Bob Oatley, the owner of the supermaxi Wild Oats XI, has confirmed that he is to establish an annual international superyacht regatta at Hamilton Island, on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Oatley, whose family company bought the island four years ago, has made the announcement after racing his 30-metre supermaxi Wild Oats XI in the Superyacht Cup and Millennium Cup in Palma this week.
“The success of the superyacht racing here in Palma leaves me in no doubt that we need to bring the concept to Australia, and Hamilton Island is the perfect venue,” Bob Oatley said. “We have already made some initial plans and now it is time to press all the buttons to make it happen.
“We hope to have a sample of this style of competition at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in August this year, and next year we expect it will be a stand-alone event around the same time of year. Our long-term aim is to have an impressive fleet of these huge yachts, power and sail, visiting Hamilton Island for our regatta and then cruising through Australian waters.”
The Superyacht Cup and Millennium Cup attracted 52 yachts to Palma. They ranged in overall length from 27 metres through to 88 metres and it was calculated that their total length exceeded 2.4 kilometres. Their combined sail area topped eight hectares, and the total value of the fleet was more than $US2 billion. The minimum length for a vessel to be classified as a superyacht is 24 metres.
Bob Oatley added that by establishing a superyacht event at Hamilton Island there would be distinct benefits for tourism and the expanding superyacht industry in Australia. Currently, worldwide, there are more than 200 power and sail superyachts being built with an average cost of $25 million.