Yacht Race Hamilton Island

Racing during this year's Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.Racing during this year's Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. Photo: Andrea Francolini

Blustery conditions might not be ideal for one's immaculately coiffed bouffant, but it was the best news a sailor could receive on the high seas of this year's Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, with more than 200 yachts carving up the azure waters of the Whitsundays - the second largest number of boats in the event's decade-long history.

"We love wind, this is exactly what we need for good racing, " declared Lisa Allen as we were showered in sea spray and bobbed about on giant swells aboard billionaire Bob Oatley's elegant cruiser The Duchess.

Allen is the wife of former UBS big honcho, investment banker and sailing tragic Matt Allen. She helped explain the intricacies of competitive sailing, including the novel idea of crews doing 360 degree rotations in a sort of sailing sin bin for naughty behaviour on the high seas.

The Allens have been competing with their 54-foot Farr Ichiban, one of the couples' flotilla of sailing boats they keep moored around the world.

Allen is one of an army of SWAGS (sailors wives and girlfriends) who have again descended on Hamilton Island to for a week of on-and-off shore high jinks, from Collette Dinnigan's 25-year retrospective fashion show on Thursday night to the Paspaley family bringing a multi-million dollar haul of pearls and diamonds to the island to keep any wayward SWAGs occupied.

Murdochs Ahoy

File photo: Rupert Murdoch (left) and Lachlan Murdoch. Photo: Bloomberg

However it was a yacht that was not competing which had everyone talking this year.

Lachlan Murdoch's $50 million-plus super tinnie Sarissa was a surprise visitor to Hamilton Island this week, with Lachlan and his former model wife Sarah and their three catalogue-worthy children enjoying a bit of downtime on their ginormous gin palace.

Rupert Murdoch also turned up during the week, though given the level of security and secrecy which surrounds his movements these days, no one was letting on much about the 84-year-old's movements.

Super tinnie Sarissa Photo: Andrea Francolini

However PS did hear a few tales of a previous trip Rupert had made to Hamilton Island many years ago, a story which has become island folklore.

According to the locals, when Rupert turned up at the sailing club he was politely informed by the eager young chap manning the door that the thongs he was wearing did not fit the dress code, clearly not recognising who he was talking to. Rupert graciously exited the club, only to return wearing shoes and socks, and offering high praise for the young lad who was "just doing his job".

Meanwhile it was pretty hard to miss Sarissa. Built in Holland by yacht makers Vitters, the cutting-edge yacht took two years to construct and holds the record for being the largest carbon-fibre sloop built in the Netherlands.

Vitters Shipyard's website describes Sarissa as a spectacular 42.6-metre carbon "globetrotter and performance sloop".

According to those who have been aboard, Sarissa boasts a clean and modern look, while the family friendly layout below decks boasts a full-sized state room, three guests cabins and three crew cabins with lots of limed oak, dark Italian walnut, Indian rosewood, carbon, dark leather and brushed stainless steel.

Its carbon mast alone soars a staggering 56 metres into the sky, peeking over most of the islands in the Whitsundays.

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