO, Olympic and world champion sailor, Glenn Bourke, said the support for Race Week would be seen as a huge “thank you” to the island’s 1200 staff.
“It goes without saying that our wonderful staff have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make sure everything possible is in readiness for Race Week. I’m sure the sailors and Race Week visitors will appreciate their efforts as much as the island’s owners, the Oatley family, and I do.”
AGAINST ALL ODDS: The TP52 racing yacht, M3, is the 200th entry to Hamilton Island Race Week.