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Multitude of reasons to be cheerful at Hamilton Island Race Week 2018

by Crosbie Lorimer 26 Aug 04:29 BST 18-25 August 2018
Hamilton Island Race Week 2018 - Cartouche HI Div 1 winner © Salty Dingo

How can you fairly handicap a huge fleet of cruiser racers of such diverse ages, sizes and speeds as appear at Hamilton Island Race Week each year?

Judging by the very positive response to this year's latest handicapping initiative, the answer appears to be the five Hamilton Island divisions, all of which enjoyed some close and spectacular island racing all week over six days.

Across the five monohull Hamilton Island divisions close to half the total number of entries at Race Week, 233, 102 yachts raced under the Hamilton Island banner plus 33 more in the two Hamilton Island multihull divisions.

Multihulls have been the fastest growing group at Race Week, 39 in 2018 compared to five in 2013 when a multihull division was reintroduced.

Hamilton Island Division 1

Steven Fahey's Beneteau First 50 Cartouche took the honours in Hamilton Island Division 1, holding out Greg Snowball's Swan 60 Dream Catcher III and Robert Vaughan's magnificent Muir 64 Van Diemen III for second and third spot respectively.

"It's been intense, and the weather and organisation has been fantastic. Even if we'd hadn't done well I still would be going home thinking it's a fantastic event. It was one out of the box."

Hamilton Island Division 2

Paul Lindemann's Beneteau 49 Biddy Hu II stormed home from fourth position this morning to a series win in Hamilton Island Division 2 ahead of Hamish Milne's Moody Blue and John Lechte's Ciao Bella.

"We are absolutely ecstatic about our win, we really can't believe it" said an excited Lindemann after they heard they'd won their division "we sailed out of our skins today and we had a bit of luck too. Remarkably, six out of the ten crew on board had never sailed on our boat before Race Week."

Hamilton Island Division 3

Wayne Millar's much credentialed Murray 41 Zoe is once again a division winner, this time in Hamilton Island Division 3, finishing 11 points clear of Rob Aldis' Kayimai and Peter Woodhead's XC3SS.

"Wining your division is a bit like throwing a whole bag of marbles in the air and seeing how many you can catch," said a delighted Millar after his win.

"We were greatly helped in that game by two overseas experts that we flew in for Race Week, Nick Storey from the UK read the tides for us and Steve Devlin from Hong Kong kept his head out of the boat to track the breeze. So, we owe much of this win to those two".

Hamilton Island Division 4

"That Boat has done it again" may well have been the refrain from a number of Darryle Dransfield's rivals after his Bavaria 41 topped the podium in Hamilton Island Division 4 three points clear of Matt Owen's highly competitive Sydney 32 Onyx, which took second place on a countback from Doug Ryan's Beneteau 44.7 Shazam.

"We're over the moon about this win" said Dransfield, "we've worked really hard for this with a series of racing upgrades to the boat and I really don't think she could give any more than she did this week."

"As usual we've had such a great week" said a philosophical Owen, "but we've had a very good record over the years – six division wins and only ever out of the top three in one Race Week so we tend to get fairly heavily handicapped. It all came to a head Saturday morning when we found out that Shazam had a sewing machine on board; so we had to make sure we beat her at least!"

Hamilton Island Division 5

Mark Tobin has sailed Race Week many times aboard a variety of his own boats, mostly in IRC divisions, but this year he brought his new Sun Odyssey 44i fully kitted out for cruising and still managed to win Hamilton Island Division 5, ahead of Ron Garner's Carinya and Ben Davidson's First Light.

"We've been watching boats leaving all this gear on the docks and we're sailing with everything aboard that we had when we cruised the boat up here," said Tobin.

"The handicapper hit us pretty hard overnight, but he also hit our closest rivals, so we played it fairly safe today and it all came together really well."

Hamilton Island Multihull 1 & 2

The women on Antonio Pasquale's Crowther 40 Ave Gitana not only took out the division win but at Saturday evening's awards ceremony, they also picked up the Gun Boat trophy, for the most line honours wins across all 15 divisions at Hamilton Island Race Week 2018 – six from six.

Kiwi skipper Sharon Ferris-Choat sees the lack of Southern Hemisphere speed records as a challenge for the taking and will attempt to set an unofficial fastest time for the 1,800nm delivery between Magnetic Island, Queensland, and Russell at New Zealand's Bay of Islands, sailing double-handed with Jo Breen from Tasmania.


David Keep's Beale 7.8 Tonoa from NSW scooped the Trailable division from BSC Sailing School and local Hamilton Island boat Rhumbmaid.

Heavier tradewinds early in the weeklong regatta, August 18-25, transitioned to lighter ESE breeze for the final three days and different combinations of heavy and light air, and tide, allowed the race committee to be creative in terms of choosing and creating news courses.

Click here for full results of all divisions.

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All information relating to the regatta is on the website:

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