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It’s taken John Moore and one of his crew six days, 5,342 kilometres, 2,600 litres of fuel, three tires, two exhaust mufflers, two mudguards and one ‘Oversize’ sign to get to his first Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week.

Moore’s Swarbrick 10.2 Without Fear is one of five Western Australian entries in the 159 strong fleet but he is the only one who has travelled with his boat the length of the country to be on the start line tomorrow for race one, the UBS South Molle/Daydream Island Race.

“We thought it would be more fun to bring our own that charter something,” laughs Moore who bought the trailer the 1983 America’s Cup winning yacht Australia II was “carted around the country on”, then bought the truck to tow it and finally, qualified for his truck license.

Moore and his crew hail from Mandurah which is 80ks south of Perth and are members of the Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club. “A few committees combined to come up with that name,” he jokes. Moore is hoping their efforts to make the start will be matched by their on water efforts and that when the PHS trophies are divvied up in just over a week’s time, he might have a small memento to take back home.


Geoff Boettcher’s Reichel/Pugh 46 Hardys Secret Mens Business has also travelled to Hamilton Island unconventionally. “After a new keel bulb was fitted and trialled, it then had to be removed to adhere to the trucking height restrictions,” said Boettcher

“We had to put the boat on a truck and cover some 2,000 cross country miles to make the start line in time”.

The crew of Hardys Secret Mens Business met the boat at Airlie Beach to refit the bulb. “We are ready to rock and roll,” said Boettcher. The rivalry between the two Reichel/Pugh 46s should be entertaining,” he added, referring to the impending one design contest with Graeme Troon’s Victorian XLR8 in amongst the fancied IRC Racing division.

After striking engine trouble at Southport early this week, it was touch and go whether the Sydney Inglis/Murray 50 UBS Wild Thing would make it to Hamilton Island at all. The engine was repaired twice before the delivery crew finally set off, luckily with a 25 knot sou’easter on their side. Over the past three days the remainder of the crew have been anxiously awaiting updates and today they were told by a relieved owner/skipper Geoff Lavis to head to the airport as the boat pulled into Hamilton Island Harbour this afternoon.

An overwhelming NSW contingent will line up for Race 1 at 10.00am tomorrow but also represented is New Zealand, Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland.

North Sails weather forecaster Kenn Batt is predicting SE/E breezes at 10-15 knots possibly up to 20 knots for the first day of racing.

Tonight skippers and crews will join regatta organisers and sponsors for the Skipper’s Welcome party which officially marks the start of Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week.  

 Skandia’s woes deliver handicap win to Hamilton Island owner


It was a case of ‘catch me if you can’ as Grant Wharington’s 30m maxi Skandia from Melbourne lead the fleet following the start in Dent Passage of the 23 mile UBS South Molle/Daydream Island, the first event of Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week.

Then unexpectedly, as Skandia reached Long Island, a spinnaker sheet block blew out in the freshening breeze and the huge blue kite had to be dropped. The situation then went from bad to worse. As the crew was hoisting the lighter weight spinnaker, it shredded, costing Wharington plenty in dollars and time.

 Skandia as she appeared in the Sydney Mackay with the big blue kite.

 Bob Oatley’s Reichel/Pugh 66 Wild Oats X, skippered by Mark Richards, seized the opportunity and powered away from the bigger boat followed by Steven David’s Wild Joe. It wasn’t until the final long tack from North Molle Island towards Henning Island and the finish line that Skandia’s waterline length saw her reclaim her place at the front of the fleet and this time, nothing was going to get in the way of a line honours win.

“We had a fantastic start then our day was pretty much wrecked when we blew out a spinnaker block,” said Wharington following his finish at 12.07pm this afternoon. “Up the beat we managed to pull Wild Oats X back by 11 minutes which was encouraging,” he added.

While it was still a pretty quick lap around the course, the time it cost Skandia to recover from their onboard woes was the difference between a race record with a finish time 16 minutes the wrong side of record time.

It was a different story on board Wild Oats X with a brilliant first day for Hamilton Island owner Bob Oatley who picked up a narrow 26 second handicap win over his former boat Wild Joe, and was accompanied over the finish line in second place by three whales.

“The quality is very high and there is plenty of good competition,” said Oatley dockside this afternoon.

Starting in a building sou’easter and ebb tide, the IRC Racing division followed the IRC Big Boats off from the start line. Michael Hiatt’s Living Doll, Anatole Masfen’s Pussy Galore chose a winning pin end start while Graeme Troon’s XLR8 and Bruce Eddington’s Mumm 30 Kato went for the island end.

This fleet eventually merged at north Dent Island to begin an exhilarating downhill slide to the Molle Islands. Most managed to hold on in the conditions but it was all too much for Kevin Miller’s Quest of Queensland which broached spectacularly.

Lachlan Murdoch at the helm of his Swan 82 Ipixuna was relaxed as he waved to the media boat, sailing in the Premier Cruising Yacht division.


 Wild Oats X ... Jack Atley photo


Long drag race for a trophy


The knockabout Western Australian skipper John Moore who famously travelled the length of the country from south of Perth to Hamilton Island with his boat, Without Fear, on a trailer has collected his first regatta trophy with a win in the Performance Handicap class in today’s UBS South Molle/Daydream Island Race.

The crew of Without Fear have lifted their performance considerably from last week’s Airlie Beach regatta and today managed to outclass Guy & Clark Holbert’s Rumbo and Rod Sawyer’s Surefoot which finished third in this division. founder Graeme Wood and his Sydney 47 Wot’s Next sailed a brilliant first race to be declared winner of the Premier Cruising Class ahead of the husband and wife team of Colin and Gladys Woods and their Beneteau 47.7 Pretty Fly II.

“We had a less than spectacular start after we were pinned under the Swan 82 Ipixuna for the best part of 10 minutes,” said Wood this afternoon.

“The fleet got away from us but we started pulling them up once we rounded the corner at North Molle Island and then had a great sequence coming across upwind. The boys were on fire!” Wood added.

