Hamilton Island managing director Wayne KIRKPATRICK (AUS) says the sponsorship demonstrates Hamilton Island's commitment to developing the potential of young people. Hamilton Island is no stranger to sponsorship for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race having sponsored George Snow's yacht Brindabella since 1997. Brindabella is the sentimental favourite in the fleet, having taken line honours in 1997, placed as runner-up many times, and being a multi-course race record holder including setting the fastest time by a conventionally-ballasted yacht in the 1999 Sydney Hobart Race.
'Hamilton Island is delighted to be associated with two impressive yachts this year - at both ends of the spectrum with Brindabella being one of the largest yachts in the fleet with some of the most experienced crew and Team Melbourne University sailing one of the smallest yachts in the race with the youngest crew,' says Kirkpatrick.
While Team Melbourne Uni celebrates its success, the news is not so good for Queenslander Craig COULSEN's 43-footer Trumpcard, which has suffered yet another stroke of bad luck.
The first boat forced to withdraw from the 2002 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race following a collision with another yacht just minutes after the start, Trumpcard has been forced out of this year's event after suffering damage during a violent storm which hit the Queensland coast on Monday.
Trumpcard was out of the water and on the hardstand of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron being prepared for her sail to Sydney in time for the Boxing start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race when the boat beside her was blown over, taking out Trumpcard's mast on its way.
'No one can promise us a new mast in time for the race. The only way we can get there is if we are able to charter a yacht and we're looking into that right now,' a disappointed Coulsen told 'The Daily Telegraph'.
Michael ROPER's Ropabull has also withdrawn from the 60th anniversary race as has Chris WAY's Easy Tiger.
This leaves a fleet of 118 starters for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race which starts on December 26 from Sydney Harbour