Australia’s Most Competitive Yachting Championships To Date • Live Sail Die

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The best grand prix yachts and multihulls from Australia and overseas will take to the waters for the 2022 Australian Yachting Championships (AYC) at Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays, where racing takes place from August 21-27.

All the big names are there, starting with the 100 footers, Wild Oats XI (Oatley family) and Andoo Comanche (John Winning Jr). The two will face off for the first time since the Noakes Sydney Gold Coast yacht race in July. Andoo Comanche, who recently returned to the country earlier this year, won this battle, but the two events are polar opposites.

Will it be the owners of Hamilton Island racing on home turf or Andoo Comanche (NSW), who have quickly established that they are still a force to be reckoned with? Everyone has the tracks on the board.

100 feet aside, you can’t get past defending Division A champion Matt Allen with Ichi Ban striving for four straight AYC titles. With the 2021 championships canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Allen last won in 2020.

Other TP52 owners will give no quarter and see it as a misery on the ground for Ichi Ban (NSW). Among them are South Australian Geoff Boettcher (SA) with Secret Mens Business, Zen (Gordon Ketelbey, NSW), David Doherty’s Matador (NSW) and Max Klink skippered Caro, representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and the RORC of the UK.

According to Boettcher, “We were lucky to improve our handicap with smaller sails. Caro I believe will be as fast as Ichi Ban and I hope they fight on the course.

“What we need to do is finish a few boat lengths behind them and our handicap will take care of the rest.”

One of the best in the industry is Ray Roberts with Team Hollywood. NSW’s Botin 40 just cleaned up at Airlie Beach Race Week (ABRW) and the crew’s work was smooth.

The same can be said for Garry Holt’s modernized Adams 10, Get It On, Division 2 winner at ABRW and a hot crew to finish it. Add to the mix Hamilton Island Sandy Oatley with RP30, Hamilton Island Wild Oats.

Also throwing their money in the ring, Grant Wharington skippered Botin 80 Stefan Racing and Bill Barry-Cotter’s Schumacher 54 Maritimo of Queensland, Phillip Turner’s RP66 Alive (Tas) and David Griffith’s JV62 Whisper (NSW) ).

Photo by Beau Outteridge

All the major competitors are packed to the gunwales with what yachtsmen call ‘rock stars’, the best of the best ports in Australia and overseas.

In the Multihull division, there are two stars. Michel Van Der Zwaard and his Extreme 40, Angus and Rex, the ORMA 60 will be skippered by Dale Mitchell, eternal multihull winner. Both are from the Whitsunday Sailing Club and know each other’s strengths well, having raced against each other regularly.

Mitchell says: “We were able to beat Michel at Airlie Beach Race Week two years ago and I think Hamilton Island suits us better. We look forward to the week with good wind forecasts.

“We just have to get out and navigate the course as fast as we can and not worry about other people,” concluded Mitchell, whose brother Blair and regular crew ensure teamwork will go smoothly.

This is just a preview of what’s to come, with many more capable of stepping onto the podium.

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The Australian Yachting Championships are held in conjunction with Hamilton Island Race Week. Sunday starts the championships with a short race around the islands. Five other races will be run over a variety of short and long courses as well as upwind/downwind races. The laying day is set for Wednesday.

For full results and news, please visit: www.yachtingchamps.org.au

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