One of the most colourful characters on the Australian ocean racing scene, Ray “Hollywood” Roberts, is planning on his recently launched Fast 40+ class offshore racer, Team Hollywood, being “a class act” at the 35th staging of Australia’s premier offshore regatta, Hamilton Island Race Week, in August.
The Fast 40+ is currently the fastest growing offshore racing class in England and is now spreading into Europe.
Roberts has already demonstrated Team Hollywood’s potential by winning the Williamstown to Geelong race in January and claiming an impressive third place on corrected time in the Brisbane to Gladstone Race at Easter.
Now it’s time for Race Week.
“I was at the inaugural Hamilton Island Race Week in 1984 and have been back more than 20 times since,” Roberts said, “Every one of those regattas has been special in its own way, both on shore and on the water. However, I’m hoping this year will be particularly special because Team Hollywood should be ideally suited to the tropical tradewind conditions we can expect for the series.”
Roberts described the Fast 40+ design as a smaller version of the internationally acclaimed TP 52 class.
“Like the TP52, the Fast 40+ is an exciting boat to race, so much so that I won’t be surprised if the class gets a solid foothold in Australia over the next few years.”
The fleet for Hamilton Island Race Week 2018 is expected to top 150 in a matter of days. The growth rate is faster than that experienced last year when a fleet of more than 200 took part. This year’s line-up already reflects the full spectrum of eligible yachts. They range from small trailables to cruising yachts large and small, multihulls and supermaxis.
Regatta Director, Denis Thompson, said it was pleasing to note how cruising yacht owners were embracing the new Hamilton Island Class for this year’s series.
“This category is designed to create a more equitable competition for cruising yachts, and it is already obvious competitors are realising that.” Thompson said.
All information relating to the regatta is on the website: www.hamiltonislandraceweek.com.au