Long and short

As the list of entries for Hamilton Island Race Week nears 100, the remarkable diversity of the fleet is becoming increasingly apparent.

20 April 2018


Included among the three 30-metre long supermaxis already entered is Peter Harburg’s Black Jack, which recently smashed the race record time for the 308 nautical mile Brisbane to Gladstone race. Additionally, David Witt, who is currently competing in the Volvo Ocean Race, has entered his supermaxi Scallywag, and the Oatley family will be back with the perennial Wild Oats XI.

The current list of entries also includes a widely varying fleet of 12 multihulls, but it is the trailable yachts that might see record numbers this year due to a more equitable entry fee structure. Regatta organisers have changed the system so owners of the larger trailables, like the Magnum, Clubman and Beale designs, pay the same amount as owners of smaller yachts.

There is also an interesting situation among the multihull entries with Victorian Michael Van Der Zwaard entering two yachts – one large, the other small – for what will be his fourth Hamilton Island Race Week.


“My wife and I have eight children so we bought a Saba 50 catamaran, named Serenity, so we could accommodate the entire family for Race Week,” Michael explained. “However, it’s more a cruising catamaran than a racing boat, so it’s not the most exciting yacht to campaign.

“Regardless, I entered Serenity yet again for Race Week this year because the regatta is so much fun, but wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I did I was presented with the opportunity to buy a small, high performance catamaran from New Zealand. So, the big boat is now on the market and if it doesn’t sell before Race Week I’ll have a friend skipper it in the series while I race the little boat.”

Michael’s new catamaran, named Dirty Deeds, is just 8.5 metres long.

He and his crew plan to sail it from Brisbane to the Whitsundays to familiarise themselves with it and prepare for racing action.

The 35th edition of Hamilton Island Race Week is scheduled for 18 to 25 August. The largest fleet to date came in 2016 with 252 entries. The series is recognised as one of the world’s best regattas when it comes to the location, winter sailing conditions, hospitality and shoreside facilities.


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