Please select your home edition
Edition
SailX 728x90

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - No stopping Nessie

by Laura McKee on 22 Aug 2013
Nessie at the 2013 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week Laura McKee_web
At the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, a born and bred Scottish skipper who has steered the same boat for 15 years proving that a boat’s age is no barrier.

Will McMillan, his wife and their pride and joy Nessie, a Sonata 8 design from the Clarence River Sailing Club, have been in partnership since their debut at the Hamilton Island race in 1994, only missing a few regattas over the course of 19 years.

The McMillans have returned to Hamilton Island to mark the 30th anniversary of the event, and it’s believed they hold the title for the most Race Weeks by the same combination of boat and owner.

'We are quite lucky, we don’t have kids. So we got the boat instead!' Will McMillan said.

McMillan lives in Karachi near Lismorein northern New South Wales, which is a two-day, 1,200km trek to Hamilton Island via car. As for Nessie, her keel was lifted up and she was winched onto a trailer for the long drive, which hit a bump along the way.

Half way between the Gold Coast and Brisbane McMillan suddenly remembered he’d forgotten to pack the rudder. He did a U-Turn and made a quick dash back to Tweed Heads where he met a crew member with the vital part.
Mishaps aside, McMillan is excited to race his tiny boat against the luminous, high-tech boats parked in the marina around him. He has tasted early success in Cruising Division III this year, finishing second on handicap in Sunday’s opening island course.

'I’ve got no intention of replacing Nessie, where I sail it suits the environment. If I went for a bigger boat, I wouldn’t be able to cross the sand bars,' he said.

When McMillan moved from Scotland to Australia in 1972 he gave up sailing, instead trying his hand at motorbike racing.He was forced to abandon riding following an industrial accident that claimed his right eye, but resumed his sailing career shortly after. McMillanbegan searching for a trusty Sonata design and in 1993 came across one called Midnight Sonata, and felt an immediate connection.


'I had to have her. When we bought her she was a bit of a messy wreck so we stripped her down to the bare shell and rebuilt her - that took six months.

'I thought Midnight Sonata was a pretty boring name so when I was down at the pub one night in Karachi the guys got involved in thinking of names and Nessie was the one that stuck,' he said.

McMillan and his regular crew won their division overall at Race Week2006, a worthy career highlight.

'That was a good memory winning that year. We also got a little plaque for doing 10 consecutive years so we were up on the podium a couple of times,' he said.

McMillan recalls the early sailing days at Hamilton Island, where the Barefoot Bar was the place to be and street parties were all the rage.The growth of facilities and the island’s development has blown McMillan away.

'There was only a couple of marina fingers and the first few years we anchored out in the middle here where we are right now, and had to get out to the boat in dinghies,' McMillan explained.

'The boat technology is just phenomenal- there are lots of new boats so to compensate for that I put a new odd sail on this thing now and again.

'She was bought in ’79. I try and look after her as best as I can and she looks pretty, but I am biased!' McMillan laughed.

Currently, a Scottish flag can be seen flapping in the wind on Nessie’s back stay and a Loch Ness monster head leads the way on the bow.

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week paused for lay day yesterday. Now at the half way mark, racing will continue for the next three days with more wind on the cards.

Full results here

The Water Shed - 5North Sails NZL -  2 V Series GenHarken and Fosters

Related Articles

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - A fantastic week!
Racing in their One Design Class, the MC38 Class had a fantastic week at the 2013 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. Racing in their One Design Class, the MC38 Class had a fantastic week at the 2013 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. The owners and crew are looking forward to the next Class event the MC38 Australian Championship which will be held in November.
Posted on 29 Aug 2013
Salvaged at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week
John Brand’s boat, Star Ferry, entered Hamilton Island Race Week after a devastating Bundaberg floods shipwrecked it. After the devastating Bundaberg floods this year shipwrecked John Brand’s boat, Star Ferry, the skipper took a courageous leap and entered Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, the boat’s comeback though it is still undergoing repairs.
Posted on 27 Aug 2013
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week grand prize winner announced
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week -A motor mechanic with a knack for consistency behind the wheel capitalised on the water Audi Hamilton Island Race Week concluded on Saturday 24th August 2013. A motor mechanic with a knack for consistency behind the wheel and his Sydney crew, who capitalised on the water in this year’s light air regatta, have taken out a major prize at the award-winning regatta, an Audi A6 allroad vehicle ($117,900 mlp), for one year.
Posted on 26 Aug 2013
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Huntress’ wins grand prize
Huntress’ wins grand prize at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week In this year’s light air Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, a motor mechanic who capitalised on the water with a knack for consistency behind the wheel and his Sydney crew, have taken out a major prize at the award-winning regatta, an Audi A6 all road vehicle ($117,900 mlp), for one year.
Posted on 26 Aug 2013
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - First win for MC38 owner
First win for MC38 owner at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week At the 30th anniversary of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, Sydney based MC38 skipper Chris Hancock has won his first sailing regatta as an owner
Posted on 25 Aug 2013
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Peak performances
Peak performances at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2013 will be remembered as one for the light air specialists. All states of Australia plus the ACT and many overseas countries were represented among the 157 entries and near 2,000 sailors who made the pilgrimage to the Whitsundays to be part of 30 years of yachting history.
Posted on 25 Aug 2013
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Full Series Scores
Full Series Scores for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2013. Full Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2013 Series Scores for IRC Racing, IRC Passage Div 1, IRC Passage Div 2, Performance Racing Div 1, Performance Racing Div 2, Cruising Div 1, Cruising Div 2, Cruising Div 3, Non Spinnaker Div 1, Non Spinnaker Div 2, First Fleet, McConaghy MC38 and Multi-Hulls.
Posted on 25 Aug 2013
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Full results for day 6
Full results from day six at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2013. Full results from day six at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2013 for IRC Racing, IRC Passage Div 1, IRC Passage Div 2, Performance Racing Div 1, Performance Racing Div 2, Cruising Div 1, Cruising Div 2, Cruising Div 3, Non Spinnaker Div 1, Non Spinnaker Div 2, First Fleet, McConaghy MC38 and Multi-Hulls.
Posted on 25 Aug 2013
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Of Hooligans and trifectas
At Hamilton Island Race Week, Marcus Blackmore’s TP52 Hooligan trumped the IRC Racing division with one day to spare. At Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, Marcus Blackmore’s Sydney based TP52 Hooligan trumped the IRC Racing division with one day to spare, earning yet another championship trophy and taking out a trifecta of overall wins at Hamilton Island.
Posted on 24 Aug 2013
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Multitude of reasons to attend
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is constantly adapting and reshaping as sailing trends change. Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is constantly adapting and reshaping as sailing trends change. This year it is celebrating 30 years of being a keystone sailing calendar event in Australia. This year saw the introduction of two new divisions, the lightning quick MC38s racing in one-design format and the fledgling Multihull Division, which has huge potential for growth.
Posted on 24 Aug 2013