After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the island’s annual regatta was back and bigger than ever!

And the weather gods must have heard the news, turning it on with absolutely perfect racing conditions. The sun was out, the trade winds were blowing and the island was ready and raring to go.

If you were lucky enough to join us for the week, you would know that the atmosphere on the island was unmatched. And it comes as no surprise, as over 200 boats entered and over 2000 sailors, friends and family stayed on the island for the festivities.

If you want to know more about the week that was, we recently sat down with one of the guests that joined us—Sarah—who has shared her experience staying at WAHI during Race Week. 

When did you arrive on the island? 

We arrived on the island on Sunday, which is when the official racing kicked off. As we descended onto the island, we got our first glimpse of all the sailing boats dotted around the water, and we immediately knew that it would be a week like no other.


Why did you choose to stay at WAHI?

As I was visiting the island with a friend, it made perfect sense to stay at WAHI. With a whole apartment between us, we had plenty of room to spare. We were also looking for accommodation that was in a great location, and WAHI ticked all of the boxes. Overlooking the beautiful Catseye Bay, we were treated to sweeping views of the island and surrounding Whitsundays area. Plus, everything was only a short walk, buggy or bus ride away—only a minute’s walk and we were right down on the sands of Catseye Beach.

What did you get up to throughout the week?

We wanted to get in on the action as much as possible and experience all that the island had to offer during Race Week. As someone who has never been to a regatta before, it was incredible to get a glimpse into the world of sailing and be amongst such a prestigious and exciting sporting event. What immediately stood out was the sense of camaraderie—it was nothing short of infectious! 

What was your highlight? 

Well, picking just one is impossible!

On Monday night, we made our way down to one of the most loved yachtie events, the Surf and Turf Dinner. We were greeted with Tanqueray gins on arrival and had some time to mingle and have some nibbles on the lawns outside the Pavillion before the dinner began. Catseye Beach soon became a glow with pinks and purples as the sun set. With fairy lights above us and a beautiful warm, tropical breeze, it was nothing short of magical! 


For dinner itself, we feasted on an exquisite menu of scallop ceviche, scotch rib fillet, and Whitsunday tiger prawns, finishing off with opera layer cake for dessert. Later in the evening, we heard from the internationally acclaimed comedian, Cameron Knight. With wine and beers in hand, it was a great way to laugh the night away.


Another highlight would have to be getting the once-in-a-lifetime chance to head out on the water during a race day. If you get the opportunity to jump aboard a boat or are able to book in on one of the spectator cruises, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough!

Any insider tips for guests thinking about visiting for Race Week 2023?

Part of the island’s yacht club and boasting waterfront views, Bommie Deck was the place to be throughout the week. 


On race days, we made our way down to the marina, grabbed some breakfast and a coffee and found a spot to set up on the deck. It was the perfect vantage point to watch all of the boats head off and start the race. 


Image credit: @saltydingomedia

Thursday morning, in particular, was a real highlight. From our vantage point up on Bommie Deck, we watched the infamous Prix de’ Elegance. The contest has been an integral part of Race Week since 2007 and encourages the sailors to get creative and theme their boats. There were two categories—the best-presented yacht and the best-themed yacht. Our personal favourites were the “Get Smart” themed boat and the “Purr-fect Sailing” yacht.


By afternoon Bommie Deck transforms into the Charles Heidsieck Bar. With the sunset shimmering across the water and a live DJ providing plenty of ambience, it’s the perfect spot to grab a glass of champagne and sip the afternoon away. While you’re at it, make sure to grab a nice photo up on the deck during golden hour. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Best place to eat and drink?

Every night Front Street lit up with live music. We heard from a fantastic line-up, including the internationally acclaimed Furnace & The Fundamentals. To keep in the spirit of the week, we grabbed the sailors’ drink of choice, a “Dark ‘n’ Stormy”, from the Marina Tavern and danced the night away. And when we needed to stop and refuel, the eat street food stalls put on a variety of options, including stacked naans, Vietnamese kebabs, gourmet spit roast rolls, and fresh salads.

Any other must-do’s?

Last but certainly not least—if you visit the island during Race Week, you must check out what is happening on Lay Day! On Wednesday, we kicked off our morning at the Ketel One Bloody Mary pop-up bar. After that, we made our way over to the Main Pool for the Lay Day poolside party.


Image credit: @hamiltonislandraceweek

We laid back by the water, soaked up some sun and listened to the live music with seltzer in hand. I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine a better way to spend a Wednesday!

Lastly, in one word, how would you describe Race Week? 


Don’t just take Sarah’s word for it - come and experience Race Week for yourself! Bookings for next year’s event have already started trickling in. If you don’t want to miss out on the iconic Race Week event in 2023, make sure you book your stay with us today!