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Hamilton Island Race Week 2023

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Talia Jones
Updated Thu 14 Mar 2024

A fleet of sailing boats with their sails up in blue waters

Race Week on Hamilton Island is one of the most anticipated events of the year! Renowned as being Australia’s largest offshore sailing regatta, Race Week attracts competitors, spectators and racing enthusiasts from different corners of the globe to the tropical Whitsundays. 

The Whitsundays is arguably one of the best places for sailing in the world. With protected and calm waters, sheltered anchorages and plenty of marine life to see, sailors from here, there and everywhere are eager to have a taste of the Whitsundays!

Hamilton Island Race Week is set to commence from the 19th to the 26th of August 2023. Throughout the week, all sorts of events are taking place from long lunches to live shows. Here is all you need to know about Hamilton Island Race Week for 2023!

When does Hamilton Island Race Week commence?


A group of sailing boats with their sales up

Hamilton Island Race Week commences on the 19th of August and runs until the 26th of August 2023. Entries close on the 6th of August and the first race takes off on the 20th. Racing days run on the 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th and include different divisions and types of racing. For the spectators, there will be plenty of shoreside activities to get up to between watching the races. The trophy presentation will take place on Saturday, the 26th of August after the final race. 

Who is competing in Race Week?


A sailing yacht with crew on board in the ocean

Sailors and yachties from across the globe flock to Hamilton Island to compete in Race Week. The sailing events include a Grand Prix class for the top-tier racers, an IRC Passage class for modern and fast yachts, performance races, and sport boat classes. There are also divisions for cruising, corporate, bareboats, and maxi yachts. Not only are the races taking place, there will be an entertaining ‘Prix d’Elegance’ event where yacht-owners are encouraged to dress up their boats and go into the running to receive either the “Best Presented Yacht” award or the “Best Themed Yacht” award. 

What other events are on during Race Week?


A girl at a bar laughing in a white hat

Besides the obvious (racing events), there are plenty of fun-filled activities everyone can enjoy on Hamilton Island. The main onshore events include A Wild Oats Ladies Lunch, a Surf and Turf dinner, House of Friends Fiesta by Casamigos, Charles Heisieck Champagne Lunch, Women in Sailing, a presentation dinner and more! 

  • The Wild Oats Ladies Lunch is on Sunday, 20th of August from 11:30am to 3:00pm where ladies can indulge in a beachside three-course lunch and sip on an excellent selection of Wild Oats’ fine wines.
  • The Surf and Turf dinner is on Monday, 21st August from 6:00pm to 10:00pm and involves a three-course meal and beverages supported by comedy entertainment.
  • The House of Friends Fiesta will be bringing the flavours of Mexico to the island. Running on Tuesday, 22nd of August from 7:00pm to 11:00pm the fiesta includes a shared Mexican food feast, Casamigos tequila margaritas and a lively atmosphere.
  • The Champagne Lunch is on Wednesday, 23rd of August from 11:30am to 4:00pm and involves a three-course lunch paired with Charles Heisdieck champagne.
  • The Women in Sailing event is about celebrating women’s contribution to sailing where special guest speakers will be sharing their stories and experiences and will take place on the Friday, 25th of August from 5:00pm to 6:30pm.

Four plates of food

The final event is the Race Week Presentation Dinner which will take place after the grand finale race! The presentation starts at 7:00pm on Saturday, 26th August and will run until 11:00pm, it also includes a three-course dinner. Spirits are set to be high while the winners of the regatta will be announced, including the 2023 Australian Yachting Champions! This is a night you won’t want to miss as live performers will be taking to the stage followed by comedians and more. Dance the night away in the company of fellow sailing enthusiasts and racing participants! 

Throughout the week, smaller events will be running. There will be food stalls, clothing and jewellery stalls, sausage sizzles, parades, live entertainment, and even free skin check clinics (by appointment). 

Keep an eye out for whales


A pod of whales in the ocean taken from above

Hamilton Island Race Week takes place during whale season. Between June and September, the Whitsunday waters are frequented by pods of majestic humpback whales as they make their journey north, in search of food and warmer waters. So, be sure to keep your eyes peeled as it’s quite likely you will see a few throughout the week!

If you are participating in the sailing events, or spectating from the water, ensure you remain at least 300 metres away from a whale. Most of the waters around the Whitsunday Islands fall into ‘Whale Protection’ zones and penalties may apply if you approach a whale. 

Looking for accommodation during Race Week?


Two women on a balcony with an ocean view

If you’re planning on staying on Hamilton Island during Race Week, there are a range of options available to choose from. There’s the Reef View Hotel, the Beach Club, the Palm Bungalows, or the exclusive 6-star resort, qualia. Alternatively if you were hoping to stay in Airlie Beach during the week and catch the ferry to Hamilton Island for the day, there is plenty of accommodation around. Check out Airlie Searene Apartments, Mirage Whitsundays, Boathaven Bay Holiday Apartments, Coral Sea Marina Resort, or Whitsunday Terraces Resort

You can secure your accommodation by contacting our local travel experts via our online chat!

Feeling inspired to sail through the Whitsundays? 

A group of young people sitting over the edge of a sailing boat

If Race Week has inspired you, why not get yourself on a sailing yacht?! There are plenty of former competitive sailing yachts that you can book yourself on for an overnight getaway! Maxi yachts like Defender, Siska, and Apollo will see you sailing like the pros while you visit the pristine Whitsunday bays and islands. Otherwise book yourself onto a sailing catamaran like Entice, Getaway or Blue and sail in style! 

For more information on Hamilton Island Race Week, chat to our local travels agents via our online chat today!

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