IRC racing at Hamilton Island Race Week © Photo: Salty Dingo 2019
IRC racing at Hamilton Island Race Week © Photo: Salty Dingo 2019

‘Tough’ call made on our Melbourne Cup of the water

ONE of the region’s signature sailing events has been cancelled as sailors from interstate are locked out of Queensland.

Hamilton Island Race Week was cancelled yesterday in what organisers described as a “tough decision”.

“The Queensland Government has recently declared numerous COVID-19 hot spots and (on Wednesday) announced the inclusion of Greater Sydney,” a spokesman from Hamilton Island Enterprises said.

“In light of this announcement and despite our best intentions to host the event, our race management team, who are so vital to the smooth and fair conduct of the sailing, are now unable to travel.

“As such, we have made the tough decision to cancel Hamilton Island Race Week 2020.”

This is the first time the regatta has been cancelled in its 37-year history.

Dubbed the Melbourne Cup of the water, Hamilton Island Race Week boasted its second largest fleet last year.

The race was set to run from August 15 to 22 with a range of events both on and off the water.

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The blow comes as Hamilton Island will welcome its first visitors tomorrow after more than four months of closures.

According to the spokesman, the Hamilton Island community is now looking towards the 2021 event and thanked the sailing community for its support in what had been “a remarkably trying year for all”.

Full refunds for entry fees will be offered and processed within the coming weeks.

The Airlie Beach Race Week is still scheduled to go ahead from August 6 to 13.