The 36th edition of Hamilton Island Race Week concluded on Saturday with a mixture of courses around Lindeman Island, the traditional landmark of the closing passage race which sorted the finish order in multiple divisions of the Hamilton Island and the Australian Yachting Championship pointscores.
The strong south-east trade winds trumped the showers and there were smiles all around as more than 200 crews packed up wet boats before glamming-up for the traditional prizegiving function at the Hamilton Island Convention Centre.
Hamilton Island Divisions
For two Hamilton Island division winners, glory at Hamilton Island Race Week was their first podium finish at a major regatta.
Mark Drobitko’s Beneteau First 40 Fruit Salid 3, from Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, pipped sistership Flying Cloud (George Martin) and Wayne Millar’s Zoe in Hamilton Island Pink division.
“We got a bit lucky; the biggest thing for us was putting up our big white kite at Lindeman Island,” said Drobitko. It was blowing 25 knots and we managed to carry it the rest of the way. Sometimes you throw the dice and it comes off.
“This is a significant regatta and we are tickled to get first. I couldn’t have done it without my crew,” added the Queensland yachtsman.
Jon Linton’s Dehler 46 Llama II from Middle Harbour Yacht Club in Sydney took out Hamilton Island Yellow division by two points from James O’Hare’s Stratacare Flyaway Paul.
The winning owner-skipper said “there’s a sense of euphoria among the Llama II crew. It was a fantastic week of sailing, and we are thrilled. The crew did an amazing job – they executed and achieved everything we wanted.
“This is our first win of any significance. Everyone knew their role and there weren’t too many chiefs. When you get the parts right the overall result is pretty exciting,” Linton added.
The trailables are the gladiators of Hamilton Island Race Week, the smallest yachts battling the elements as well as each other. Three different pointscore leaders shone over the second half of the series and in the end, Michael Goss’ Snook 7.8 Halcyon pushed Stu Green’s local RL24 Rhumb Runna into second and Tom Vujasinovic’s Masrm 750 Masquerade into third overall.
The two F32srcx from South Australia, Crosshair and Peter Hawker’s Carbon Credit, staged a week-long tussle for Multihull White division honours, the pair one point apart going into the final race. Carbon Credit’s second in race 6 to Crosshair’s third was enough to give Hawker and his crew the series win, by two points.
“We’ve had a great battle all week with Crosshair, our sistership, and against the fleet,” Hawker said. “We have a strong rivalry but great friendliness. If we didn’t win, we’d like Crosshair to. Everything was on the line in the final race.
“We were happy with the weather though it was a little wild on the final day. I’ve got no idea what wind we had. I lost my wind instruments at Airlie Beach Race Week. Luckily the guy at the chandlery had some VHS plastic tape that I used as my wind indicator this week, tied to the side stays. When the tape hangs down there’s no wind and when it flaps, there’s wind!”
Multihull Black division went to Pali Pali, Jason Lea’s Lightwave 38 from Newcastle.
Australian Yachting Championship
In the Australian Yachting Championship, which combined Rating Divisions 0 to 4 and the Multihull Racing Division, the final race also determined numerous overall victors.
In IRC Division 0, Duncan Hine’s RP66 Alive took top honours over David Griffith’s JV62 Whisper, the final race splitting the two big guns who started the day on equal points.
Max Klink’s Botin 52 Caro, sailing for the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Royal Ocean Racing Club, took out the Division 1 championship by two points. David Doherty’s TP52 Matador finished second overall and defending champion, Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban, was third.
Bill Barry-Cotter’s Schumacher 54 Maritimo won the final IRC Division 2 race from Bruce McCracken’s Beneteau First 45 Ikon by four minutes, but Ikon had already banked enough points to win the championship, beating Maritimo by three points. Gerry Hatton’s Mat 1245 Bushranger was third.
Ray Roberts’ Botin 40 Team Hollywood was awarded the Division 3 championship and the Gun Boat trophy after winning all seven races in IRC Division 3. The fight for second and third was fierce but it was the furthest travelled Australian team, The Cadillac, a Barrett 9.5 owned by Peter Chappell, which finished runner-up. Jeremy O’Connell’s Cape 31, PP1, boasting a gun crew including Malcolm Page, Joey Newton and John Flannery, placed third.
Get It On, Garry Holt’s Adams 10, and Ari Abrahams’ X Yacht Xpresso were two points apart going into the final IRC Division 4 race. Holt won the day when he won the final race from Xpresso.
In Multihull Racing, Michael Van Der Zwaard’s Extreme 40 Angus tussled with Dale Mitchell’s giant Orma 60 Rex to come out on top, the two multis staging extreme displays of speed and spray in the sporty conditions across the week.
While the Division 0 championship played out among the 60-footers, the patriarchs took the helm of both supermaxis – Hamilton Island Wild Oats XI helmed by Sandy Oatley and Andoo Comanche helmed by John Winning Sr.
Full results for all divisions, including the Australian Yachting Championship, available here.
Final words from Regatta Director Denis Thompson
“Huey has been kind to us this regatta, decent trade winds that blew a little fresh at times but made for good racing. Throughout the fleet there have been such close results and the final islands race decided the winners in many divisions. Sailors enjoyed the variety of courses and that fact the different fleets finished close-ish together in Dent Passage.
“My team of 24 worked so well this year and the few new ones fitted in easily. They all multi-task, even the jurors. We travel from New Zealand, Noumea, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland and there’s great camaraderie and fun. We all meld and work together to make the regatta a good one for the sailors.”
All information about this year’s Hamilton Island Race Week is on the website: www.hamiltonislandraceweek.com.au