In addition to the Bledisloe Cup, the two top teams of ocean racing sailors from Australia and New Zealand will be kicking off a week-long battle to decide who will win the South Pacific Trophy. In the meantime, the trans-Tasman rugby rivals are getting ready for their showdown in Sydney tomorrow evening, 1500 kilometres away to the north.
And, like the Bledisloe Cup, it will be the kiwis defending the prize. At the same time, the two fastest offshore sailboats in the southern hemisphere, both ORMA 60 class trimaran yachts, and one from each side of the Tasman, will be vying for top honours in another event at the same regatta.
The contest for the South Pacific Trophy will be one of many highlights at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week – Australia’s premier regatta for offshore yachts.
The Australian team to challenge the kiwis was announced today. All are Grand Prix Division yachts – the TP 52 category racers Hooligan (Marcus Blackmore, NSW) and Yendys (Geoff Ross, NSW), plus the 50-footer Terra Firma (Nicholas Bartels, Vic). Hooligan is the defending Race Week champion.
New Zealand will also be represented by two TP52s – Georgia (Jim Farmer and Chris Meads) and Kia Kaha (Chris Hornell). The third team yacht is the very competitive Ker 40 yacht Ice Breaker (Connel McLaren).
The growing stature of the South Pacific Trophy series led to the unveiling today of a magnificent new perpetual trophy which will recognise the winner of the biennial event. Hamilton Island’s Brand and Event Manager, Nicky Tindill – a sailing enthusiast – came up with the concept for the trophy and had glass sculpture specialist, Bruce Dodds, from Sydney, make it a reality. It comprises three glass sails, each one symbolic of a team yacht.
The South Pacific Trophy will remain on permanent display at Hamilton Island Yacht Club. The winning team from each series will be duly recognised on a plaque on its base.
The trimaran showdown will be between Team Australia, sailed by Sean Langman, and Team Vodafone, skippered by kiwi yachtsman Simon Hull. It will be the first time these two incredibly fast sailboats have met in a regatta situation, and they will be going for bragging rights over just which yacht is the fastest in this part of the world. With both boats easily capable of speeds in excess of 30 knots, this clash promises to be yet another highlight at Race Week.
Additionally, there will be one other new trophy for the taking at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week this year. Commandante Gianfraco Alberini, the head of the International Maxi Yacht Association, based in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, has donated a rectangular silver plaque to recognise the top performing maxi yacht at each Race Week. Three yachts will vie for the prize this year – luxury yacht Black Jack (Peter Harburg, Qld), sailing yacht Loki (Stephen Ainsworth, NSW), and superyacht Wild Oats XI (Bob Oatley, NSW).
This trophy will also be on permanent display at Hamilton Island Yacht Club.
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