In the huge IRC Cruising Class, Luke McGrath’s Greater Springfield managed a five minute handicap win over the nearest boat, Ray Harris’ Honeysuckle and Rodney Jones’ Alegria.

In the tough fought Sydney 38 one design class, Stephen Kulmar’s Shining Sea was the boat of the day with newcomer Limit, looking dangerous having recently won the Sydney 38 division of the Sydney Mooloolaba Yacht Race and finishing second today. Alan Brierty only took charge of his brand new Sydney 38 a month ago and he and his Sharpie crew have found early form.

“Those Western Australians proved to be tricky,” admitted a crewmember on defending champion Transfusion, owned by Guido Belgiorno-Nettis and wife Michelle, which finished third in division today.

For full results go to the Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week website click Here.


Demolition derby for Cruising division start


The ‘demolition derby class’, as one onlooker described the Cruising Division, didn’t disappoint with at least two incidents just seconds before the start of today’s Club Marine Long Island Race, the second day of racing at Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race week

When the optimistic skipper on the Beneteau 390 Risque tried to come across the starting pack on port tack, Brendan Hunt’s Lumina Vitae and Hamish and Michele Petrie’s Ngak Ngak came together then Lumina Vitae and Risque locked rigs forcing both to subsequently retire with mast damage. David Bell’s Sydney based Four Bells also had their day shortened when their backstay broke.

In the confusion at the pin end of the start line Pat Guidice and Brian Pattinson’s bright yellow modified Open 60 Gusto from Melbourne missed the start line and had to re-round.

Bought two years ago from John Biddlecombe, who designed and rebuilt the boat from its original Whitbread hull, this cruiser/racer Open 60 is contesting its first Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week and the crew is out to have plenty of fun.

Gusto recently won the two handed division of the inaugural South Pacific Boomerang Race from Melbourne to Mackay via Vanuatu.

Today’s conditions mirrored yesterday, the opening day of the 23rd Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week with 15-20 knot sou’easters however with the later 11.00am start time, the tides were pushing against the fleet.

First to reach the first mark of the course was Ross Muir’s Beneteau 47.3 Muir but on the reach across the Whitsunday Passage, they weren’t able to hold onto their early race lead and slipped back.

Dayne Sharp’s Beneteau 40.7 RYA also got off to a great start, choosing to stay out of the incoming tide by sailing close to Dent Island. Best of the smaller boats was Roger Down’s Farr 11.6 True Love.

Reaburn Reynold’s Marisa, the smallest boat in the 159 strong fleet competing at this regatta buried the larger boats when she snuck up the western shore of Dent Island and came out on a winning tack across Whitsunday Passage.

The oldest boat in the fleet, Nigel Stokes 1964 built classic Fidelis, had an honorary guest aboard in the former America’s Cup sailor Sir James Hardy who took the helm for part of the race and looked every bit the experienced ocean racing yachtsman that he is.

The Cruising Division is contesting the 23 nautical Club Marine Long Island Race while the IRC Big Boats, IRC Racing, Sydney 38’s, Performance Handicap, Premier Cruising and IRC Cruising divisions set off at 8.00am this morning on a 60 miler, the Club Marine Short Coral Sea Race. Grant Wharington’s Skandia has claimed her second line honours win for the week finishing at 1332 hours this afternoon. Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats X is enjoying a screaming run to the finish and is due to cross shortly.

Tomorrow all divisions will enjoy a lay day and many skippers and crew will attend the sold out Moet & Chandon lunch.

Full results for the Cruising Division and all divisions will be available this afternoon, CLICK HERE

Living Doll living it up following IRC Racing win


Michael Hiatt has locked off the canting keel of his Victorian Cookson 50 Living Doll for this year’s Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week and he believes this is giving him the edge in the all important handicap stakes.

In today’s 60 miler, the longest race of the week long regatta, he claimed top billing in the IRC Racing division which, added to yesterday’s third, makes him the early series leader.


 Living Doll coming into Mackay.

“”We got a great start and just kept plugging away, we are pretty well balanced at the moment,” said the delighted owner this afternoon.

“After seven days racing last week at Airlie Beach we are ready for the windward/leewards,” he added, referring to the two days of short course racing on Tuesday and Wednesday following tomorrow’s lay day.

Living Doll out paced fellow Victorian and Cookson 50 owner Eoin Fehsenfeld and yesterday’s IRC Racing winner Hardys Secret Mens Business, skippered by Adelaide yachtsman Geoff Boettcher.

In the IRC Big Boat fleet, Steven David summed up his handicap win with his Reichel/Pugh 60 Wild Joe this afternoon, “We smoked it!”

The Sydney crew is settling into the boat and David says “it’s game on” with the slightly larger but same design Wild Oats X, skippered by the cool Mark Richards who put the first points on the board in Race one yesterday and finished third today behind Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki.

“We had more confidence in the boat today,” said David. “We are always good in the light stuff but over the last month we’ve been working on improving our boat speed in the 15-20 knot range and today that paid for us.”

Today’s sou’easter averaged 13-15 knots up to 17 knots.

With boats in the Sydney 38, Performance Handicap, Premier Cruising and IRC Cruising divisions still finishing the Club Marine Short Coral Sea Race late this afternoon, final results in these divisions are yet to be posted.

The Cruising Division results are available now and the results for the divisions yet to finish will be available throughout the evening from HERE.


 Shining Sea’s perfect scorecard at Hamilton Island


Stephen Kulmar’s Sydney 38 Shining Sea from Sydney has finished the first two days of Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week with a perfect scorecard. But defending champion Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’s Transfusion is applying plenty of heat in this exciting one design contest.

The boats and sails are identical and they are competing in identical conditions so performance is squarely on the shoulders of the skipper and crew, the reason many opt for this genre of sailing.

After yesterday’s Club Marine Edward Island Race, Shining Sea, with Jann ‘Clogs’ Scholten as tactician, is three points ahead of Transfusion which has notched up a third and a second so far.

“We’ve sailed almost 90 miles for two points, by the end of tomorrow’s shorter races it could be a completely different picture,” said a relaxed Kulmar as he and the other 1,500 or so sailors contesting this year’s Hamilton Island Race Week enjoyed today’s layday.

