Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2014 - Alive, and sailing the long way

2014 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - If there was a prize at this year’s Audi Hamilton Island Race Week for a yacht that had sailed the most circuitous route to be at the regatta, it would have to go to Phillip Turner’s Grand Prix racer, Alive. 

Instead of making the direct passage of just 550 nautical miles from her base in Brisbane, north to the tropical island, the Reichel/Pugh designed 66-footer – formerly Black Jack – will cover more than 5000 nautical miles to be at the legendary event in August. 

The reason is simple: Audi Hamilton Island Race Week represents an important part of the yacht’s preparation for this year’s Rolex Sydney to Hobart race – and there are other races to be experienced while getting there. 

Alive has been on a winning roll since Turner purchased her less than a year ago, so no doubt he and his team have their sights set on adding the ultimate prize at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week to their burgeoning trophy cabinet. Alive took top honours at Southport Yacht Club’s Sail Paradise in March, then followed up with near complete domination of the Brisbane to Gladstone classic at Easter by taking handicap honours and the Courier-Mail Cup. 

The yacht’s journey to Race Week starts this weekend when sailing master, Duncan Hine, and a delivery crew sail Alive more than 1000nm from Brisbane to Melbourne. Once there, the yacht will be prepared for the 1850nm Melbourne to Vanuatu race, which begins June 29. Then, after reaching the finish, a long dash will follow – back to the start of the Sydney to Gold Coast race on July 26. Once at the Gold Coast, Alive will head for the tropics and Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, which commences on August 16. 

'Race Week will be the highlight of our build-up for the Hobart,' said Duncan, while preparing the yacht in Brisbane. 'We’ve not been racing in the tropics before, so we’re really looking forward to it. We’re also expecting plenty of close racing; something we all enjoy.' 

Tropical pleasure: the fleet at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week stretches out across the Whitsunday Passage -  Jack Atley  

More than 70 yachts are now entered for Race Week, and, much to the delight of organisers, the growth of numbers is matching the trend of the 2008 list when a record fleet of 227 was at the island for the 25th anniversary regatta. 

'It’s an encouraging sign,' said Hamilton Island’s CEO, Glenn Bourke. 'We are not expecting a record fleet, but if this trend continues I think we might get close to 200 yachts, and that’s certainly impressive. Regardless, the number and quality of entries to date confirms the high status Audi Hamilton Island Race Week holds across this particular area of the sport. It’s a ‘must-do’ regatta for all, from cruising sailors to the upper echelon sailing aboard Grand Prix level racers.' 

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2014 will be staged from August 16 to 23. The regatta is open to the full spectrum of keelboats, sport boats and multihulls. 

The Notice of Race, entry form and regatta information are all available on the regatta website

German luxury brand, Audi, is back for the ninth year at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in 2014. Audi and the sport of sailing go hand in hand, thanks to a shared passion for winning performance, the use of lightweight and progressive materials in construction, and a love of spirited competition. In Australia, the Audi brand closed 2013 with its ninth consecutive year of growth, supported in part by the Australian sailing community. Throughout Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2014, the brand will host a range of events and activities on the island for yacht owners, yacht crews and guests to enjoy.

by Rob Mundle

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