Get set for Race Week

First timers join regulars for the ultimate action-packed week on the water.

16 April 2023


The internationally acclaimed Hamilton Island Race Week will be contested on the tropical waters around Hamilton Island from 19 to 26 August 2023.

A longstanding feature of the east coast sailing calendar, Race Week 2023 has so far drawn 170 entries and a steady influx is pushing that number quickly towards 200.

Among the fleet are first-time entrants who have seen the incredible images and vision of trade wind sailing and heard the stories from fellow yachties – and decided to get among the action. West Australian yachtsman Rob Appleyard recently returned to sailing after a period away from the sport.

Originally, he planned to charter a boat but that proved challenging, then the idea of buying hit him during a bout of illness and boredom. Appleyard spotted a Fast 40+ in Turkey that appeared to fit the bill, until he made the trip overseas.


While he was travelling one hit the market, remarkably back in his hometown of Fremantle.

“I looked at it in the morning and by the afternoon I owned it,” said Appleyard.

“It’s certainly an undertaking trucking a boat like Secret Weapon to the Whitsundays and back, but I’ve never been to Hamilton Island Race Week, only heard a lot about it. Finally, after many decades, I’ll be there and part of the Rating Series, hoping to take it up to Ray Roberts and his champion Team Hollywood crew.”

Sydney yachtsman Michael Fountain has done more Race Weeks than he has fingers and toes. This August, the veteran will be part of a brand-new campaign with a well-known moniker. His father-inlaw Gerry Hatton has just taken delivery of his latest Mills-design built in Turkey, this time a Mat 1220 called Bushranger.

“The lighter contemporary design is an all-round race boat, but the principles of Bushranger haven’t changed,” says Fountain.

“We have fun and sail well, and the results look after themselves.”

Regulars such as the Clintons’ NSW Beneteau Holy Cow!, Craig Watson’s Queensland Beneteau Coopers and the Oatley family’s maxi Wild Oats XI have signed on to contest the 38th edition of Race Week, which caters for a wide spectrum of boats, from grand prix racing yachts and cruiser racers to multihulls and trailables.

Matched to perfect outdoor winter conditions is an exciting new onshore festival of food, wine and daily entertainment for sailors and their guests. Tickets will open on 15 June via the website.

Island CEO Peter Brulisauer and the Oatley family are proud to host the annual event, which attracts sailors and sailing enthusiasts from all over the world.

“We are delighted to once again welcome back sailors and supporters to Hamilton Island Race Week,” said Brulisauer.

“This event embodies our island’s passion for sailing, world-class hospitality and celebrates our stunning natural surrounds.

“We are committed to providing an exceptional experience for all participants and we look forward to witnessing the competitive spirit and camaraderie that this event fosters among the sailing community.”

The Notice of Race and all details relating to Hamilton Island Race Week 2023 are online.

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