For the second year, Audi Hamilton Island Race Week has kick started the 2012-13 Melges 32 regatta schedule. It’s hard to top a regatta that has everything, great atmosphere, entertainment, friends, family, quality competition, tight one design racing in an amazing location. The Melges 32 class sailors are like pigs in mud racing in the Whitsunday playground.
Heading into the regatta competition was always going to be tough, the current Australian champion, Noel Leigh Smith’s Desperado looking to add to his mantle while Angus Reid’s Maxstar wants the win that eluded him at the nationals.
Melges 32 Australian fleet president, Kim Williams and Rock and Roll, is looking sharp and Stefan Walker and Mike Turner Sticks, from Gosford Sailing Club, has the momentum of Olympic gold from local lad, Tom Slingsby, in their camp.
Stephen O’Rourke’s Panther, racing in his second Melges 32 regatta, and Tasmanian boat, Greg Prescott’s 2Unlimited, are also aiming to dominate.
When the curtain falls there can only be one series winner and so far Prescott’s grand plans seem to be unfolding with six wins from eight races to be leading Maxstar by nine points in the Hamilton Island Series.
Prescott is driving and well known Sydney yachtsman, Darren ‘Twirler’ Jones, is calling the shots, backed up by a keen young crew from New South Wales and Tasmania who are drawing every ounce of speed out of the boat.
2Unlimited’s skipper Greg Prescott said, ‘I am having Fat Old Time with his crew here at Hamilton Island. With five Tasmanian crew and three New South Welshmen on board it’s like a mini State of Origin at times’.
On today’s forecast Prescott said, ‘today’s light forecast of 5-10 knots will open it up for everyone else. Even if we get in front there’s no guarantee we’ll stay there.’
Last Sunday evening, Angus Reid’s Maxstar was awarded winner of the prestigious Melges 32 Asia Pacific Cup for the 2011-12 series. Hamilton Island Yacht Club hosted the Melges cocktail function and Island CEO and Olympian, Glenn Bourke, presented the trophy to Reid and in his speech to competitors Bourke confirmed Hamilton Island’s commitment to supporting the one design aspect of this premier event.
This year’s Race Week is the first event in the new series. The race schedule is broken into the Melges 32 Asia Pacific Cup Series, eight windward/leeward races over three days.
The Audi Hamilton Island Race Week series incorporates the Denman Island passage race, two days of short round the island races followed by the Molles Island race to finish the regatta this Saturday.
For yesterday’s lay day teams enjoyed the beachside pool party which went well into the night, the Audi Final Drive Challenge, a pearl discovery session, the Moet & Chandon lunch and just relaxed and regrouped for the remainder of the regatta.
Luxury carmaker, Audi, returns as the title sponsor of Hamilton Island Race Week in 2012. The German premium brand will host a range of special events on the island for yacht owners and guests to enjoy during the week.