Within minutes of entries being opened for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2013, Victorian yachtsman, Jim Watson, had registered his 41ft cruising division yacht, Windsong of Mornington.
In doing so, his was the first entry for what will be the 30th anniversary edition of the great regatta, which is scheduled for August.
The Notice of Race and Entry Form have been posted on the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week website, www.hamiltonislandraceweek.com.au and already an impressive number of entries have been lodged from NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania.
‘We love everything about Audi Hamilton Island Race Week,’ a pleased Jim Watson said when told Windsong of Mornington was the first official entry. ‘We really enjoy the cruise up and back, but even more so the fun that comes with being part of the cruising division at Race Week, and all the onshore activities at the island. We also make sure we have a week aboard the yacht cruising around the Whitsunday islands, before and after the regatta.’
This will be the fourth Audi Hamilton Island Race Week for Windsong of Mornington, a Hunter 410 which Watson has sailed more than 30,000 nautical miles since purchasing it in 2001. He is always accompanied by his ‘crew of lunatics who are great fun to sail with’.
Those 30,000 miles include ‘half a Hobart race’: ‘We started in the 2004 Hobart,’ said Watson, ‘but by the time we got to Eden our ETA for Hobart had gone from four days to nine days, so we decided to finish in Eden.’
Having been a ‘late starter’ in the sport, Jim Watson is now making up for lost time by sailing at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, and enjoying a lot of additional cruising and racing miles, including Melbourne to Launceston races.
‘I learned to sail off Mornington in my youth,’ Watson explained, ‘then I spent 18 years establishing a property development business in Alice Springs – and there’s no sailing to be done out there.
‘We returned to Mornington in 1998, and I quickly decided I had to get into sailing, simply because I got frustrated sitting at home and watching all the yachts out on Port Phillip Bay every weekend.’
The 30th Anniversary Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, which will be held from August 17 to 24, promises to be one of the most spectacular regattas ever staged in Australia. One of the many highlights will be a special division – the ‘First Fleeters’ – which has been established for any of the 93 yachts that competed in the inaugural regatta in 1984.
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2013 will also represent a decade of ownership of the award-winning island destination by yachtsman, Bob Oatley, and his family. Bob is already planning to have his record breaking 30-metre supermaxi, Wild Oats XI, at the regatta following its amazing trifecta in the recent Rolex Sydney Hobart race – line and handicap honours plus a race record time.
Luxury carmaker, Audi, returns as the Title Sponsor 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.