Hamilton Island Race Week is one of the premier yachting events in Australia and has now become a quintessential race on the international sailing calendar. Sponsored by Audi, the event has been running for more than two decades and has built itself a reputation for its family friendly atmosphere and on-shore activities and events.
Ideally located on the fringes of the Great Barrier Reef surrounded by the 74 picturesque Whitsunday Islands, Hamilton Island boasts spectacular weather, crystal waters, pristine beaches, amazing coral reefs, unique flora and fauna, gourmet food and wine and a huge range of activities. Already a popular holiday destination in its own right, the island comes to life during Race Week.
Founded in 1983 by Melbourne expat David Hutchen, Race Week was born through a joint decision by Hutchen and then owner of Hamilton Island Keith Williams. With just an idea to host a regatta in this popular port, the very first Race Week was held in April 1984 and despite the island having only just begun trade, the event attracted 93 vessels. Against inclement weather, the event thrived and continued to be popular for the next 8 years.
After 8 years of holding Race Week in April, in 1992 the event was moved to August which offered more settled and appealing weather, particularly for southern sailors who preferred to head north for the winter and into the warmed conditions of the tropics. In the last decade, the event has continued to gain momentum and popularity and now enjoys a reputation as the premier keelboat regatta of Australia.
Attendees of Hamilton Island Race Week enjoy an exciting mix of courses that take in the breathtaking Whitsundays as well as plenty of on-shore partying. The race format continues to evolve to keep up with changing trends, designs and handicapping systems, however, one thing remains the same; the fantastic carnival atmosphere that comes to town during Race Week. The entertaining nature of the event has seen it grow in popularity with couples, families and children making it an event for every kind of traveller.