Photography by Andrea Francolini
One of the most colourful characters on the Australian ocean racing scene, Ray “Hollywood” Roberts, will campaign his “class act” Fast 40+ class offshore racer, Team Hollywood, at the 35th Hamilton Island Race Week in August.
The Fast 40+ is currently the quickest growing offshore racing class in England and interest is spreading to Europe.
Roberts has already demonstrated Team Hollywood’s potential by winning the Williamstown to Geelong race in January and claiming an impressive third place on corrected time in the Brisbane to Gladstone Race at Easter.
Now it’s time to take the boat to Australia’s premier offshore regatta.
“I was at the inaugural Hamilton Island Race Week in 1984 and have been back more than 20 times since,” Roberts said, “Every one of those regattas has been unique in its own way, both on shore and on the water”.
“However, I’m hoping this year will be particularly special because Team Hollywood should be ideally suited to the tropical tradewind conditions we can expect for the series.”
Roberts described the Fast 40+ design as a smaller version of the internationally acclaimed TP52 class.
“Like the TP52, the Fast 40+ is an exciting boat to race, so much so that I won’t be surprised if the class gets a solid foothold in Australia over the next few years.”
The fleet for Hamilton Island Race Week 2018 is expected to top 150 in a matter of days. The growth rate is faster than that experienced last year when a fleet of more than 200 took part. This year’s line-up already reflects the full spectrum of eligible yachts ranging from small trailables to cruising yachts large and small, multihulls and supermaxis.
Regatta director Denis Thompson said it was pleasing to note how cruising yacht owners were embracing the new Hamilton Island Class. “This category is designed to create a more equitable competition for cruising yachts, and it is already obvious competitors are realising that,” Thompson said.
Entries close Saturday 5 August and the Notice of Race and all information is on the website.