21 May 2016

Hamilton Island Race Week 1984

An interesting post and photos regarding the inaugural Hamilton Island Race Week appeared in Sailing Anarchy recently. Huey 2 writes:

Colourful memories of the inaugural Hamilton Island Race Week in 1984 have surfaced this week, with the discovery of historic photos taken at the event.

The German Frers-designed Two Tonner Hitchhiker gets some air time while working upwind in fresh conditions during the 1984 Hamilton Island Race Week (photo Sandy Peacock)
The images are the work of Sandy Peacock, a Sydney-based advertising agency owner, who worked at the 1984 regatta as a yachting journalist and photographer. Peacock found 62 transparencies and a copy of the story he wrote about the event, in a long-forgotten box of images stored at his northern beaches home.
Jack Rooklyn's Ben Lexcen-designed Apollo slogs upwind during the 1984 Hamilton Island Race Week (photo Sandy Peacock)
For its first eight years, Hamilton Island Race Week was staged two weeks after Easter, but the unstable weather pattern at that time of year led to the series becoming known as 'Hamilton Island Rain Week' in the 'Wetsundays'.
An unknown yacht gets into trouble on a tight reach, the Holland-designed Too Impetuous to leeward (photo Sandy Peacock)
Fleet numbers were strong and the parties were legendary, but organisers eventually succumbed to the pressure of the wet season and rescheduled the series to late August.
The Doug Peterson-designed 44 footer Inch-by-Winch in post-race mode during the 1984 Hamilton Island Race Week (photo Sandy Peacock)
Sandy Peacock's images certainly reveal the mood swings of the weather that first year and they also confirm that among the impressive fleet of 93 competitors were some of the great yachts and famous names of the sport in that era.
Syd Fisher's Ragamuffin sails downwind under spinnaker and blooper (photo Sandy Peacock)
The two big maxis at the regatta in 1984 were Jack Rooklyn's Apollo, affectionately known as 'The Gherkin', because the hull was dark green, and Syd Fischer's Ragamuffin.
Apollo has a hard landing during the 1984 Hamilton Island Race Week (photo Sandy Peacock)
The sailing identities were too many to name, but there was no one more saluted than Hugh Treharne, who in September the previous year was tactician aboard Australia II when she won the America's Cup in Newport, Rhode Island. Ironically, it was when the island's then owner, Keith Williams, was in Newport watching Australia II win the cup that he came up with the idea for race week.
Inch-by-Winch's narrow lead over Hitchhiker looks short-lived after her spinnaker tears badly during the 1984 Hamilton Island Race Week (photo from Australia's Year of Sail - 2)

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