Australia’s internationally renowned Hamilton Island Race Week gets underway this Saturday evening with the traditional skipper’s sunset welcome party before racing commences Sunday August 20.

A forecast of consistent southeast trade winds building to 20 knots by Thursday is the perfect gift for close to 2,000 sailors crewing around 180 yachts, multihulls and trailables representing every Australian state as well as four Kiwi yachts and one from New Caledonia.

This edition celebrates a significant Hamilton Island milestone – 20 years since the Oatley family acquired the largest of the Whitsundays 74-island archipelago and gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.

“In 2003, the Oatley family purchased Hamilton Island and since then it has benefited from many spectacular additions, turning it into the world-class Australian holiday destination it is today,” said Island CEO Pete Brulisauer.

As guests arrive from around the country and overseas, the race management team and island event team are confident of delivering another exceptional regatta experience, even for non-sailors.

All divisions – from 100-foot maxis in the Rating Class to tiny trailables – will compete in the six-day pointscore series with Wednesday August 23 the scheduled lay day and mid-way point. It’s a day to rest and repair boats and bodies before crews knuckle down for the second half and last push to join an esteemed list of Race Week winners.

Matched to perfect outdoor winter conditions is an exciting new onshore festival of food, wine and daily entertainment for sailors and their guests including the House of Friends Fiesta by Casamigos Tequila (a new addition), and signature events like the Paspaley Luncheon and dinner with acclaimed French chef Guillaume Brahimi at qualia.

“We’ve worked hard in the planning phase and we’re excited to welcome everyone to Hamilton Island for what will be another unforgettable Race Week,” Brulisauer said.

Results will be available daily on the official website

View the list of entrants here

Main photo by Salty Dingo