Hamilton Island Race Week Preview

Doyle Sails are excited to have our team back on the ground in the stunning Whitsunday Islands, Australia, for this year’s Hamilton Island Race Week. As Australia’s largest keelboat regatta, it promises to be another year of action-packed schedules for the sailors and spectators alike and we will be keeping you across the Doyle-powered yachts all week.  

Hamilton Island Race Week is the pinnacle of the Australian sailing calendar, where thousands of sailors descend on the island paradise looking to take home one of the most prestigious trophies. 

As the reigning HIRW IRC and ORC champions, ALIVE will be looking to secure the top spot two years in a row after posting a brilliant result last week in the Brisbane to Hamilton Island feeder race. Duncan Hine’s RP66 had a blinder of a race up the east coast of Australia with Doyle Sails Grand Prix expert and ocean racing veteran Justin Ferris at the helm. The team, who have since placed 3rd at the Airlie Beach Race Week last week, have now turned their focus to HIRW with Stu Bannatyne stepping into skipper for the event. 

The 52 fleet will once again be a tight contest as David Doherty and the MATADOR crew will be looking to hold on to their momentum with a string of regatta wins this year in Sydney. Matador will line up against fellow Sydney yacht KOA, with co-owners Peter Wrigley and Andy Kearnan looking to keep the momentum. The pair bought TP52 Koa in 2015 and have continued to campaign the yacht at a very high level for the past few years. Koa placed second on IRC in Division 1 at Airlie Beach Race Week, with Mark Tolhurst, known for his success in the 5.5 Metre and Etchells classes, at the helm.

After a successful season in New Zealand and winning the Round North Island Race, Graham Matthews decided a change of scene was in order and bought his Marten 55/Botin Carkeek 55 EQUILIBRIUM across the Tasman to escape the New Zealand winter and enjoy some picturesque sailing. The Kiwi team have made the most of their time here so far, and last week, won their Performance Cruising Division at Airlie Beach Race Week.

The south-east trade winds are forecast to arrive right on time for day one of Hamilton Island Race Week, which starts on Sunday 20thAugust with a traditional Round the Islands race. Fan favourites, Popeye and Craig Douglas and his team are back in Division 3. The Beneteau First 47.7 claimed 1st in IRC Division 1 and 3rd in IRC overall in the 2023 RPAYC Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race earlier this year, and finished 2nd overall in their division at Magnetic Island Race Week in 2022. 

Keep an eye on socials to follow along as the week unfolds.

ABOUT DOYLE SAILS //  Doyle Sails strives to deliver success through high-performance, high-quality, custom sails that continue to redefine the boundaries of sailmaking technology and innovation; whilst connecting sailors to inspire, support and encourage sailing.

Our obsession with sailing takes us to every corner of the world and onboard every yacht. We become part of teams, share in the adventures of friends and families, sharing our knowledge and experience with those with the same passion. Sailing is in our DNA, and we are the custodians of a legacy that has been supporting sailors for four decades and counting.

By sailors, for sailors.

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