Hamilton Island Race Week

The Resort-Side Action at the Southern Hemisphere’s Most Glamorous Yachting Regatta

Free-flowing Moët and motor cruisers replete with Jacuzzis fuel the salt-water sailing at this year’s Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in photographer Sean Fennessy’s series. On Australia’s Queensland coast, just off the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday Islands played host to a fleet of 163 yachts jostling to win one of the scheduled 28 races. A fleet of electric-powered golf carts transported the audience of actors, TV personalities and gold-medal-winning Olympians who had come to witness the sailing prowess on show around the island’s luxury Qualia resort, while acclaimed Australian chef Shannon Bennett of Melbourne-based sustainable restaurant Vue de Monde provided gastronomic delicacies. “My aim was to capture these events from the inside and glimpse into a world of excess and privilege,” says the Tasmanian-born Fennessy. Onshore, Greg Prescott, skipper of the 2 Unlimited sailboat, took home the week’s most coveted prize––an A1 compact car worth around $22,000––as winner of the Audi Final Drive Challenge, which involved racing the aggressively powered Audi R8 supercar around the island’s airport runway.


Canon 5d Mk III.

Boats in the fleet


Biggest boat
The 30-meter supermaxi yacht Wild Oats XI

Fastest time achieved
17-knot average speed by the trimaran Team Australia in the 60-nautical-mile long-distance race.

Optimum weather conditions
16-knot south-easterly trade wind and sunny skies.

Best boat name

Nautical miles sailed
Approximately 250 over the week.

Largest sail
930 square meters on Wild Oats XI––the equivalent of over four tennis courts.

Closest call
Team Australia ran aground after making a sudden course change to avoid a humpback whale.



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