Kulmar is well known in sailing circles having completed 17 Rolex Sydney Hobarts and six Admiral’s Cups. These days he prefers the fact he can easily organise himself and his crew around five or six major Sydney 38 regattas a year, and still run his business.

Alan Brierty’s Limit, David Calvert Syndicate’s Rush and Gordon Ketelbey’s Zen are on equal points in third place in the Sydney 38 division.

Tomorrow the IRC Big Boat, IRC Racing, Sydney 38’s and Performance Handicap divisions will switch from long passages to round the buoys racing with two 12 mile windward/leeward races starting from 11.00am between Catseye Bay and Craig Point to the north east of Hamilton Island.

On the longer passages, crews might have the opportunity to cover a mistake or a bad call from the tactician further up the racetrack but in the short windward/leewards, there is no room for error, particularly given the talent sailing in the Sydney 38 division.

Kulmar acknowledges this fact, “We had a terrible start yesterday but we sailed them down. You can’t do that in the shorter races.”

Tomorrow the Premier Cruising, IRC Cruising and Cruising divisions will complete another medium distance passage of 20 miles starting from 11.00am.

The forecast for the next few days is for NE/NW breezes starting below 10 knots tomorrow but building back up to 15-20 knots by Thursday. After two days of lively sou’easters, a change in wind direction and pressure will suit some and not others. Kulmar’s not fussed either way.

“I think we are faster than Transfusion in a breeze but if it goes light, it will be a different ball game. We’ll be happy either way,” he said today.

Full results from yesterday’s 60 mile Club Marine Short Coral Sea Race which finished last night are available from This Site


 22/8/06.. 1030hrs

Sunglasses and glass outs on day 3 at

Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week


‘Glass out’ is not a word the 159 crews who are preparing for day three of racing at Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week want to hear but that’s the prediction for the start at 11.00am this morning.

Today’s North Sails weather forecast means racing could be postponed until the “conditions are sailable” which the Race Office explains means “at least 5 knots from a relatively steady direction”.

“The forecast for the early part of the day is not too impressive,” admits regatta director Warwick Hoban.

But it’s not all bad news, with numbers expected to increase, possibly as high as 14-16 knots this afternoon once the nor’easterlies, which are unusual for this time of year when sou’east trade winds normally dominate, provide a cooling breeze on what will be the hottest day so far in this week long regatta, the temperature expected to reach 27 degrees.

Feelings are mixed on the dock this morning but it’s hard to be too pessimistic given the glorious surroundings.

Wild Joe crewman Cameron Miles says they are delighted with the forecast. “We prefer it light. Hopefully we can nudge the others, one in particular, a bit harder in the light stuff,” he said, referring to the handicap tussle between their boat, which was built and campaigned by Bob Oatley and is now owned by Steven David, and Oatley’s current Wild Oats X. Just one point separates the two boats in the pointscore with Wild Joe narrowly leading after two races.

The non canting keelers are also pleased with the forecast, Stephen Ainsworth, skipper of Loki, saying this morning “the canting keel boats won’t have the opportunity to use the leverage they get from their canting keels in light airs.”

He’s also looking forward to some tight round the cans racing. “The windward/leewards will suit us”.


 Stephen Ainsworth's Loki, Jack Atley photo

On board the heavy Bavaria 49 Four Bells, which had its race shortened when they broke their backstay block in Sunday’s Club Marine Long Island Race, ‘glass out’ is unwelcome terminology. “We are a heavy boat that needs 15-20 knots to get going. We are crossing our fingers it will come in a bit stronger,” said a crew member this morning.

IRC Big Boats will kick off today’s racing at 11.00am with the IRC, Sydney 38s and Performance Handicap divisions following at five minute intervals. The second 12 miler will begin as soon as practicable after the completion of the first race.

The Premier Cruising and IRC Cruising divisions will begin their 20 mile race at 11.00am from a different start line and the Cruising yachts will follow at 11.05am.

 Oh buoy, Skandia goes fishing as IRC gets tactical

22/08/06 1730hrs

Race one of today’s windward/leeward courses belonged to Stephen Ainsworth’s Reichel/Pugh 60 Loki which won the start and cleverly sailed opposite tacks to Grant Wharington’s Skandia, just trailing its much larger nemesis at every turning mark.

After three laps of the course, there was less than a boat length, a Skandia size boat length that is, between first and second as Loki was forced to duck the 30m Melbourne maxi’s stern right on the finish line.

With Tony Kirby at the wheel and Gordon Maguire weaving his magic as tactician, Loki sailed a text book race to score their first handicap win of the series. Maguire has done a lot of work with the crew recently and Ainsworth with the help of America’s Cup sailor and sail maker Michael Coxon has made some changes to the rig for better upwind performance.

After a short postponement of the start of race one, the IRC Big Boat fleet got away, Loki winning the start and never giving up her advantage. Mark Richards at the helm of Wild Oats found himself in unfamiliar territory, forced up and over the line by Skandia before the starting signal had fired.

Having to do a U turn and start again put Wild Oats well back and although by the final downwind run the Reichel/Pugh 66 had pegged back Dick Cawse’s Vanguard, she never recovered, the crew sombre at the finish knowing their loss was another’s gain in the all important pointscore.

Dick Cawse’s Cawse/Lyons 60 Vanguard, Loki’s closest rival when it comes to size and boat speed, placed second on handicap in race one and third across the finish line and third on handicap was Steven David’s Wild Joe.

In the IRC Racing Division, Eoin Fehsenfeld’s Cookson 50 Aero from Melbourne won the start and lead around the course only to make a crucial error which was coined ‘Aero’s error’.

Contrary to the Sailing Instructions, Aero began to follow the IRC Big Boats for a third leg which allowed Pussy Galore to slip through and grab the win. Geoff Boettcher’s Hardys Secret Mens Business from South Australia followed Pussy Galore to the finish while Aero, which realised its mistake when the crew heard the finish gun fire behind them, turned back to cross in third place, the crew obviously disappointed they gave away a line honours win.

