'Maxi Ragamuffin sailing on Sydney Harbour'
The three-time Sydney Hobart line honours winner Maxi Ragamuffin will return to yacht racing when she contests Tasmania’s iconic Bruny Island Race next Saturday, 8 February and also race in the Royal Hobart Regatta harbour race the following Monday, Regatta Day, 10 February.
Maxi Ragamuffin is now owned by the Tasmania’s Nant Distilling Company, and will be entered in this year’s 70th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
The 77-footer is enjoying a short stay in Hobart before making her way back north to compete in the Brisbane to Gladstone Race, Hamilton Island Race Week and return to work in the Whitsunday Islands as a luxury charter yacht.
Skipper Mark Moore believes it must be at least 20 years since Maxi Ragamuffin last contested a major yacht race, the yacht having been based in the Whitsundays of Far North Queensland for many years and use for charter work.
He has enlisted Hobart yachtsman Tom Pilkington to provide local knowledge during the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania’s 89 nautical mile Veola Bruny Island Race which takes the fleet on an inshore/offshore circumnavigation of the elongated island south of Hobart.
Maxi Ragamuffin was a state-of-the-art Frers design when launched in 1979 for Sydney yachtsman John Kahlbetzer and named Bumblebee IV. She started her racing life with line honours in the 1979 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Bought by ocean racing legend Syd Fischer, the maxi was re-named Ragamuffin, winning such classics as the inaugural Hamilton Island Race Week in 1984 and taking line honours in the Sydney Hobart again in 1988 and 1990. She also finished second across the line in 1986 and twice third, 1985 and 1989.
After winning the 1993 Sydney Mooloolaba Race, she was converted into a day charter yacht, based in the Whitsundays.
Nant Whisky bought Maxi Ragamuffin late last year, opening up a new chapter in her colourful life, refurbishing the 77-footer as a luxury charter yacht but also using her to promote the internationally-regarded single malt whisky made in the Tasmanian Highlands.
Maxi Rags will set sail from Hobart on Sunday, 16 February with a barrel of Nant Whisky on board, arriving at Melbourne to officially open the new Nant Whisky Bar in Drivers Lane on Wednesday, 19 February.
The 88th Veola Bruny Island Race will start off Hobart’s Regatta Grounds at 9.30am next Saturday, 8 February, with the Combined Clubs Harbour Series race starting in the same area south of the Tasman Bridge at 1.30pm on Monday, 10 February.
by Peter Campbell
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11:46 PM Fri 31 Jan 2014GMT
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