Audi Hamilton Island Race Week Posted by Gemma Christie - 24 February 2015 Bellowing, vibrant sails gracefully glide out of the marina, the colours striking against the blue Whitsundays sky. Every August, hundreds of yachts from around Australia and across the globe manoeuvre themselves into the optimum starting position off the Hamilton Island coast. An excited crowd watches on from the renowned Hamilton Island Yacht Club or from spectator boats in the distance. The atmosphere is electric. As the wind fills the eclectic sails, cheers erupt from on shore. They’re off! Sailing the Whitsunday Islands: Hamilton Island’s regatta attracts global appeal Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is the largest sailing regatta in the Southern Hemisphere and without a doubt one of the most coveted events on both the sporting and social calendar. Colourful yachts sailing through the Whitsunday Islands during Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. The week-long yachting event sees Hamilton Island and the Whitsunday Islands come alive with world class sailing, flowing champagne, glamorous fashion, culinary feasts, live music and a sense of excitement so palpable it’s infectious. Sailing in paradise – hundreds of yachts take part annually in Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. This unique annual event is one of the reasons why the Oatley family fell in love with Hamilton Island; in their opinion, the ultimate Whitsundays resort and slice of island paradise. In 2003, the family decided to purchase the destination and along with it, took on the organisation of the regatta. Thanks to the family’s passion for Australian sailing and the region, they have successfully taken the famed sailing regatta to new heights – an aspirational event which every year continues to make its mark on the global stage. As preparation begins for yet another world class regatta, this year promises to be no different. Audi Hamilton Island Race Week: A world-class food and wine experience Whether you’re a lover of the finer things or a traveller motivated by a world class food and wine, Audi Hamilton Island Race Week promises to deliver and exceed all expectations. Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is renowned for its world-class culinary experiences. It’s worth checking your annual leave balance now as the regatta never fails to draw the interest of acclaimed Australian and international chefs with each one adding their unique culinary prowess to the event’s anticipated on-shore calendar. This year, Audi ambassadors Matt Moran, Kylie Kwong and Shannon Bennett, alongside several other headline chefs yet to be confirmed, are set to delight guests once again with new and varied gastronomic experiences. The ticketed, and at times invite only events, are always beautifully styled with each event outdoing the year prior in terms of elegance and sheer wow factor. The coveted Charles Heidsieck Champagne Lunch However the jewel in the crown is without a doubt the Charles Heidsieck Champagne lunch; an event hosted traditionally on lay day (Wednesday of the week-long regatta) to ensure sailors, spectators and holiday makers alike can take part in the indulgence. The Charles Heidsieck Champagne Lunch at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is one not to be missed. World-class Charles Heidsieck champagne, a four-course meal from qualia’s Executive Chef, elegant styling, glamorous resort chic fashion and an enviable view of the Whitsundays all come together with effortlessly at Hamilton Island’s qualia. From this award-winning, luxury Great Barrier Reef resort voted consistently the best in Australia let alone the world, we simply can’t expect anything less! Due to the popularity of this exclusive event, in 2014, the Piper Heidsieck Champagne lunch was introduced. Tickets to both champagne lunch events are expected to sell out as quickly as one can devour a divine drop of French sparkling so be sure to check for details via the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week website for updates regarding event release dates so you don’t miss out. Soaking up the Whitsunday Island Resort heaven at the lay day pool party While some simply can’t lap up enough of the finest epicurean cuisine, others opt for a more laid back lay day, particularly if enjoying Audi Hamilton Island Race Week and a Queensland family holiday at the same time. Audi Hamilton Island Race Week’s popular lay day pool party. As the sailor’s “day off” gets underway, the resort pools and Catseye Beach come alive with people soaking up the glorious Hamilton Island weather and enjoying the company of family and friends all to the sound of chilled island beats. Hamilton Island Yacht Club – the ideal place to enjoy the world-class sailing Once the sailing resumes bright and early the next day, people are inevitably drawn to the famed Hamilton Island Yacht Club. The stunning architectural feat is the hub of excitement and activity during the week-long regatta thanks to its prime position overlooking the Hamilton Island Marina and race starting line. Hamilton Island Yacht Club – the hub of excitement throughout Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. Every day (apart from lay day) the Yacht Club draws a crowd of lively spectators wanting to soak up the excitement of the world class sailing – many of whom enjoy doing so with a glass of champagne in hand. Plenty of on-shore fun to be had If you wander down Front Street from the Yacht Club, the carnival atmosphere continues all the way along the Hamilton Island Marina. Audi’s tug-o-war down on Front St is one of many fun activities to be enjoyed throughout Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. Throughout the regatta, sailors, supporters and holiday makers gather along the street as they soak up live music, enjoy a relaxed bite to eat at one of the many Eat Street food stalls, take part in sports challenges including Audi’s popular tug-o-war or watch the popular annual Henri Lloyd fashion parade which always promises to be deliver a laugh and a lively crowd as game sailors strut the season’s latest trends. The Great Barrier Reef + Whitehaven Beach: Explore the beauty of the region Alongside the diverse on-shore calendar and world-class sailing, a key drawcard for many people travelling to Hamilton Island for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is the spectacular Whitsunday Islands location. With so many stunning natural wonders on its doorstep, Hamilton Island is the ideal island paradise base to explore the region. Whitehaven Beach – a trip to this spectacular natural wonder is great way to top off your Audi Hamilton Island Race Week experience. Whether you take a day off from watching or participating in the sailing or extend your holiday on either side of the regatta, be sure to make time to snorkel the awe inspiring Great Barrier Reef. Soar over the renowned Heart Reef. Fly or cruise out to Whitehaven Beach. Dive into the azure blue water. Feel the pure white sand between your toes. These bucket list experiences are the only way you could possibly make the excitement of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week any better! About the Author As Hamilton Island’s Communications Manager, Gemma is passionate about both writing and all things to do with Hamilton Island tropical island paradise. Sharing all the news, insights and interesting stories from the destination perfectly combines both loves. When not writing, Gemma can be found dancing for no reason, going out for breakfast, soaking up the beach or spending time with her family doing all of the above.