Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Isotak Ocean

Salvaged at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week

by Laura McKee on 27 Aug 2013
John Brand on Star Ferry. Laura McKee
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.

The 39-foot, white fibre glass yacht was safely moored at the Burnett River in January before all hell broke loose. Brand, who has lived 20km out of Bundaberg for 25 years, received a call from a friend that Saturday evening with news that the weather was ‘pretty serious’.

By midnight, the marina had swept away and was smashing into the boats, the vicious current taking Star Ferry along with it.

'It got caught up in some trees, in fact the tree is what actually held it up,' recalled Brand.'It didn’t sink, but ended up in the middle of the paddock; it was pretty intense, there was a lot of damage done.'

While the storm raged, Brand desperately tried to reach Bundaberg but the river level had risen dramatically, preventing him from seeing his 34-year-old boat for eight days.

'I was getting text messages, other people saw what had happened.'

'The day I could finally get to Bundaberg a friend rang me and said ‘mate, the boat’s gone,’' Brand explained, choking back tears.

'I couldn’t tell you how upset I was. The guy who was with me said he’s never heard me so quiet. An hour and a half later we found Star Ferry still in the same spot, I was pretty happy about that.'

Returning to Hamilton Island for her eighth Race Week, Star Ferry is still sporting battle wounds and isn’t the prettiest boat on the marina. Brand says she’s a work in progress.

'I had various people repairing it and she still has to be repainted. It’s well scarred, looking pretty horrible at the moment, but it will look fine in another six months,' he added.

The Bundaberg Sailing Club member purchased Star Ferry in the mid ‘90s after it was transported to Sydney from Italy in the 80s. The 50-year-old believes the boat had done three or four Sydney Hobart races before he took over the reigns.

Brand’s love of boats began when he was a 13-year-old, this passion seeing him contest various other regattas before Audi Hamilton Island Race Week caught his eye in 2003, the year the Oatley family became custodians of Hamilton Island.

'The way the Oatleys host Race Week is just fantastic. Others I know who have done lots of other regattas around the place say this is the best one they’ve ever come to,' he said.

Brand is looking to beat his rival Peter Cox, the skipper of Valhalla, which is currently sitting in fifth spot in Non-spinnaker division 2.

'The challenge has been going on for eight years now. Peter won it one year, I won it the next, so it’s good fun,' he said.

'I’ll do the regatta every year until I die,' he laughed, now looking forward to good times ahead.

Related Articles

Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Will NZ's most successful Olympic Sailing event cop the Selection axe?
New Zealand qualified in all ten of the 2016 Olympic events at the first round of Qualifying in Santander Spain New Zealand qualified in all ten of the 2016 Olympic events at the first round of Qualifying in Santander Spain in September 2014. In two of those the RS:X Windsurfing event, New Zealand is unlikely to be represented in the Men's event, and in the Women's event, Natalia Kosinska would appear to be a borderline selection.
Posted on 2 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
Kosinska to hit out against the Hyeres heavy metal in 2016 Olympic bid
Natalia Kosinska (NZL) will face a star-studded field in the Womens RS:X event at Hyeres later this week. 2016 Olympic aspirant, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) will face a star-studded field in the Womens RS:X event at the third round of the Sailing World Cup Hyeres.
Posted on 26 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Rio2016 - Winther hits ball firmly into Olympic selectors' court
2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has made a strong bid for inclusion in the 2016 NZ Olympic Sailing Team 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has made a strong bid for inclusion in the 2016 NZ Olympic Sailing Team finishing 11th in the 2016 Laser Radial World Championships in Mexico. Running a self-funded campaign which took in the Princesca Sofia Regatta in Palma, Spain followed by the World Championship on Banderas Bay, Mexico, Winther placed 11th overall and 10th country.
Posted on 21 Apr
Thou doth protest too much, me thinks
And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen about now. At any rate, it is simply an adaptation of Lady Gertrude’s original line. We merely seek to use it as a way to demonstrate that when there is a lot of brouhaha going on, the smoke screen ultimately ends up as a lovely, colourful flag as to the real intent behind it.
Posted on 18 Apr
Sailing World Cup Hyeres - Kosinska flies out in RS-X Olympic bid
Women's RS:X Windsurfer sailor, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) flew out of Auckland today for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres Women's RS:X Windsurfer sailor, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) flew out of Auckland today for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres, in her final attempt to gain NZ Olympic selection. Kosinska has been training in her own program in New Zealand with the 2015 Women's World Champion, Chen Peina (CHN) in the RS:X Windsurfer, and Zhichao Zhang the Men's #4 at the 2015 Worlds in Oman
Posted on 18 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther makes top three in final Qualifying race
2012 Olympic Representative, Sara Winther continues to improve at the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds 2012 Olympic Representative, Sara Winther continues to improve at the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds and has moved up the leaderboard to be in 12th place at the end of the shortened Qualifying Round. She placed third in the only race sailed today and continues to improve as the regatta progresses, and her confidence builds.
Posted on 18 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther scores three single digit places - Day 3
New Zealand 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has advanced three places up the points table New Zealand 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has advanced three places up the points table at the 2016 Laser radial Worlds being sailed in Mexico. She now lies in 15th place overall after three days of racing. She achieved single digit scores in the three races sailed today, despite hitting marks in two races and having to perform penalty turns.
Posted on 17 Apr
Pantaenius - Worldwide SupportGAC Pindar Superyacht ServicesNorth Technology - Southern Spars