IT WASN’T just sailors and their yachts who made an appearance at Hamilton Island Friday – a line-up of celebrities also added to the prestige event known as the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.
The annual event is Australia’s largest and will host more than 200 yachts and 3000 people, who will explore the best of what the Whitsundays region has to offer.
Tourism Whitsundays chief executive officer Peter O’Reilly said the event was a major drawcard to boost the region’s tourism.
“It’s one of the major events that we have in the region and it does fantastic things for not only the economy but the publicity (of the region),” Mr O’Reilly said.
With plenty of action on and off the water, he said the event would further extend the message that the region is open for business.
“It shows how wonderful the destination is and people will be able to see how good it is to come (visit),” Mr O’Reilly said.
“It will blow any (bad) perceptions away that perhaps the region might have had earlier in the year,” he said.
While the water glistens, the glitz and glamour will be on show by the celebrities.
Model, actress and TV personality Megan Gale will make her first visit to the annual regatta to emcee the launch of the Collette Dinnigan Cruise Collection 2011 held at the exclusive qualia resort on the northern tip of Hamilton Island.
Ms Gale will be joined by a number of famous faces attending the island festivities including Collette Dinnigan, Matt Moran, Tom Williams, Catriona Rowntree and Shannon Bennett.
Geoff and Sarah Huegill, Gail Elliott, Kate Waterhouse, Anthony Bell, Kelly Landry, Kylie Speers, Sandra Sully and Mark Beretta will also feature throughout Australia’s largest offshore yachting regatta.
During the week fierce competition is expected between all entrants, including the 100-foot supermaxi Investec Loyal and five-time Rolex Sydney to Hobart winner Wild Oats XI.
The $25 million luxury yacht Janice of Wyoming will make its debut at the event.
Racing began yesterday and will run until next Saturday.
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week
Two sailing forums will be held during Race Week to reveal the new formula for the next America’s Cup match, which will be hosted by the Hamilton Island Yacht Club.
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