Geoff Boettcher scored his second IRC Racing win in this morning’s race which gave him a comfortable pointscore lead heading into this afternoon’s race and despite a fourth in Race 2, his worst result so far, he still leads this division.


  Hardys Secret Mens Business, Jack Atley photo

“We haven’t sailed in light airs since we modified the boat,” said Boettcher this afternoon. “We’ve added 450 kilos to the keel bulb to help us upwind and it has.” Boettcher, who will have to shout his crew another dinner tonight as per their agreement, realises there is a long way to go.

“We are only half way in, we’re not getting too excited yet,” he said this afternoon.

In the Performance Handicap division, CYCA Commodore Geoff Lavis sailed a good race to finish first over the line with his Inglis/Murray 50 USB Wild Thing but it was the little Mumm 30 Rumbo, owned by Guy and Clark Holbert who stole the show in the handicap stakes, scoring its first win in race one today and following this up with another win in race two to be five points clear in the pointscore.

Race one was sailed in a light and patchy sea breeze, all crews moving slowly and quietly across the decks in the tacks before settling in on the leeward rail to keep the weight down and the boats moving.

As the afternoon progressed, the breeze filled in slightly, hovering between 6-8 knots under a cloudless blue sky before it began to fade in and out in places.

Race two got underway at 2.20pm, Grant Wharington’s Skandia, Steven David’s Wild Joe and Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats all hitting the line at pace. Wild Oats’ helmsman Mark Richards wasn’t going to make the same mistake at the start twice then, when Skandia went a little too close to the top turning mark and became ensnared, Wild Oats X slipped into first place in the IRC Big Boat fleet.

Skandia, stopped dead in its tracks, was skewing from side to side as the crew tried to free the buoy and tackle from underneath the hull. A nearby committee vessel spotted the drama and quickly moved in to replace the missing mark before Wild Oats arrived at the scene. In the end Skandia’s crew wasn’t able to free the buoy and were forced to cut the rope, taking the buoy with them on deck. As they freed themselves the crew gave Wharington a cheer which he saluted as they called it a day and headed back to the marina.

Steven David’s Reichel/Pugh 60 Wild Joe scored its second win of the series in race two this afternoon, race four of the series, to be just two points ahead of Loki in the IRC Big Boat Division.


In the IRC Racing fleet, Ray Roberts’ DK46 Quantum Racing collected its first win in race two this afternoon, beating the Reichel/Pugh 48 XLR8 on corrected time.


Full results for the windward/leewards and the today’s 20 mile race for the Premier Cruising, IRC Cruising and Cruising divisions are available from




Holy cow, watch out for the whales!

23/08/06 1740hrs

With the start of the scheduled 20 mile race for the Premier Cruising, IRC Cruising and Cruising divisions delayed for two hours, some crews took the opportunity to cool off by diving into the warm turquoise water of the Whitsundays.

The scheduled start time of 11.00am came and went before the course was moved closer to Whitsunday Island. As race organisers waited for the breeze to settle in from one direction so the starting sequence could begin, the large cruising fleet crisscrossed the starting vessel, crews patiently watching for the postponement flag to be dropped.

Finally the light nor’wester clocked around the dial before settling in from the nor’east at around six knots which allowed racing to get underway. The Premier Cruising and IRC Cruising fleets were sent on a four mile work to the top turning mark, an altered and shortened course, before a lovely spinnaker run to the finish in Dent Passage.

After a great start by Matthew Percy’s Alacrity, Phil Edmiston & Friends’ Liesl and Stephen Mackay’s Cabernet Sauvignon, the Premier Cruising Class split tacks, some heading close to the Whitsunday Island shoreline while the rest tacked off to the right, prepared to take on the opposing tide in the search for greater pressure.

Laurence Freedman’s Espresso Forte and Graeme Wood’s Wot’s Next went left and snuck along the beach which paid handsomely, rounding the top mark in first place ahead of the Swan 82 Ipixuna and Greg MacMahon’s Afternoon.

This manoeuvre set them up for the rest of the race although Wot’s Next managed to climb over Espresso Forte to finish first on handicap, their third from four races in the Premier Cruising class which puts them equal first in the pointscore with Paul Clitheroe’s Balance.

In the IRC Cruising division, Luke McGrath’s Sydney 36 Greater Springfield sailed an exceptional race to be firmly placed at the top of the pointscore ahead of Ray Harris’ Beneteau 44.7 Honeysuckle which finished third in today’s race.

Following the second start five minutes later, the red, white and blue Cruising classes tacked away towards Hamilton Island on a separate shortened course. As this fleet headed towards Dungurra Island, John Clinton’s Holy Cow reported a whale and calf on the racetrack. The information was relayed to the fleet with all skippers advised to keep a watch out.

Holy Cow, with The Wolverines country band front man John Clinton at the helm, has the perfect thing for scaring away whales which stray onto the racetrack - a cow bell mounted on the stern rail to complement their cow print headsail!

By 3.00pm, as the IRC Cruising and Premier Cruising divisions cutting a swathe through the IRC fleets preparing for the start of their second windward/leeward race, a decent sou’easter had finally filled in and there was excitement in the air.

After a slow start to the day, with spinnakers filled the cruising divisions enjoyed a lively downhill run to the entrance of Dent Passage. But this is where the race restarted for many.

“Everyone came around the corner with their spinnakers up and we all stopped dead in no wind and with the tide against us,” said Adrian Cass, crew member on Ross Muir’s Beneteau 47.3 called Muir. “There were some sudden dramatic changes in positions; we dropped 20 places just in the passage.”

Muir is being campaigned at Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week by three brothers, Ross, John and Greg Muir, who are from the famous Tasmanian sailing family of boat builders, ship chandlers and sailors. They also have a father and son combination on board.

Results for the Premier Cruising, IRC Cruising and Cruising classes are available from


Over the half way mark at

Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week

23/08/06 1945hrs

Six from nine races for the IRC Big Boat, IRC Racing, Performance Handicap and Sydney 38 divisions have now been completed at Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week which will conclude this Saturday, 26 August with the final event, the Lindeman Island Race.

