Australia’s premier yacht regatta, Hamilton Island Race Week, is destined to make a more than impressive resurgence after the Covid 19 pandemic caused the series to be cancelled last year.

Already 82 yachts have entered the acclaimed regatta which will be staged on the warm tropical waters of the Whitsunday Passage from August 21 to 28.

The first entry was a surprise. It was Bill Barry-Cotter with his recently purchased 54-footer, Maritimo. He and sailing master Michael Spies found the yacht in America and shipped it back to the Gold Coast where it was completely rebuilt. Barry-Cotter, who is considered Australia’s premier luxury motor-yacht builder, said he’s keen to get back under sail.

“We were planning to compete in the Hobart race,” Barry-Cotter said, “but when that race was called off we immediately set our sights on Hamilton Island Race Week. We are really looking forward to it.”

Current indications are that the entry list will top 100 within a fortnight. The largest fleet to have participated at Race Week was 252 in 2016.

“Considering the impact Covid 19 has had across Australia we are more than pleased to see the high level of interest being shown for Race Week this Year,” said veteran Race Director, Denis Thompson. “The size and type of yachts already entered represent an impressive cross-section of yacht design. There is everything from large 100% thoroughbred racers through to extremely comfortable cruising yachts, multihulls and small trailables.”

There is an added incentive for many yacht owners to be at Race Week this year. The sport’s governing body, Australian Sailing, has announced that the Australian Yachting Championships will be part of Hamilton Island Race Week for the next two years.

Hamilton Island Race Week has an impressive history. It was established following Australia’s historic victory in the America’s Cup in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1983. The inaugural regatta, staged in April 1984, attracted an outstanding fleet of 92 yachts which came from all points across Australia, including Perth.

Special accommodation packages are available now for Race Week 2021. The options include everything from 3-star to 6-star hotels as well as a range of self-catering holiday homes, which are a great option for crews. You can book now and get your pick of the houses available over these popular dates.

The Notice of Race and all details relating to Hamilton Island Race Week 2021 are on the website:

Main photo: HIRW 2019 fleet rounding Dent Island on day 2 of Race Week. Photo by Salty Dingo 2019