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Hamilton Island Race Week final celebration

by Lisa Ratcliff 25 Aug 2019 12:21 BST 18-24 August 2019
Hamilton Island divisions stretch out in the Whitsundays - Hamilton Island Race Week © Salty Dingo

A stellar evening marking the end of Hamilton Island Race Week and the ongoing legacy to the sport given by the Oatley family in hosting the much-loved series - that still drew the second largest fleet in event history despite a softer Australian economy - was celebrated by the sailing fraternity at the closing function on Saturday August 24, 2019.

"On behalf of the Oatley family we thank all of you for making the effort to come all this way to tropical north Queensland to enjoy Hamilton Island Race Week," island CEO Glenn Bourke said to the trophy recipients across all divisions. The final entry list drew boats and crews from all Australian states and the ACT plus internationals; from boats with one hull to three ranging between 6.5m to 24m in length, from trailables to the Multihull Racing foiling flier Mad Max, all broken up into 14 divisions.

HI Class Blue

Week in, week out, year-round, Charles Curran's Murray 60 Sydney can be seen racing on Sydney Harbour and the hard work paid off for skipper David Kellett and the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia team at the 36th edition of Race Week, the lowest points earner in Blue division. "We've had a fabulous regatta and the highlight for us has been the battle with Bumblebee 4. We've been going boat-for-boat all week, keeping each other honest," said Kellett.

HI Class Pink

For Robert Green, who races out of Sandringham Yacht Club in Victoria, Race Week 2019 lived up to the name of his Pacific 50, Dream. "We came for the sun and the fun, and we've had plenty of both. It's been about 25 years since we were last at Race Week, so it's been great to come back and see all the changes. The racing is run really well."

HI Class Green

Sydney's Middle Harbour Yacht Club enjoyed a one/two in the Green division with Andrew Pearson's Jeanneau Sunfast 40 Zeusus taking top spot ahead of Kerry Burkes' MortgageChoice Rumba, a Northshore 370. "We've had a wonderful week, every one of our crew stuck to their job really well and I've heard the most ridiculous jokes known to mankind" said Zeusus crewman Laurie McAllister, adding "it's been a great way to celebrate my 50th birthday."

HI Class Yellow

The sentimental winner across Hamilton Island's various cruiser-racer classes is Race Week regulars John and Kim Clinton, who won Yellow division with their Beneteau Oceanis 50 Holy Cow on a countback. "We've been coming to Race Week for 20 years," said Kim Clinton "it's our tenth year with this boat and the planets finally all aligned and we won our division for the first time. I was so happy I cried!" she added, with a laugh.

HI Class Orange

It was mission accomplished for Mark Tobin and his team aboard the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 44i C'est La Vie who achieved their goal of back-to-back wins in Orange division, a close 1.5 points clear of John Chipp's Beneteau Oceanis 41.1 Hot Chipps, the winner of the Prix d'Elegance best fun-themed yacht and crew with their hot chips and seagull theme. Marcus Blackmore's Hooligan took out the best presented yacht and crew award, the full crew dressed in tight-fitting green bodysuits. Video by Bow Caddy Media.

HI Class Non-Spinnaker Grey Division

Victorian Grant Dunoon's Moody 54DS Blue Water Tracks had the Grey division wrapped up on day five, so was able to enjoy a relaxed final race. "We've got a great crew, they're all members of the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria. The boat weighs 27 tonnes so she's slow to manoeuvre and if we have the genoa up - not the self-tacker - it takes us three minutes to compete a tack; we timed it!" Dunoon laughed. "It's been great to have some more time to spend with our crew rather than the usual beer at the club and head home. And all credit to the organisers for berthing all the similar marques together; we find we can spend time discussing tweaks and refinements with each other and we end up having a race within a race. Whoever wins between us brings the beers across to the other boat when we finish!"

HI Class Non-Spinnaker White

It was a late charge for Victorian Dominic Pagliaro's Beneteau 36 Scarborough, which is based at Hamilton Island. The opportunity to sail twilight races on the island regularly had some advantages for Pagliaro that went beyond acquiring local knowledge. "We were a bit short on our crew numbers during the latter half of the week so we were able to invite some people from the island to join us. I think we had seven beginners on board in six days."

Multihull Hamilton Island Classes

Purple division top honours went to Craig Molloy's Avalanche, a Lidgard 52 from Southport Yacht Club, and Black division first place went to Ken Plowman's Lightwave 38 called Red Undies, the unusual moniker that had everyone trying to guess the meaning behind it.

Dates for Hamilton Island Race Week 2020 are set for August 15-22.

Find full final results here

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