After a two-year hiatus the internationally acclaimed regatta at Hayman Island, in the Whitsundays, is to be revived as a result of enthusiastic support from yacht owners across Australia.
It has been confirmed that the 'The Hayman Regatta' will be staged from Monday, August 30 through to Saturday, September 4 - immediately following Race Week at nearby Hamilton Island. This means that yacht owners and crews competing in the Whitsundays in August this year will now have a choice of anywhere between one and three regattas to contest - Hog's Breath Race Week out of Airlie Beach, Race Week at Hamilton Island and now the Hayman Regatta.
Previous regattas at Hayman have been deemed unique in presentation both on and off the water, so much so that sailors who have competed at the world's leading regattas see Hayman was among the best. Already the owners of more than 15 highly competitive yachts in Australia have signalled their desire to attend this year. And the head of Nautor Swan in Australia, Michael BELL, has promised that a prestigious prize will be awarded for Swan yachts competing at the Hayman Regatta.
The new and fully optimised Beneteau 44.7, Planet Ark, owned by Sydney's David MASON, is the latest yacht to join the growing fleet for this year's revitalized Hayman Regatta which will be sailed on the waters of the Whitsunday Passage between July 30 and September 4.
Sailing Master Neville WITTEY, whose company JC Yachting has coordinated the development of the yacht, has worked with Mason to put Hayman on Planet Ark's regatta agenda because of the unique and exciting nature of the event.
"It's one of the best places in the world to sail out of; it's Five Star sailing,"
Wittey said. "To be able to come away with the crystal IRC Championship trophy from Hayman would be a fitting reward for the owner who has gone to great lengths to ensure this boat is fully up to speed."
Wittey said that the extensive optimisation programme for Planet Ark included refinement of the keel, rudder and propeller plus carbon fibre sails.
But Mason and Wittey are not likely to get everything their own way at Hayman. Another Sydneysider, Geoff ROSS, is currently working on his championship winning Rolf VROLIJK designed 52-footer, Yendys, with Hayman very much in his sights. Ross is having her converted from an IMS rating configuration to a fully optimised IRC racer.
"I'm very happy with what the designer has come up with and am looking forward to putting her new configuration to the test at Hayman,"
Ross said. "It's the northern regatta I'm working towards this year," said Ross. "I'm really looking forward to it. It's a special event, unlike anything in Australia."
While the emphasis at the new Hayman Regatta is away from the 'Big Boat' theme there are already some big boats signalling they'll be there. The Volvo 60 Andrew Short Marine, sailed by Andrew SHORT, is the first of that class to lodge an entry while Andy SORIANO has completed an entry form for his Swan 80, Maligaya, which he will be bringing south from the Philippines. The anticipated fleet of Swans at Hayman will be racing for their own prestigious Swan Gold Cup.
At the opposite end of the scale enthusiastic Townsville sailor Wayne MILLAR will be a starter with his well travelled and competitive 41-footer Zoe while David PESCUD, who won the PHS Division at the last Hayman event, has said he will be racing.
The accolades Hayman has received following previous regattas have been exceptional. Prominent English yachtsman Hugh AGNEW, who raced aboard British entry Aera, said: "This series is the best of everything we've come to know over the years. It has the intimacy of Nioularge in France, the scenery of Sardinia, the breezes of Antigua and the challenges of the tides of Cowes. It's the best."
Australia's Iain MURRAY said "Does it get any better - great regatta, great harbour, great resort."
Sir James HARDY lent his support, saying "the best regatta I had been to was at the Aga Khan's Costa Smeralda in Sardinia. This series is better."
Organisers have said that the Hayman Regatta will be open to the widest range of offshore yachts, however it is possible that the size of the fleet will be limited by the accommodation capacity of the resort. The regatta will be promoted overseas as well as in Australia. All the most popular features of previous regattas at Hayman will be retained, including the magnificent Yacht Owners' Dinner in the resort's Formal Garden. There will be special accommodation/meal packages arranged to bring Hayman's Five Star experience within reach of the crews.
Hayman, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, confirmed its standing in the world of luxury accommodation in 2003. Included in the many awards the resort received were - The Best Luxury Accommodation/Hall of Fame at the Australian Tourism Awards; The Best Hotel/Resort in Australia at the National Travel Industry Awards; being included in Elite Traveller's 'Pure Decadence' list, and being recognised in the World's Top 100 by the UK's Conde Naste Traveller.
A Notice of Race for the Hayman Regatta will be released shortly. To register your interest in competing, or for more details, please contact Rob Mundle Promotions - (02) 9997 1126 or Rob.Mundle@bigpond.com.au