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Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - America's Cup winner to compete    
Thu, 4 Jul 2013

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week gets underway August 17 to 24 2013. Switzerland’s Ernesto Bertarelli, a two-time winner of the America’s Cup, has confirmed he will be competing at the 30th staging of the regatta.

Bertarelli, 47, has chartered Wild Oats X – the Sydney-based 66ft racing yacht owned by Australian yachting legend, Bob Oatley – as his entry for the regatta, and will have some of his America’s Cup team, including Kiwi tactician, Brad Butterworth, sailing with him.

Bertarelli, one of the world’s richest men, and a well-recognised philanthropist, has also advised he will have his impressive 96-metre superyacht, Vava II, at Hamilton Island for Race Week. The six-deck motor yacht is on a world cruise to raise funds for YachtAid Global, an organisation supporting humanitarian and environmental causes.

In 2003 Bertarelli, then aged 37, became the first challenger to win the America’s Cup with a first-time campaign, and also the first person to take the cup – the oldest trophy in the history of sport – to Europe. He then successfully defended the prize against the New Zealand challenger in 2007, but lost to America’s Larry Ellison in a controversial multihull challenge in 2010.

Bertarelli and Butterworth have had the canting-keeled Wild Oats X modified in preparation for their tilt at winning the IRC Grand Prix Division at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. The forward rudder has been removed and replaced by a new daggerboard configuration, and new sails have been ordered.

‘It’s going to be exciting to see Ernesto racing at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week’, said Mark Richards, who has been skipper of Wild Oats X for Bob Oatley, and will be steering Oatley’s 30-metre Sydney-Hobart race record holder, Wild Oats XI, at this year’s regatta. ‘Having Ernesto, Brad and the team competing certainly says a lot about Race Week’s status in the world of yachting.’

An impressive cross-section of yachts has already entered for the 30th edition of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, Australia’s premier keelboat regatta. Organisers are planning special celebrations this year to ensure the series continues to be recognised as a world-class regatta when it comes to fun on shore and great racing on the tropical, island-dotted waters of the Whitsundays.

Luxury carmaker, Audi, returns as the title sponsor of Hamilton Island Race Week in 2013. The German premium brand will host a range of special events on the island for yacht owners and guests to enjoy during the week.

by Rob Mundle

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