The biggest change on the social agenda will come on the lay-day during the regatta. A massive party for competing sailors, their families and friends, is being planned for Thursday, 27 August, at the soon to be opened Hamilton Island Golf Club, which is located on Dent Island immediately adjacent to Hamilton Island. It will involve a wide range of fun activities atop the island.
On the water there will be a short, pre-party race which, for most divisions, will embrace a stimulating racing concept that’s new to Race Week; one that will bring added interest and challenges.
These great additions to Race Week will replace the Whitehaven Beach Day, which for reason’s beyond the control of Hamilton Island management and regatta organisers, is no longer viable.
“In the early days of Race Week the Whitehaven party was a wonderful experience,” said Hamilton Island’s CEO, Glenn Bourke. “It was just for the yachties and their friends, and everyone had a great time. But the success of the party has brought its downfall. It’s staged in a public domain, and in recent years it has become a party for all-comers. It’s no longer a Race Week party just for our participants - there are more outsiders than Race Week competitors and guests on the beach. This has caused us great concern: from behind the scenes I can say that the party has become alarmingly close to causing us major problems. We find ourselves in a position where if there is a problem associated with an outsider it will almost certainly reflect back on Race Week and Hamilton Island, simply because it is a Race Week event.
“So, considering the problems we faced, and having an increasing number of long-time Race Week sailors saying ‘enough’, we have decided to bring back the true spirit that Race Week was built on. This party on Dent Island will return us to the times where there was great camaraderie and rivalry between the crews in an environment that is their own. It’s where everyone can really enjoy themselves.”
Glenn Bourke, who is a multi-world champion, America’s Cup and Olympic yachtsman, added that plans for the party were well on the way to being finalised and details would be announced soon.
In a unique change to the racing format AHIRW’s Race Director, Denis Thompson, plans to stage a short sprint race for all Race Week divisions on the morning of the Dent Island party day. For all but the IRC classes these races will involve what is historically known as a ‘Mark Foy’ start – a handicap or pursuit start. The IRC yachts will have their own sprint race with a conventional scratch start.
The races will be timed so that all participants and their guests can head to the Dent Island party immediately after finishing.
AHIRW ‘09 will be staged over 22-29 August.