Race Week reunion

After a three-year wait, the 36th edition of Hamilton Island Race Week will return with a full fleet of regional and international sailors.

14 June 2022


The fleet for this year’s Hamilton Island Race Week is at capacity and sailors from around the country and overseas are eagerly awaiting the huge reunion.

Up to 224 boats and close to 2,000 sailors are set to gather at the jewel of the Whitsundays for a week of on-water fun and a social calendar guaranteed to sell-out in record time when tickets are released on 15 June.

The sport’s national authority-sanctioned Australian Yachting Championships will also return to Hamilton Island this year, with 52 of the 224 entrants signed-up for the prestigious series that will run in conjunction with the traditional Race Week pointscore.

In terms of size and might, supermaxis Hamilton Island Wild Oats XI (the Oatley family) and Andoo Comanche (John Winning Jnr) will headline the Australian Yachting Championship and the Hamilton Island Race Week Rating Class.


Hamilton Island Wild Oats XI’s long-time skipper Mark Richards can’t wait to get the team back together.

“It’s a big job waking the boat up after its last major event, the 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart. It will be awesome to be back on the water,” said Richards.

Andoo Comanche will be under the direction of John Winning Jnr for the 100-footer’s first appearance at Hamilton Island Race Week.

Adding spice to the impending supermaxi contest is the fact a number of Hamilton Island Wild Oats XI’s seasoned crew have joined the Andoo Comanche program, including Iain Murray.

“It will be a healthy rivalry and we are looking forward to it,” Richards added.

“When it’s our turn with the weather, Andoo Comanche won’t touch us and likewise when their conditions are on, we won’t touch them.”

Andoo Comanche has just arrived in Sydney to a job list almost 200 lines long says Murray, a champion Australian sailor and regatta director for both SailGP and the America’s Cup.

“We are looking to re-energise 100-foot racing in Australia and putting a foot forward to do all the key races is a start,” Murray said.

“We’ll build a combination of crew by keeping four Europeans who have been with the boat a long time and adding the local experience of Sam Newton, Seve Jarvin, Graeme Taylor and Richie Allanson, among others, so we should be on the pace from the outset.”

The most popular division at Race Week continues to be the Hamilton Island Class, which boasts more than 100 racing and cruiser-racer style yachts of all sizes and ages.

Among them will be NSW owner Phillip Neil’s resplendent Tc78 Drumfire and Ben and Sophie Davidson’s 1980-built Adams 12 First Light from Tasmania, which is in situ as the couple is cruising the Whitsundays.

Hamilton Island Chairman Sandy Oatley said his staff can’t wait to welcome back the sailing fraternity and their family and friends after a lengthy hiatus. Hamilton Island Race Week was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the global pandemic and travel restrictions.

“Race Week is one of our family’s most loved events,” said Sandy Oatley.

“The island is looking beautiful and all tastes have been taken into account when planning our enviable social program.

“Whether guests like to frock-up for the Paspaley White Luncheon or head to Front Street for the live bands on stage after racing, it will be a reunion like no other this August.

“Of course, the much-loved hospitality touches including the morning ice delivery and après racing sausage sizzle for those on F and G arm will be on offer as we warmly welcome back Australian and international sailing friends.”

Hamilton Island is also proud to announce its primary sponsorship of Wild Oats XI for the upcoming racing season culminating in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, which starts on Boxing Day.

This year’s bumper entry list represents every Australian state and New Zealand. Sailors will also fly in from around the world to contest the series’ picturesque island courses.

Hamilton Island Race Week caters for high-performance multihulls and monohulls, including a separate TP52 division in 2022, as well as trailable yachts, cruising boats and cruiser-racers.

Hamilton Island Race Week 2022 will be staged from 20 to 27 August.



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