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2 July 2004, 10:44 am
Hot Fleet Prepares For August Regatta
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Hamilton Island Race Week
Hamilton Island, Whitsundays

Hamilton Island's Hahn Premium Race Week has attracted an international standard fleet to contest the 21st Anniversary regatta on the warm waters of the Whitsunday Islands from August 21-28.
www.sail-world.com/hamilton2004/index.cfm?CKid=0The regatta officially ranked as Australia's premier Race Week has come of age by attracting a number of high profile entries representing clubs from USA, Great Britain, Switzerland, New Zealand and all Australian States and Territories.

George SNOW'S famed Australian maxi Brindabella named after the beautiful Brindabella Range near Canberra will carry her C1 sail registration into the Big Boat class battle against the best yachts from the Pacific region.

They include the Stewart THWAITES owned and skippered 30m New Zealand maxi Zana which slashed the Auckland to Noumea race record last month.

Zana now sailing at peak performance is race prepared to resume her tactical 'dog-fight' to win the prestigious Hahn Premium Race Week line honours title against the equally impressive Victorian maxi Skandia helmed by Grant WHARINGTON.

Skandia unbeaten since her narrow line honours win over Zana in the Rolex Sydney-Hobart race has also proved she is on the pace by slashing the Brisbane to Gladstone race record in April.

The line honours match race between these two big boats will be a feature of Race Week 2004, however they will need to produce a special performance to out pace the impressive group of smaller yachts to win the Big Boat class championship with the fastest corrected handicap aggregate points.

Bob OATLEY'S Wild Oats, the 2002 champion and winner of the Admirals Cup in England in 2003 has the proven form to be ranked as the title favourite to win the class championship.

However there will be little margin for error in what promises to be a very interesting boat on boat mate against mate match race against the defending champion Another Duchess skippered by Bob OATLEY'S son Sandy and victorious Admirals Cup team winning skipper Colin O'NEIL in Aftershock.

All three similar size sloops have the potential to win with the result determined by which crew, skipper and tactician make the least time consuming errors.

The form of the Matt ALLEN skippered Australian IRC champion Ichi Ban also commands respect and she will be in the thick of the tactical fight to decide the champion Big Boat when the final race is decided off Hamilton Island on Saturday 28 August.
Ian Grant (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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