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Hamilton Island Race Week: "My favourite sailing event in the world" says yachting great

by Rob Mundle 13 Jul 00:54 BST 18-25 August 2018
Karl Kwok's Beau Geste at Hamilton Island Race Week © Andrea Francolini

As the fleet for Hamilton Island Race Week 2018 climbs towards 200 and beyond, one of the world's most prominent Olympic, America's Cup and offshore sailors, Gavin Brady, has delivered a resounding endorsement for the tropical series.

"Hamilton Island Race Week is my favourite sailing event in the world," he said.

The full-time professional yachtsman, who also has four victories in the prestigious Congressional Cup match-racing series in America to his credit, made the declaration when explaining why he and popular Hong Kong yachtsman Karl Kwok would unfortunately not be at Race Week this year.

Brady, a New Zealander, is sailing master aboard Kwok's highly successful IRC racer, Beau Geste, which this month will be competing for the IRC World Ocean Racing Championship crown out of The Hague in Holland, and the dates for that regatta clash with Race Week.

The Kwok and Brady combination won the IRC championship at Hamilton Island Race Week in 2014 and 2015. It is expected they will be back at the renowned Whitsundays regatta with Beau Geste in 2019 for another tilt at the title.

Even with Beau Geste not competing this year, all signs indicate the grand prix IRC division yachts will experience some of the best racing imaginable. Two of the leading contenders in Division 1 are Rolex Sydney Hobart race winner Matt Allen with his Botin 52 designed Ichi Ban and Marcus Blackmore, who will be racing his TP52 Hooligan. Blackmore was the first Race Week competitor to win the championship over three consecutive years.

There will also be an interesting tussle in IRC Division 2 between two of the exciting new Fast 40 class yachts, Daryl Hodgkinson's recently imported Victoire and Ray Roberts' Team Hollywood.

Hodgkinson, who won the 2013 Hobart race with his Cookson 50 of the same name, will be competing at his 10th Hamilton Island Race Week. He said he and his crew are on a steep learning curve with the new yacht, so they are looking forward to the challenge that will come from Team Hollywood.

The Race Week entry list reveals there are now 30 yachts registered across the three IRC divisions; 88 in the new Hamilton Island division for cruiser-racers, and 30 in the multihull divisions. All other divisions are also strong numerically.

The 35th edition of Hamilton Island Race Week will be staged from August 18-25. Entries close August 5 and all information is on the website: www.hamiltonislandraceweek.com.au

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