Following today's two windward/leeward races, Steven David’s Wild Joe is leading the IRC Big Boat division on handicap with 7 points, just 3 points ahead of Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki on 10 points and Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats on 12 points.

In the IRC Racing division, Geoff Boettcher’s Hardys Secret Mens Business from South Australia is inching towards a regatta win, currently on 13 points, 1 point ahead of Ray Roberts’ Quantum Racing on 14 points and Graeme Troon’s XLR8 on 16 points.

There are two standouts in the Sydney 38 one design division, Steve Kulmar’s Shining Sea on 7 points and Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’ Transfusion, the defending champion, on 9 points before a large separation back to the third placed boat, Steven Proud’s Swish on 18 points.

Series points in the Performance Handicap division have Guy and Clark Holbert’s Rumbo still at the top of the leaderboard on 9 points with John Moore’s Western Australian entry Without Fear and CYCA Commodore Geoff Lavis’ UBS Wild Thing both on 16 points and in equal second.

Four of six races have now been sailed for the Premier Cruising, IRC Cruising and Cruising classes with tomorrow a lay day and cruise to the beautiful Whitehaven Beach while the IRC Big Boats, IRC Racing and Sydney 38s will race to this destination, ranked one of the world’s top ten beaches, for the XXXX Whitehaven Beach Party.

Graeme Wood’s is sharing the lead in the Premier Cruising division with Paul Clitheroe’s Balance, both on 9 points, Colin and Gladys Woods’ Pretty Fly II rounding the top three places off in third on 17 points.

In the IRC Cruising Class, Luke McGrath’s Greater Springfield is the best placed yacht on 7 points ahead of Ray Harris’ Honeysuckle on 12 points and David Beak’s Mr Beaks Ribs on 21 points.

Dick Knoop, who hails from Bruny Island in Tasmania, is leading the Cruising Red division with the boat he designed, Magellan, on 14 points. Roger Down’s True Love is next with 16 points and Brad and Maryke Baker’s Spirit is third in division on 23 points.

In the Cruising white division, John Barter’s L’attitude is the pointscore leader on 13 points, a comfortable 5 points clear of John Bankart’s Sunshine Coast Sailing on 18 points. Third is Dudley Jacob’s Rag Top.

In the Cruising blue division, William McMillian’s Nessie, one of the smallest boats in the 159-strong fleet, is sitting in first place on 14 points, 4 points ahead of Doug Ryan’s Magic and Rosie Colahan’s Ingenue, both on 18 points.

Finally, in the Cruising non-spinnaker class, Dave Short’s Pro Beat Passion (5 points) is indeed beating its nearest rival, Bryan Hudson’s Catalyst, which is on 8 points and in equal second with Noel Sneddon’s Inca.

Full results for every division are available from


Wizards and women on water!!

24/08/06 1000hrs


The Wizard with Team Boutique!  Terri Dodds photos

In the sport of sailing generally men outnumber women. But on two yachts competing at this year’s Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week, the women have banded together and banned the blokes.

Gail Branhoff from the Mornington Yacht Club in Victoria decided she had listened long enough to the men boasting about what a great time they’d had at Race Week at Hamilton Island, Australia’s largest yachting regatta. She dreamt of putting a crew together and entering a boat and this year she and skipper Di Kemp have chartered the Sunsail Jeaneau 32 Way to Go.

Half the crew are grandmothers yet they are not here to relax, they’ve rolled up their sleeves, ditched their husbands and hit the water.

“It’s another one I can cross off the list,” said Branhoff. “We are having a ball!”

They’ve received plenty of encouragement, standing ovations and even kisses from fellow competitors, not the norm on the docks when a day’s racing has ended. And they are proud of their results so far, “we’ve learnt so much because there is no one else here to do it.”

Julie and David Tait hail from Melbourne but keep their Radford 14 at Mackay Marina. Julie has entered The Wizard for the first time at Race Week sailing with an all women crew. David is allowed on board but he is not allowed to play any part once the starter’s gun has fired.

“David comes with us to help us tie up at the marina at the end of the day, he’s not allowed to do anything else,” laughs Julie.

From a platform in the stern of the boat, where he can be found from time to time, David has to keep his comments to himself, which can be hard for him admits Julie.

“There are different dynamics sailing with only women…..a different energy,” says Julie who also has daughter Vanessa, 27, on board. “There are no egos to trip over and no yelling,” she adds.

Built for the 2003 Melbourne Osaka Race, David will contest this event again next year in the double handed division before he and Julie head to Alaska via the Aleutian Islands for an extended two year cruise.

To help support their Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week campaign, Julie and her crew sought support from Mackay businesses. Six signed up - Emeco International, Ivery Mining, Peter Hansen Real Estate, The Deck and Boutique Marine - and as part of the agreement supplied crew shirts, five different coloured shirts for every crew member, one for each day of racing, and The Coastal Passage providing publicity.

So what happens on the final day of racing this Saturday, day six of this regatta?

The bright pink shirts, the team’s favourite, they wore on day one will be worn again this Saturday to signal the end of Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week for the crew of The Wizard.



 Roulettes buzz Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week action

24/08/06 1530hrs

The 30m maxi Skandia today claimed its second line honours win of the series, a better result for skipper Grant Wharington who has suffered a number of mishaps and been shown up in the short course racing over the last two days by Mark Richards at the helm of Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats.


Jack Atley photo

The day began when the Roulettes, the Royal Australian Air Force’s aerial acrobatic team, buzzed Hamilton Island and the masts of the almost 160 yachts contesting Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week.

The IRC Big Boat, IRC Racing, Sydney 38s and Performance Handicap divisions headed out for the 10.00am start and were again faced with an ocean that resembled a mill pond. But the signs were positive promised the locals, mist in the air and clouds building up from the north east.

After a change of course and more than an hour’s postponement, during which time crews took the opportunity to again enjoy some waterskiing and swimming, the race committee let the fleet go in the light 5 knot sea breeze which made for picture perfect sailing.

