Prep for Prix d’Elegance prizes

How to win a spectacular prize without winning a race at Hamilton Island Race Week 2022.

Written by Rob Mundle
Photography by Salty Dingo

21 April 2022


Two of the 221 crews competing at Hamilton Island Race Week in August will each claim a spectacular prize and trophy without even participating in a race.

All they need to do is apply some creative thinking to theming themselves and their yacht, then be judged the winner of one of the two categories of the highly popular Prix d’Elegance, a fun pre-race event scheduled for Thursday 25 August.

Hamilton Island’s luxury retreat qualia is providing magnificent prizes for the owners of the winning yachts in each category – an unforgettable two-night weekend escape for two. Special trophies will also be awarded to the two category winners.

The Prix d’Elegance, or in some cases the not so elegant, is a contest that has been an integral part of Hamilton Island Race Week since 2007. The concept makes it an entertaining challenge for the crews while providing considerable entertainment for the spectators watching the parade from the flag deck at Hamilton Island Yacht Club.

There are two categories in the Prix d’Elegance: the Best-Presented Yacht and the Best-Themed Yacht.


Best-Presented Yacht

The yacht is perfectly presented and the crew are in matching uniforms lining the deck. Themes can be subtle or extravagant (but always presentable) and participants must ensure fenders are not dangling over the side.


Best-Themed Yacht

The competition has seen political satire, tropical island settings, bubble baths, a wedding and even Michael Jackson as themes for this section.



Judging will take place off Hamilton Island Yacht Club’s flag deck (where the judges will be located) between 09:30 and 10:30 in the morning.

The timing is scheduled so all crews have ample opportunity to be judged, then return to their dock if necessary to get back into racing mode and reach their respective start lines in time for racing that day.

Each category winner will be presented with their trophy and prizes at Race Week’s gala prize-giving dinner on Saturday 27 August.

The 36th edition of Hamilton Island Race Week will be staged from 2 to 27 August.

“The Prix d’Elegance is a wonderful tradition at Hamilton Island Race Week that everyone enjoys,” says Race Director, Denis Thompson.

“We are amazed each year by the length to which the crews go to in their endeavours to be declared the winners of what is a highly entertaining event.”



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