NEWS – Hamo entries reach 100

NEWS - Hamo entries reach 100

Trans Tasman rivalry between Australia and New Zealand was not lost on organisers when the Brisbane-based yacht Lady Fay

, owned by Gavin Bicknell, became the 100th entry lodged for this year’s Audi Hamilton Island Race Week (August 22 to 29).

Only minutes earlier, they said, one of the greats of NZ yachting, Ray Haslar, just missed out on what is seen as a milestone for the big event when he registered his very successful Davidson 35, Jive Talkin’, and became the 99th entry.

AHIRW said both men have been strong supporters of Race Week, staged on spectacular courses around the tropical Whitsunday Islands. Bicknell’s presence at the popular keelboat regatta go back to the inaugural event in 1984, while Haslar, who has been voted NZ’s Yachtsman of the Year, has been a regular visitor for many years, organisers said.

“I think I’ve missed only four Race Weeks since 1984,” said Bicknell, who will be sailing his Hanse 430e in the Non-Spinnaker Cruising Division. “It is the best regatta imaginable.

“There’s nothing to compare with it in every respect, but for me, more than anything, it’s the warm weather and great sailing around the islands that really appeal. It took me two Sydney Hobarts before I realised that going south was way too cold for a Queenslander. Now it’s only the tropics for me,” he said.

Hamilton Island CEO and Olympic yachtsman Glenn Bourke said to see entries top 100 more than two months before the start of this year’s regatta augured well for the final fleet number in what will be the 26th staging of Race Week.

“The fact that we are seeing such a good cross section of yachts entering this year, from cruising through to Grand Prix, confirms the status Audi Hamilton Island Race Week holds on the Australian sailing scene,” Bourke said. AHIRW last year attracted a record fleet of 225.

His words were supported by the fact that around the same time as Lady Fay was registered for the Non-spinnaker Cruising class two of Australia’s top Grand Prix racers, Stephen Ainsworth’s Reichel/Pugh 62, Loki, and Graeme Wood’s 52-footer, Wot Now, were entered.

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Photos: Legendary kiwi offshore yachtsman Ray Haslar will be bringing his very competitive Davidson 35 design, Jive Talkin’, to Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 09; The magical tropical waters that encircle Hamilton Island will be the course area for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.