HAMILTON ISLAND RACE WEEK 2018
Hamilton Island Race Week has a reputation for champagne sailing, and this year’s regatta was no exception for the Team Hollywood crew, including North Sails New Zealand sales and marketing manager Andrew Wills.
The team aboard the Botin Fast 40, launched in February this year, won every race on IRC to take out their division — while making the most of the entertainment and onshore activities on offer at the well-known regatta.
Team Hollywood was competing in the IRC 2 division against a mixed fleet of boats including another Fast 40, the Carkeek design Victoire (formerly Girls on Film), Lyons 60 Triton and Cookson 50 About Time.
© Salty Dingo
‘We had some really good racing with Victoire,’ Wills says. ‘Unfortunately for them, they were often leading for the first three-quarters of the race, and then we would come through at the end. It was great because we were always pushing each other, and that improved our corrected times.’
The regatta format was different this year, with no windward-leeward racing, just island courses.
‘It was really enjoyable sailing around all the islands,’ Wills says. ‘The area around Hamilton Island has such shifty geography and it’s so tidal, so there were lots of decisions to be made about which way to go around the different islands. Plus there is always lots to see — turtles and whales.’
Conditions for the regatta started out windy, then moderated as the week progressed. ‘There were some pretty big waves, and we certainly got wet on that first day,’ Wills says. ‘The Botin is an inshore-focused boat, but it still went really well in those conditions.’
Wills says a big factor in the boat’s success was its suite of sails from the North loft in Auckland, including 3Di RAW jibs designed by Mickey Ickert, which it was launched with earlier this year.
‘They’ve used them in a few regattas and the owner couldn’t be happier with them,’ Wills says. ‘We also tried some cool new things, too — the boat has a jib stick which connects to the mast and is used to pole out the clew, and you sheet off that. It gave another option on top of inboard and outboard sheeting, and it definitely gave us a couple of knots of extra speed at times.
‘The whole mast and boat package worked together really well. Our involvement right from the boat’s design, including the mast design, and of course the sail package, really paid off. The owner has also put together an excellent sailing team, and there was a great atmosphere on board.’
Team Hollywood not only won its own division but also the IRC boat of the week prize, for top IRC scoring boat. And as well as success on the water, the onshore activities lived up to Hamilton Island’s reputation, too.
‘The Oatleys really put on some awesome entertainment — they flew in some great bands and of course it was great to be a Kiwi there when the All Blacks won their two games,’ Wills says.
© Kurt Arrigo Photography