The search is on for the ‘First Fleeters’ from the inaugural Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in 1984.
The 93 yachts that were part of the historic event, and their current owners (or charterers), are to receive a special invitation to Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2013 – the 30th Anniversary Regatta in August next year – so they can be an important part of the celebrations.
For a start, a special division will be created for them, and there will be a unique 30th Anniversary Race Week Trophy awarded to the winner.
‘The participation of the yachts that formed the original fleet is an integral part of the spectacular celebrations we are planning for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2013,’ said Hamilton Island CEO, Glenn Bourke. ‘Those yachts literally launched this great series and set it on the course that has made it Australia’s premier keelboat regatta for cruising and racing yachts.
‘As part of our recognition of those first fleet yachts, and as an added incentive for them to share in the excitement of our 30th Anniversary Race Week celebrations, we will be waiving the entry fee for them. This is a wonderful gesture from the Oatley family, the avid sailors who own Hamilton Island. They want to ensure that Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2013 is the greatest regatta Australia – possibly the world – has ever seen.’
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week organisers will be doing everything possible to track down the yachts that participated in 1984 – and they are seeking the assistance of sailors from across Australia. The original entry list has been posted on the Race Week website – www.hamiltonislandraceweek.com.au – so that current owners, or people who know the whereabouts of the yachts, can make contact. The list will also be sent to major yacht clubs.
There were some very famous yachts, and yacht owners, at Hamilton Island Race Week 1984. It included the late Jack Rooklyn with his famous maxi, Apollo; Peter Briggs’ Admiral’s Cup team member, Hitchhiker (which came all the way from Perth and won the regatta); Graeme Lambert’s 1983 Admiral’s Cupper, Too Impetuous, plus one of the most famous little yachts on the east coast at that time, Scampi A (Ross Perrins and Colin Loel), which had won the Brisbane to Gladstone race on handicap only weeks earlier.
However, as has always been the case, the bulk of the fleet for that inaugural regatta was made up of cruising yachts that had come from near and far for the great sailing and the dockside parties – the elements that have formed the legend of Hamilton Island Race Week.
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week Media Manager, Rob Mundle, who was at the inaugural Race Week, is coordinating the search for the ‘First Fleeters’. Any current owners of those yachts, or anyone knowing the whereabouts of any of them, can contact Rob’s assistant, Liz Christmas, at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Notice of Race for the 30th Anniversary Audi Hamilton Island Race Week will be posted on the website within a matter of weeks. Hamilton Island will be offering special ‘Early Bird’ accommodation rates. Details can be obtained through the website.
Luxury carmaker, Audi, returns as the main partner of Hamilton Island Race Week in 2013. The German premium brand will host a range of special events on the island for yacht owners and guests to enjoy during the week.