Due to the conditions, the fleet was finished offshore rather than at the traditional finish line off Whitehaven Beach before they joined their cruising counterparts for the XXXX Whitehaven Beach Party.

Skandia and Wild Oats were just eight seconds apart at the first top mark rounding but by the finish of the Whitehaven Race, Skandia had extended that margin to a handy one minute lead as they crossed ahead of Wild Oats. Next boat was Steven David’s Wild Joe which claimed her fourth handicap win today and can almost taste an IRC Big Boat overall handicap win, and fourth was Loki, this result leaving her second in the pointscore.

Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki again triumphed over Dick Cawse’s Vanguard today, despite Vanguard leading her 60 foot adversary around the top mark.

In the IRC Racing division, Michael Hiatt’s Living Doll and Graeme Troon’s XLR8 jumped the gun at the start, both having to sail back around the pin and restart. This was a heavy penalty to carry for both boats, finishing tenth and eleventh on handicap respectively, their worst results so far.


After a slow start to the regatta, Ray Roberts’ Quantum Racing from Sydney has found its groove and today they scored their third handicap win to move into first place in the IRC Racing division ahead of Hardys Secret Mens Business and XLR8.


Quantum Racing Jack Atley photo

Steve Kulmar scored his fourth win in the Sydney 38 division today with Shining Sea and is looking unbeatable with two races to be sailed. Steven Proud’s Swish finished in second place today and David Calvert Syndicate’s Rush placed third over the line.

Despite a fifth today, Transfusion is still second in the Sydney 38 pointscore and Swish is third.


The Roulettes will be back this afternoon for another fly over and tomorrow night one of the social highlights of the week, the Pirate Ship Mardi Gras and Street Parade will wind its way along Front Street from 7.30pm. To celebrate the closing stages of Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week, boat crews and locals will dress up in fancy dress and ride their floats past the restaurants and those who line the street to watch the parade.


 Black boats battle in Performance Handicap

24/08/06 1800hrs


Jack Atley photo

The battle between the two big black hulled boats of the Performance Handicap fleet continues between Geoff Lavis’ UBS Wild Thing and Sandy Anderson’s

A friendly rivalry exists between the two as each day at the Hahn Premium Race Week at Hamilton Island, the Inglis/Murray 50 UBS Wild Thing, owned by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Commodore Lavis, and Anderson’s have battled for line honours supremacy.

Going into today’s 15 nautical mile Whitehaven Race, the two were three apiece and it was on again. Both from Sydney, the pair struggled for pole position at the pin end of the line, sailing up the windward beat neck and neck and that’s how it was for the rest of the race.

At the finish line, it was UBS Wild Thing over first, a mere 15 seconds or so in front of the larger former Volvo Ocean Race boat giving Lavis a one race advantage.

With only two days remaining in the series, in which the two will contest the 30 mile Baynham Island and the 22 mile Lindeman Island races, the gloves will be off to see which takes the title. Lavis is also in contention for a podium place in the overall standings, currently placed third overall.

A competitor of most major Australian east coast offshore yacht races, Lavis and his wife Pip and crew nearly did not make it to Hamilton Island at all this year. Reoccurring engine trouble near Southport almost prevented them from making the start line on the first day. is better known as Andrew Short Marine. It has just been sold by Andrew Short who will now concentrate on his Farr 40 sailing.

In the Performance Handicap pointscore, Guy and Clark Holbert’s little Mumm 30 Rumbo, is proving tough to shift out of the top spot, today picking up her fourth handicap win. John Moore’s Without Fear has managed to slip ahead of Geoff Lavis’ UBS Wild Thing by one point, currently running second.

Today’s Whitehaven race started one hour late as race officials waited for breeze to arrive and when it did it was a light 4-5 knots. A beautiful sunny day out enjoyed by competitors and spectators alike, once the racing was over, all adjourned to beautiful Whitehaven Beach to enjoy a well earned lunch and a few drinks.

Racing resumes tomorrow.


Wolf in sheep’s clothing sails 2,000 miles to contest first

Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week

25/08/06 1200hrs

Dick Knoop left his island home on 25 June and has sailed some 2,000 nautical miles over six weeks with his timber yacht Magellan to be on the start line for his first Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week.

Sailing from his home on Bruny Island off the south coast of Tasmania, Knoop’s yacht is the only true Tasmanian entry in the nearly 160 strong fleet, the rest chartering local boats for this week long regatta which concludes tomorrow, Saturday 26 August.

Magellan, an all timber cruiser racer with a fibre glass overlay so it looks like the more modern yachts, is punching above its weight in its first Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week. Currently leading its division by two points heading into today’s penultimate race this ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ is getting good starts and finding clear air early.

Built from western red cedar and laminated swamp gum frames, Knoop says the hardwood is stronger, lighter and will last longer than the more modern products. Designed by his brother Walter and built by Huon Yachts on the Huon River as a one-off, Dick also played an important role in the boat’s design and construction.

Knoop is a director of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania and as the CEO of Hobart Ports, now Tas Ports, was a key player in the finish activities of the Rolex Sydney Hobart until his retirement.

Today marks the forth day of little breeze but rather than following the start boat around while the Race Committee try to set a start line, the fleet is still ashore.

The scheduled 10.00am start of the Baynham Island Race for the IRC and PHD boats and the 20 mile race for the Premier Cruising, IRC Cruising and Cruising classes has been postponed for an hour while the Race Committee search offshore for breeze. They are currently looking at their options and will decide shortly whether to move, shorten or change the courses altogether.

Tomorrow’s final race before the official presentation dinner is the 22 mile Lindeman Island Race when all divisions will come together on the same start line at 9.30am in Catseye Bay.

 Wild Joe and Shining Sea shine in the handicap stakes at Hamilton Island

25/08/06 1830hrs

Steven David’s Reichel/Pugh 60 Wild Joe has wrapped up the IRC Big Boat results with one race to sail in this year’s Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week.


Jack Atley photo

In today’s 20 mile race, renamed the ‘Friday Special’ after the original Baynham Island Race was changed to a reverse South Molle Island Race to suit the conditions, Wild Joe scored a second on handicap thereby cementing her supremacy at the big end of town.

