The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is organised by Cruising Yacht Club of Australia with the co-operation of Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. The number of Tasmanian entries may be down in this year’s Race (there are four if the NSW-chartered Helsal 3 is included), but they embody both the Corinthian spirit of ocean racing and the original culture of the race.
The Tasmanian tradition in the Rolex Sydney Hobart invariably has been to prepare well-founded, ocean-going yachts that are built to withstand the blows of the Roaring Forties and to provide most of the comforts of home at the same time. Frequent former Sydney-Hobart entrants such as Balandra and Mirrabooka fit that bill.
This year Mike Crew continues the tradition. His 68-foot Magic Miles from the Bellerive Yacht Club on Hobart’s Eastern Shore is the sort of boat you want to don the wet weather for.
Mike is a Qantas Boeing 767 captain. It’s not uncommon for pilots, with their professional interest in aerodynamics, navigation and the weather, to spend much of their down time on the water.
Having tasted some success in this year’s Australian Three Peaks Race, Crew’s crew are going to tackle the Rolex Sydney Hobart. Alas, Magic Miles is no contender for line honours.
'Magic Miles is a Dynamique 62 built in 1985. It underwent a major overhaul and refit to be a luxury cruiser,' Crew says.
'She's got more contraptions on board than my house, including a coffee machine, ice-maker, dishwasher, Foxtel, washing machine, dryer, aircon, water-maker, fridge and freezer.
'She was always a big, heavy boat and is now heavier with the refit, about 30 tonnes.
'Our motto is, ‘we may not be the fastest boat in the fleet, but we are definitely the safest’.'
His wife Mala’s Theatre Royal Hotel is a sponsor. Those aboard include local distillery owners Bill Lark and Patrick Maguire and Tasmanian ABC television newsreader Peter Gee.
'We are not concerned about other boats in the race other than getting out of Sydney Heads,' Crew says.
'We hope to finish safely with all well, prior to New Year’s Eve.'
NSW yachtsman Paul Mara has chartered Rob Fisher’s Tasmanian Helsal 3, which is the former Arthur Bloore Adams 20 The Office, which the Fisher family has bought, sold and bought back over the years. It now features a fixed keel and other updates from the drawing board of Hobart designer Fred Barrett.
The two other Tasmanian entries in this year’s race are Tony Williams’ IMX 38 Martela, which is also from the Bellerive Yacht club, and Wayne Williams’ Pawtucket 35 Quiros. Event website