Bob Oatley, an avid sailor and owner of Wild Oats XI and Hamilton Island officially launched the week with a ceremonial raising of the flag assisted by naming rights sponsor, Audi Australia’s managing director, Uwe Hagen.
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week kicked off on Friday with a spectacular firework display.
Attending the launch event were distinguished guests and sailing’s elite including London 2012 Olympics gold medalist and national hero Tom Slingsby, John Bertrand AM, past IRC champion sailors Stephen Ainsworth and Marcus Blackmore, along with world-class sailors such as Peter ‘Billy’ Merrington, Robbie Naismith, Adrienne Cahalan, Mike Sanderson and Ryan Houston. Famous faces were also in the crowd including Asher Keddie, Mindy Woods, Angela Bishop, Paula Joye and others.
“Each year our challenge is to make sure Audi Hamilton Island Race Week retains its identity as Australia’s premier regatta, and this year will be no exception,” said Oatley.
The event, which takes place on Hamilton Island is boasted as on of the best sailing regattas in the world.
Described by many as one of the best sailing regattas in the world, the program includes categories for top-class racers ‘Grand Prix’, an IRC Passage class for modern fast-cruising yachts, performance racing and sports boat classes. There are also cruising, corporate, bareboat and non-spinnaker divisions.
This year, the Audi IRC Australian Championship will be fought and won at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. The championship event is endorsed and scored by Yachting Australia. The winner of each class will win a brand new North Sails spinnaker which will be emblazoned with the Audi IRC Australian Championship logo.
The week long event also includes a number of of- water events including fashion shows, and social parties.