Lake Macquarie’s John Woodruff is looking for a specialised crew member to complete his team for this year’s Abell Point Marina Airlie Beach Race Week.
Mike Martin’s TP52Frantic, formerly Geoff Hill’s Asian circuit campaigned Strewth - Abell Point Marina Airlie Beach Race Week 2013
Woodruff will be skippering the TP52 Frantic in the IRC Racing division for this year’s regatta to be held from ninth to 16th August. He has borrowed the boat from another Lake sailor, Mick Martin, who will race Frantic in the Sydney to Southport Yacht Race before handing the boat over to Woodruff’s team.
'This dovetails well for us to pick the boat up in Southport, take it up to Airlie and go have some fun. It’s a great little regatta because of the islands. They put a lot of judges out on the course so people don’t then tend to muck around. It doesn’t tend to be quite as silly, ownership-wise. Like coming into marks, coming in to buoys, people tend to treat islands with a little bit more respect.'
Frantic was previously Geoff Hill’s Asian-campaigned Strewth before the boat returned to Australia where she was sold to Martin. Frantic most recently took out overall and IRC honours in the 39th Gosford to Lord Howe Island Yacht Race.
The challenge for Woodruff’s team is finding time to discover the nuances of this TP52. 'They are a bit of handful, these TP52s. It’s an older TP52 so it’s not in the class of Bob Steele’s Quest. It’s a more sturdy one which makes it a little bit easier to handle and a little harder to break.
'I am certainly not going to hurt Mick’s boat, but since it’s not my boat, we will sail it rather conservatively I would think. I want to have some fun on these race weeks. I’m not here to kill anyone,' Woodruff said.
Woodruff might want others to think he is all about fun, but the wise opponents will recognise he has a solid history of good results in big boat racing, albeit under Performance Handicap with his previously owned Volvo 60 Seriously Ten, and an impressive team of 12 sailors to rotate through the crew positions.
'The crew will basically be guys that have all done a lot of sailing together over a period of years.' The list includes Peter Davison who was the crew chief on Woodruff’s 55-foot catamaran Fantasia, and Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race veteran Gary Telford. Then add in Tom Braidwood of America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Race and Transpac fame to make up a very solid crew base.
'The crew will be a bunch of us who have been around for a while. We certainly won’t be the youngest crew on the race track. We plan to get on board, go have fun and then probably afterwards go and find a jug of margaritas.'
Woodruff said he is looking for just one more, very specialised, crew member. 'I used to have the chap that owned the Hogs Breath café. Now I need to find a replacement. Can you add to the end of the story the following; we are looking for one more crew member. Needs to own a bar.'
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