Yacht Boat News
The finish of a race heralds the start of party time onshore at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week © Andrea Francolini http://www.afrancolini.com/
The finish of a race heralds the start of party time onshore at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week © Andrea Francolini http://www.afrancolini.com/

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2017

The long, short and wide set a record for AHIRW 2017

A small yacht measuring less than eight metres overall has established an impressive record on the entry list for Australia’s largest offshore tropical regatta, Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.

The record came when Gunter and Marie Kopp lodged the entry for their well-travelled little Nolex 25 trailable yacht, Pipedream. It signalled the 50th competitor had been registered for this year’s series, a mark that also meant the fleet was already 14 greater in number than at the same time last year.

It’s been 22 years since Gunter and Marie towed Pipedream 2000 kilometres north from Sydney so they could compete at Race Week. Since then they have trailered the yacht may more thousands of kilometres along Australia’s east coast to go cruising or compete in regattas.

“We hold wonderful memories from sailing in the two Race Weeks in the early 90’s,” said Gunter, “so we’ve decided to go back this year before we’re too old to enjoy it anymore. We’re expecting to see a good fleet of trailable yachts there, so I’m sure we’re destined for good times.”

Tradewind sailing on azure tropical waters: one of the many reasons to be at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. Andrea Francolini http://www.afrancolini.com/

Tradewind sailing on azure tropical waters: one of the many reasons to be at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. Andrea Francolini http://www.afrancolini.com/

An additional 12 yachts have been entered during the past week, meaning the fleet size continues to grow at a rate faster than ever in the regatta’s 34-year history, including last year when a record fleet of 252 took part. Of the 60-plus yachts entered to date this year, four are more than 20 metres in overall length, 11 are under 10 metres, and 13 are multihulls.

However, there could be a sad note attached to one of the latest entries, the 24-metre long maxi, Condor, which when launched in 1981 was the world’s most technologically advanced maxi yacht. Her ocean racing career saw her take line honours in all the world’s major offshore races, including the Sydney to Hobart race in 1982.

This year will see Condor competing at Race Week for her 10th consecutive year, and owner Dave Molloy believes that could well be the right time to retire “the old girl” from racing.

“Over those year’s we’ve given hundreds of sailors, men and women, the chance to experience Race Week aboard Condor,” Dave said. “It’s been a lot of fun, but I’m thinking this year will be her swansong.”

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2017 will be staged from August 19 to 26. Based out of the internationally acclaimed Hamilton Island, in the centre of Queensland’s tropical Whitsunday region, the regatta is recognised as being among the world’s best.

German luxury carmaker, Audi, is returning for the 12th year as principal sponsor, demonstrating the brand’s continued commitment to high quality, competitive offshore racing and a benchmark onshore social calendar that is as inclusive as it is exclusive.

All information relating to AHIRW is on the regatta website.

by Rob Mundle

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