Described by The Australian as “the State’s most hedonistic sporting event”, Hamilton Island Race Week’s fabulous combination of spectacular sailing and onshore events never fails to deliver a week full of incredible energy, and attracts entrants from all over the world.
“We are delighted to once again welcome back sailors and supporters to Hamilton Island Race Week,” said Hamilton Island CEO, Peter Brulisauer. “This event embodies our island’s passion for sailing, world-class hospitality and celebrates our stunning natural surroundings.”
Onshore events at Hamilton Island Race Week
“Hamilton Island is a fantasy,” said Former Momofuku Seiobo chef Paul Carmichael, who was brought in to create a seafood-laden feast for more than 150 guests at the beginning of last year’s event. Visitors can stay up to date with details of onshore events, as they’re released, here.
It’s the unbeatable blend of glamour and adrenaline that makes Hamilton Island Race Week special, with impeccable attention to detail on all fronts, albeit fuelled by a continuous flow of Piper and Charles Heidsieck champagne.
The onshore events during the day are perfect for sailors whose partners aren’t into the competitive side, and then during the evening the island comes alive with music, a range of dining options and special events. Lay Day is always anticipated, with the pool party of the year, and fireworks make for unforgettable Instagram moments.
For the serious business of sailing, the entries range from trailer boats through to the iconic super-maxis such as Wild Oats, owned by the Oatley family. This means that for the spectators, there’s plenty of action to see on the start and finish lines.
How to get involved in the racing at Hamilton Island Race Week
While most guests on island are only able to view each day’s racing from the shore, a select few have the opportunity to book a place on the Volvo ocean 60 ‘Merit’ and become part of the action. Merit has contested many offshore races since coming to Australia, sailing under various names, including Telcoinabox Merit, News Corp, Line 7 and most recently as Stratco Racing. Merit set a record for the 408 nautical mile Gosford to Lord Howe Island Race in 2002, and won the overall Performance Handicap System in the 2008 Sydney to Hobart Yacht race.
Owner/skipper Michael Schwarzel has developed a compact training method that ensures each person on board is given a role that suits their skills, and that even the most experienced sailors get the opportunity to pick up something new. Guests refer to it as ‘the experience of a lifetime’, and once they’ve had a taste of it, many return for more.
At the time of writing, 9 of the 16 places are taken for sailing on ‘Merit’ in Hamilton Island Race Week 2023, and because accommodation on the island fills up quickly, it is wise to book early.
Two days of training are provided: induction to the vessel and a little tacking/gybing practice on Day 1, then it’s spinnakers on Day 2 – learn more about what’s involved in the training days here.
Get the full details and book your place on ‘Merit’ for Hamilton Island Race Week