Anticipation is building as thousands prepare to celebrate over three decades of sailing from 16-23 August at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2014, the largest offshore regatta in the southern hemisphere.
The international yachting event has evolved over the past 31 years into a spectacular display of on-water racing paired with the finest epicurean cuisine, exclusive fashion shows, flowing champagne and celebrity guests. The landmark event will be officially opened with a Raising of the Flag ceremony and firework display at Hamilton Island Yacht Club on Saturday 16th August, by owner, Bob Oatley, Hamilton Island’s CEO, Glenn Bourke and Audi Australia’s Managing Director, Andrew Doyle.
The sailing events will then unfold with both sailors and spectators enjoying the on-water display. The beautiful Whitsundays’ courses attract sailing’s elite, and cater for the full spectrum of keelboats – from non-spinnaker cruising yachts through to Grand Prix level racers. With over 160 yachts already entered and more expected in the coming weeks, the carnival is set to be one of the best yet.
Complimenting the sailing activity is this year’s impressive shore-side social calendar; one ensuring the sailors’ family and friends return year after year while also attracting a wider spectrum of travellers in search of a unique winter getaway.
Australian portrait artist and Audi ambassador, Vincent Fantauzzo will open a new exhibition at the Hamilton Island Yacht Club inspired by the ocean and commissioned exclusively for the event by the luxury car brand. Fantauzzo is renowned for his portrait work, having been a finalist in the Archibald Prize for the last two years. His painting of wife, Asher Keddie, titled Love Face, won the 2013 People’s Choice Award.
Audi ambassadors and iconic Australian chefs Matt Moran, Kylie Kwong and Shannon Bennett will delight guests with unique, new gastronomic experiences. Shannon Bennett will bring his signature haute cuisine to qualia with a degustation-style menu celebrating local Whitsundays produce. Matt Moran’s ‘Chiswick’ style Long Pavilion dinner will reflect his paddock-to-plate food philosophy and renowned chef, Kylie Kwong will present an intimate, Chinese family-style dinner at Pebble Beach.
This year’s show stopping fashion event is presented by NET-A-PORTER.COM; the world’s premier online luxury fashion retailer.On Thursday 21st August, guests will enjoy a chic cocktail reception before joining the Oatley family for the inaugural runway event showcasing the must-have pieces from a number of coveted international designers. From 18th to 22nd August, guests are also invited to view a collection of new season product and discuss the latest trends with NET-A-PORTER.COM’s personal shopping team at qualia’s NET-A-PORTER.COM Style Suite.
The most coveted event of the week will once again be the Charles Heidsieck Champagne Lunch hosted on Wednesday 20th August with new partner MR PORTER.COM; the award-winning global retail destination for men’s style. The lunch will see 250 guests enjoy a selection of Charles Heidsieck champagnes paired with a four-course meal created by qualia Executive Chef, Alastair Waddell.
The champagne will continue to flow at the inaugural Piper Heidsieck Champagne lunch set elegantly on the Outrigger Lawns overlooking beautiful Catseye Beach. The carnival spirit continues that evening with a Beachside Pool Party where guests can enjoy the party or chill to the sounds of six piece Soul and R’n’B band, ‘Suite Az’ from this balmy beachside location.
The Poolside with Paspaley, hosted by Christopher Paspaley, third generation of the fabled pearling family, promises to be another chic afternoon at qualia on Friday 22nd August. Guests are invited to a cooking demonstration by qualia’s Executive Chef, Alastair Waddell followed by a fabulous lunch poolside at Pebble Beach. During the lunch, handsome pearl divers will search for pearls in the Pebble Beach pool, with one lucky guest taking home an exquisite Lavalier bleu necklace.
The Wild Oats Ladies Lunch, hosted by special guest, Melissa Doyle on Sunday 17th August, will see coca chu come alive with good company, vibrant sharing plates and matching Wild Oats wines. The Beef & Reef dinner that evening offers another chance to feast on the best seafood and local meats while catching up with old friend and fellow sailors at Sails restaurant overlooking Catseye Beach.
Guests who enjoy the comfort of an Audi, and equally consider themselves a lucky shot at golf, are encouraged to make their way by helicopter or ferry to the Hamilton Island Golf Course on Dent Island. From 16th to 23rd August, the first person to score a Hole in One on Hole 4 of the course will win a brand new Audi Q3 – a welcomed bonus in addition to the pleasure of playing the scenic golf course, the only one in Australia located on its very own island.
Other events and activities throughout the week include the Ibiza inspired Sangria Marina Party on Front Street, the Paspaley Pearl Boutique, the Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Bar at Bommie Deck, beachside Yoga, the Eat Street Food Markets at the Marina, sports challenges including the Audi vehicle tug of war, the Audi e-tron hub showcasing the latest vehicle technology and the renowned Henri Lloyd fashion parade.
Forget Uber – an exciting addition to this year’s event are the complimentary Audi e-tron shuttles that will be in operation throughout Race Week and available to all guests. The e-tron shuttle service will make it even easier to make the most of the impressive on-shore social calendar – travel to Hamilton Island’s Yacht Club for a prime view of the sailing, attend social events, or catch a ride in style back to your hotel to round off another extraordinary day in paradise.