by Rob Mundle
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2014 is being held from 16th to 23rd August 2014. There is a vast contrast between the tropical pleasures and vibrancy of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week and the spiritual experiences to be found in Varanasi, in central India – one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
Heading north: Megan McCormick relaxes in the cockpit of Pohono, the Bavaria 41 she and partner, Andrew Williams, will race at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2014
But, there is a link.
This year, Sydney sailors Andrew Williams and Megan McCormick will be sampling both.
Right now they are enjoying annual leave from business on Sydney’s northern beaches by touring the palaces and temples of ancient Varanasi, ‘the temple city’, which is on the banks of the Ganges River.
In May they will be in a completely different world, cruising their Bavaria 41, Pohono, north to the balmy Whitsunday Islands so they can compete in the cruising division at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2014.
Despite owning the yacht for five years and enjoying racing on Sydney Harbour and Pittwater, the couple is yet to race Pohono in a major regatta. Their decision to do so this year saw them decide to go straight to the top: they entered Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2014 – Australia’s premier offshore regatta.
Such was their enthusiasm that they lodged their entry immediately – more than eight months before the event, which will be staged from August 16 to 23. In doing so, Pohono became the first yacht to be registered for the series.
'A huge word of encouragement came from Megan's doctor, Hugh Torode, who had raced his boat, Shepherd Centre, at Hamilton Island Race Week last year,' Andrew explained. 'He was there to celebrate his 60th birthday, as well as to race, and he raved to Megan that it was the best week of his life.
'He couldn’t stress enough that the regatta was a 'must do', so we decided to enter for this year’s Race Week, and to drag family and friends with us.'
Among those friends will be Australian Olympic sailor Matt Hayes, but that will be the one contribution to any serious side of the racing. The rest of the action on shore and afloat will relate to having fun.
Five yachts are already entered for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2014. The Notice of Race and entry form are on the regatta website.
The regatta is open to the full spectrum of keelboats and multihulls.
Luxury carmaker, Audi, returns as the title sponsor of Hamilton Island Race Week in 2014. The German premium brand will host a range of special events on the island for yacht owners and guests to enjoy during the week.
The signature shot: The fleet at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week stretches out across the beautiful tropical waters of the Whitsunday Passage. - Audi Hamilton Island Race Week