A jubilant Steven David said after last year’s second on handicap to Wild Oats at this regatta “the plan was always to go one better”.

“Last year we couldn’t get near Wild Oats but this year it was a light air regatta which the boat loves. Today we had to finish no worse than one point behind Loki and we managed that and came home with the result we needed.”

David says he never backed off, never underestimated the competition. “The plan for today was to keep it clean, sail our own race and keep the crew work nice and tidy.”

Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki has been on a steep learning curve since it made its debut this time last year. They posed the biggest threat to Wild Joe’s top placing but couldn’t match the winning performance of David and his crew and have to be satisfied with second on overall divisional results ahead of Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats in third.

“We managed to split the canting keelers,” said a delighted Ainsworth this afternoon referring to their second on the grid in between Wild Joe and Wild Oats. “These were our conditions, the canting keel boats couldn’t use their keels to their advantage in the light stuff,” he added.

After Loki’s first two regattas last year, Ainsworth realised jumping successfully from a 48 foot Swan to a fast 60 foot grand prix IRC racer was going to take some time. He has also modified the boat since its launch, adding ballast, changing the rig and enlarging the rudder, and put time into crew work.

Loki is a definite for this year’s Rolex Trophy in Sydney in December, the next major IRC regatta, and for the Boxing Day start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart while Steven David will commit to the former but hasn’t decided whether he’ll be heading south at Christmas.

In the spirit of competition David will race in tomorrow’s final Lindeman Island Race but will relax the crew numbers and give some of his guests a taste of big boat sailing in the Whitsundays at Australia’s largest yachting regatta.

The Sydney 38s completed three windward/leewards today, Steve Kulmar’s two wins locking up the divisional results for this veteran campaigner.

“Two wins and a third today has made us very happy. Today’s races were all about boat placement,” Kulmar said as they celebrated their win over defending champions Guido and Michelle Belgiorno-Nettis’ Transfusion in second.

“I’ve got the best crew here, we started well and we kept out of trouble at the marks,” Kulmar added. “This is a great regatta and even thought we don’t need to, we will race tomorrow and we will be racing to win. Hopefully we’ll get a bit more wind,” he added.

Results for the remaining divisions will be determined following tomorrow’s Lindeman Island Race which is due to kick off at 9:30am from Catseye Bay for all divisions.

Full results from today are available at

 Tensions high before final altered course

at Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week

26/08/06 0900hrs

The start of the final race of Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week has been postponed with the IRC Big Boats due to get away at 10.15am this morning on an altered 19 mile course.

The Race Committee was up early scouring for breeze before the decision was made to start the fleet in Dent Passage this morning and send them around the Molle Islands rather than the originally planned 23 mile Lindeman Island Race.

Currently a light nor’wester is blowing and the North Sails weather forecast predicts this will clock right to a nor’easter and increase to 12-14 knots by mid afternoon.

The IRC Big Boats, IRC Racing, Performance Handicap, Sydney 38s, IRC Cruising and Premier Cruising fleets will start at five minute intervals in Dent Passage before rounding the Molle Islands to port and heading back to the Dent Island finish line.

The Cruising fleets will be sent on a 10 mile course and after starting in Dent Passage will round a laid buoy near Denman Island before also finishing at the Dent Island finish line.

Final handicap results in many divisions are riding on today’s closing race so tensions are high around the docks this morning.

 Quantum wrests IRC trophy from the Hardys boat


Sydney yachtsman Ray Roberts and his crew finally put an end to the fight for the Hahn Premium Race Week IRC Racing trophy at Hamilton Island today, beating his nemesis Geoff Boettcher by one place and a matter of just over one minute on corrected time.

And although they did not win the final race today, finishing fourth to Boettcher’s fifth, Roberts and his DK46 Quantum Racing crew were thrilled all the same, as this is the third straight regatta they have won.

Roberts came to Hamilton Island having concurrently won the Sydney-Mooloolaba Yacht Race in July and Airlie Beach Race Week which preceded this event – the trifecta and the first boat to claim the three titles in one year.

In the past year, Roberts has also won the Rolex Trophy Series, Skandia Geelong Week and international regattas including the Kings Cup and Royal Langkawi International Regatta with second places at the Sydney-Gold Coast Yacht Race and Sailing South Week in Tasmania – a rather impressive feat.

“It makes me and the crew sound like superstars,” Roberts said dockside this afternoon, “but we’re not – the wins have been close, like this one today. None of the wins came easy.”

“We knew to beat Geoff we had to get a good start and then match race him up the windward part of the course. We accomplished that and only just did enough downwind – it was close. At one stage a couple of our new guys panicked and we lost our bowman Gerard Smith over the side after rounding North Molle. He was dunked like a teabag, so we have nicknamed him Gerry Teabag Smith,” Roberts said.

However, the smiles said it all. “Yes, we’re all very happy about our win – we had great racing, the competition was tough, especially against Hardys Secret Mens Business and XLR8.

Roberts went on to compliment his core crew: “Steve McConaghy (on tactics), Jamie Wilmot, Stu Broom, Brian Northcote (navigator) and Scott Hinton – they are the best. We are a tight knit crew and we add to that group at the various regattas.”

For Boettcher and his Reichel/Pugh 46 Hardys Secret Mens Business crew it was a very disappointing day. Coming all the way from Adelaide in South Australia, the Hardys crew had the early series advantage with 1-3-1 results.

However, as Boettcher pointed out, “unfortunately we didn’t get all the Island races in, there were courses shortened, almost windward/leewards and that’s when our chances went out the window – it suited the DK46’s much better, we are better in the longer ocean type races.”

However, Boettcher was complimentary of the winners: “Of course I congratulate Ray and his crew; they did a great job and although we are feeling a little down, we can’t complain, we came second overall – that’s something to be pleased about. The only competition we get in South Australia is against a Beneteau 40.7, so to come to Hamilton Island and finish second – well, that’s just great.

The South Australian businessman also complimented his main crew, Steve Kemp, Sean Kirkjian and Brad Stephens. “They did a great job, actually they all did a great job on the boat, I couldn’t be happier.”

