Please select your home edition
Edition
BIA 2016 Sydney Boat Show 728x90

Koomooloo beats her own time by 12 hours

by Jim Gale on 31 Dec 2005
Ray White Koomooloo ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies © http://www.coralcoe.org.au/
At 12 minutes past noon today, a beautiful varnished timber yacht sailed back into the winner’s circle of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race after an absence of 37 years.

As Ray White Koomooloo crossed the finish line and entered Constitution Dock to take Division E handicap honours in the race, old heads thought back to the same location in 1968 when Koomooloo won the Sydney Hobart after four days, 10 hours at sea.

Another old head looked on and thought it was a job well done. Don Freebairn (73) restored Koomooloo after she had passed through seven other pairs of hands since Dennis O’Neil won the Hobart race with the Kaufman 41 design all those years ago.

Freebairn had wanted to be aboard Ray White Koomooloo this year, having missed out last year when he dislocated his shoulders after tumbling through the forward hatch of his boat before the 2004 race. Ray White Koomooloo retired last year after leading her division into Bass Strait.

Today, Don Freebairn saw the fruits of his labours – an eight-year restoration program to bring Ray White Koomooloo back to her glory days, including 20 coats of varnish on her Honduras mahogany hull.

Don Freebairn has a love of timber boats. Eight years he would sit on the waterfront at Manly in Brisbane and look at Koomooloo.

‘I bought it off an owner who had had it for 13 years,’ he said. ‘It was a little bit tired and needed a new owner.’

He and son Michael re-laid the deck, refurbished the mast, and replaced every nut and bolt.

Today, they beat Koomooloo’s 1968 time by 12 hours. ‘It surprises us, but they sailed the boat pretty well then and we sailed it pretty well now,’ Michael Freebairn said.

‘We’ve kept the boat pretty original. It is pretty much as it was - same mast, same keel.’ Ray White Koomooloo suffered no damage – to its gear or to its sails. ‘It’s as we got on it,’ he said.

At one stage, the old yacht challenged the new maxi Wild Oats XI for lead on corrected time in the race. ‘They had pretty good weather but we were out there for a bit longer so we saw a bit more weather,’ said Freebairn.

‘Running downwind on this boat, its lock to lock (steering) and after about half an hour you are pretty much buggered.’

Though his ocean racing days are over Don Freebairn will get as much satisfaction from the win as his son. ‘Now I sit on the dock and watch her - I get a buzz out of that,’ he said.
Bakewell-White Yacht DesignPacific Sailing School 660x82 1InSunSport - NZ

Related Articles

Gillawa finishes Sydney Hobart race
Gillawa, the last yacht to finish the 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Gillawa, the last yacht to finish the 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Posted on 3 Jan 2006
Winner takes all for Wild Oats XI
Wild Oats XI, Mark Richards, commented that winning the race on handicap was the real prize. Wild Oats XI, Mark Richards, commented that winning the race on handicap was the real prize. 'It's a bigger thrill for a boat to win on handicap than to get line honours,' he said.
Posted on 2 Jan 2006
Quantum Racing and Loki win Rolex Challenge
Australian team of Loki and Quantum Racing- won Rolex Challenge international offshore teams racing series. The Australian team of Loki and Quantum Racing have won the Rolex Challenge international offshore teams racing series that ended with the 61st Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Posted on 1 Jan 2006
Dublin to Hobart, Take Two
About the only thing that is not very Irish about John Clarke is his name. About the only thing that is not very Irish about John Clarke is his name. Stepping onto the dock in Hobart this afternoon from the Farr 40 Inner Circle (the first of the IOR Farr 40s to finish) the story of John’s final arrival in Hobart is a classic Irish yarn that spans the last 12 months.
Posted on 31 Dec 2005
The victor honours the yachts still out there
Wild Oats owner Bob Oatley, skipper Mark Richards accepted trophies at Rolex Sydney Hobart prizegiving. Wild Oats XI owner Bob Oatley and skipper Mark Richards accepted their trophies at the prizegiving of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on Hobart's waterfront this afternoon. With grins as wide as the Derwent River, Oatley and Richards gave thanks to their team mates, the organisers, and the people of Hobart for the rapturous reception that every boat receives when finishing this gruelling race.
Posted on 30 Dec 2005
Koomooloo storming home
Wild Rose, the Farr 43 sailed by Roger Hickman is safely tied up in Hobart, but her race is not yet over. Wild Rose, the Farr 43 sailed by Sydney yachtsman Roger Hickman is safely tied up in Hobart, but her race is not yet over. Hickman has to wait until 2:02pm today to find out whether he has won Division E or been pipped at the post by by the 1968 Hobart winner Koomooloo.
Posted on 30 Dec 2005
Ed Psaltis Makes It a Casual Twenty Five
'Not as hard as some' was the simple and understated summary from Ed Psaltis 'Not as hard as some' was the simple and understated summary from Ed Psaltis as he stepped on to the dock in Hobart yesterday evening, completing his twenty-fifth Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
Posted on 30 Dec 2005
43 Hobart sailed, one to go
Victorian yachtsman Lou Abrahams wants to equal but not better the late John Bennetto’s record 44 starts. Evergreen Victorian yachtsman Lou Abrahams says he wants to equal but not better the late John Bennetto’s record 44 starts in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Posted on 30 Dec 2005
The Tattersall’s Cup is Presented to Wild Oats XI
“We had a mission and we got on with it” said Bob Oatley, the owner of Wild Oats XI 'We had a mission and we got on with it' said Bob Oatley, the owner of Wild Oats XI as he and his skipper Mark Richards were presented with the Tattersall’s Cup for Overall Winner of the 2005 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race in Hobart this afternoon.
Posted on 30 Dec 2005
Wild Oats XI wins trifecta
Bob Oatley’s 98 footer has completed the historic Trifecta in the 61st Rolex Sydney to Hobart race. Bob Oatley’s 98 footer has completed the historic Trifecta in the 61st Rolex Sydney to Hobart race. Yesterday morning she completed the double line honours and a new race record, reducing Nokia's 1999 record by 67 minutes.
Posted on 29 Dec 2005