Photography by Andrea Francolini - Kurt Arrigo
Even better news for sailors is the Race Week weather outlook. A large high-pressure system over south east Queensland is forecast to drive 15 knot average trade winds to the Whitsundays, building to the mid-20s by Tuesday and bringing some thrilling action to the track.
The first half of the racing schedule begins this Sunday, August 18, and runs to Tuesday 20 with a mixture of long and short around-the-islands courses, depending on which of the 14 divisions a boat is entered in.
Crews take a well-earned break on Wednesday for the midweek layday – filled with fun on-island lunches, a game of golf, poolside parties and leisurely cruises to Whitehaven Beach or whale watching around the islands.
Racing resumes Thursday August 22 through to the final day of the series, Saturday August 24.
The fine starting list represents every Australian state plus the ACT. International entries represent New Zealand, Hong Kong and the USA, plus many more nationalities will be among the teams ranging in size from three good mates on a trailable yacht to 15 pro sailors on a TP52.
Karl Kwok’s high-performance MOD 70 Beau Geste will be a star attraction at the international crew’s first Race Week with this boat.
Having set a blistering course record for the inaugural Lendlease Brisbane to Hamilton Island Yacht Race two weekends ago, the giant trimaran will compete unchecked in the Multihull Racing division, corrected results the only opportunity for the other multis to get close.
The presence of four Extreme 40s will supercharge this division.
The largest boat in the strong fleet is the 24-metre Bumblebee IV, the owners celebrating the 40th birthday of the multiple Sydney Hobart line honours winner and one of the inaugural Hamilton Island Race Week participants in 1984.
The smallest in the Hamilton Island Race Week fleet at 6.4-metres is Trevor Dunn’s FrouFrou, a 1970s built trailable yacht from New South Wales.