Both boats have the 2006 Rolex Sydney-Hobart on their agenda. “Last Hobart I beat Ray by 30 seconds in our division – so I guess it was his turn here at Hamilton Island.”

Hardys Secret Mens Business’ sistership, XLR8 owned by Victorian Graeme Troon and steered by Johnny Savage finished third in today’s final race to finish the regatta third overall. Their crew featured some of the best sailors around including Ross Lloyd and Olympic Gold medallist Tom King.

 Final results decided at Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week


Today’s closing race of the 23rd Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week signalled the end of a week’s racing in the beautiful Whitsunday Islands and confirmed final handicap placings across the ten divisions.

The week began with strong sou’easterly breezes before a high pressure system descended over the racetrack, raising temperatures and forcing crews to seek alternate forms of on-water entertainment including waterskiing, swimming, whale watching and spinnaker surfing while they waited for the nor’easters to roll in – and they did.

Starts were delayed and courses were altered for the last five days of racing but competitors took it in their stride and made the most of the lighter conditions to herald the regatta another huge success.

IRC Big Boat results were finalised yesterday however the overall handicap winner Steven David’s Wild Joe (12 points) and Stephen Ainsworth’s second placed Loki (14 points) still sailed today’s 19 mile course around the Molle Islands. Bob Oatley’s third placed Wild Oats (22 points) suffered a mishap on the start line today and retired leaving Grant Wharington’s Skandia to its final line honours win.

Sydney yachtsman Ray Roberts and his crew finally put an end to the fight for the Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week IRC Racing trophy, beating his nemesis Geoff Boettcher and his Reichel/Pugh 46 Hardys Secret Mens Business from South Australia by just two points. Quantum Racing finished on 21 points, Secret Mens on 23 points and their sistership XLR8, owned by Ballarat based businessman Graeme Troon and helmed by John Savage, finished third on 31 points.

Steve Kulmar’s Shining Sea finished the regatta on 13 points, the clear overall winner in the Sydney 38 division. Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’ defending champion Transfusion, which also sailed a short race today after finding themselves on the bricks off Dent Island, finished second in division on 24 points and Steve Proud’s Swish finished third on 34 points.

The smaller boats dominated the Performance Handicap division, Guy and Clarke Holbert’s Rumbo leading the pointscore following Tuesday’s two windward/leewards and never giving away the advantage to finish first on 19 points. John Moore’s Swarbrick 10.2 which was trucked 5,342 miles from Mandurah south of Perth finished second in division on 23 points ahead of CYCA Commodore Geoff Lavis’ Inglis/Murray 50 UBS Wild Thing on 29 points.

In the Premier Cruising Class Graeme Wood’s Sydney 47 overcame a bad start today to hitch a ride on the stern wave of UBS Wild Thing on the winning downhill slide to the finish.

“We went out today with two clear goals, a clean start in clear air and we didn’t manage either. Luckily we had a get out of gaol free card when UBS dragged us at least 100 metres on the run to the finish to put us in a great spot against Balance,” said Wood, the founder of, this afternoon.

Wood sailed this regatta with a top crew including the legendary Ron Jacobs and a number of rock stars from Bob Steel’s former Quest “who were boatless when my mine popped out of the mould,” said Woods.

Paul Clitheroe’s Balance (9 points), a sistership to Wot’s Next, finished second overall in the Premier Cruising class by three points and Laurence Freedman’s Espresso Forte finished off the podium places in third on 19 points.

“We’ve been campaigning this boat for nine months and they’ve only had a month in the water, that’s the difference. It was great having another Sydney 47 beside us, they really lifted us against the rest of the fleet,” added Woods

In the IRC Cruising Class, Ray Harris, with veteran Rolex Sydney Hobart yachtsman Michael Spies calling tactics, picked up his first Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week win with his Beneteau 44.7 Honeysuckle. Results in this division also went down to the wire, Honeysuckle winning today’s final race to finish with a handy three point lead over Rod Wills’ Greater Springfield (11 points) at closing time.

“We won it in the last race,” said Harris this afternoon. “We were the fastest boat out there today, the crew sailed the boat incredibly well.”

Harris has been sailing with some of his crew for the best part of 11 years and today’s win is a career highlight.

Greg MacMahon’s Beneteau 44.6 Afternoon finished third in the IRC Cruising division on 18 points.

In the Cruising Red division, the husband and wife team of Brad and Maryke from Gladstone who also had two of their three sons on board for this regatta, sailed superbly to claim the divisional win with their Beneteau 423 Spirit.

“The handicapping was spot on because six or seven boats in our division could have beaten us going into today. You always come to a regatta thinking you’ll do your best but…well we are still bit stunned,” admitted Brad once results were posted.

Will Barker, 25, and Tom Barker, who is making a name for himself in the Sydney youth match racing scene, were joined this week by some of the crew of the 1998 Sydney Hobart overall winner AFR Midnight Rambler including skipper Ed Psaltis and brother Arthur.

In the Cruising White division, John Bankart’s Jeanneau 37 Sunshine Coast Sailing finished ahead of the rest on 18 points, three points clear of John Barter’s Dehler 41 L’attitude and Ross Muir’s Beneteau 47.3 Muir from Brisbane.

While today’s race wasn’t one of their best, William McMillian’s Sonata 8 Nessie, one of the smallest boats in the 159 strong fleet, still managed to be the best placed in the Cruising Blue division when final points were tallied, finishing on 15 points, three ahead of Dean Corbett’s Jeanneau 40 Silhouette on 18 points. Grant Chipper field’s Clubman 8 The Joker from Mornington in Victoria finished third on 21 points.

In the closest results across all divisions, Dave Short’s Hunter 33 Pro Beat Passion (7 points) beat its closest Cruising Non-Spinnaker comrade, Bryan Hudson’s Catalyst, by just one point with another one point back to the third placed Inca, skippered by Noel Sneddon from Canberra.

Tonight all prize winners will receive their trophies at the official presentation dinner.

Full results, stories and photographs from this year’s Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week can be found at or