Flocking to the dock

More than 100 entries come at a record rate for Hamilton Island Race Week 2018.

Photography by Andrea Francolini

05 May 2018


After living in California for 46 years, ex-pat Australian and international yachtsman Robbie Vaughan decided a few months ago to return home to Hobart, semi-retire and enter his classic 20-metre long sloop Van Diemen III in Hamilton Island Race Week 2018.

When the entry was lodged this week, Van Diemen III became the 100th nomination for the acclaimed regatta which is scheduled for 18 to 25 August. And, making the milestone even more impressive is the fact the first 100 entries came at a rate faster than in 2016 when a record 252 yachts competed.

Vaughan left Australia for California in 1972 with the intention “to sail in a few Dragon class regattas then head home after six months.” But that plan fell to pieces very quickly. He was bitten by the ocean racing bug and by 1975 was sailing aboard the famous American yacht Charisma in the Admiral’s Cup in England. Inevitably, California became home and Hobart a distant memory.


Vaughan’s long-held dream of owning a classic-style yacht, based on the famous Ticonderoga, turned to reality in 2004 when he had Van Diemen III designed in America then built in New Zealand. The yacht has been based in California since launch and during that period has crossed the Pacific four times and competed at Hamilton Island Race Week on three occasions.

“This type of regatta just doesn’t happen in America,” Vaughan said on hearing his yacht was the 100th entry for Race Week.

“The venue is spectacular, the sailing great and the camaraderie onshore amazing.”

Vaughan, who is setting up a yacht restoration business in Hobart, will have a colourful group of sailing mates with him for Race Week, including Sydney yacht broker Michael ‘Zapper’ Bell and noted journalist Piers Ackerman, the ‘Minister for Diplomacy’ while racing. It’s possible legendary Tasmanian sailor and author Charles “Chas from Tas” Blundell will be aboard.

Hamilton Island Race Week caters for the full spectrum of yachts: from trailables to supermaxis, cruising yachts and charter boats, monohulls and multihulls. Entries close Saturday 5 August.


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