South Australian Geoff Boettcher after some serious campaigning won the prestigious Tattersall’s Cup, the overall Rolex Sydney to Hobart 2010 crown, with his Hart Marine built Reichel Pugh 52 Secret Men’s Business 3.5.
But now the Hobart winning boat is on the market as the veteran offshore racer looks at new playing fields.
Sail-World interviewed the still smiling Hobart winner at Audi Victoria Week.
Our question to Geoff was ‘Where to from here?’
Boettcher responded. ‘Winning the Hobart race was fantastic and we were just blown out of the water. I am not saying we didn’t deserve it; we worked very hard. There was a lot of preparation, we had the right guys on board, the boat was very good and we found that element of luck that has always eluded us in the past.
‘While the media focussed on my 22 Hobarts, you have to remember about 15 of them were sitting on the rail, being navigated etc on other peoples boats.
‘It is only since ‘94 I have put my own boats together and it’s probably only the last seven years we have really seriously had a go at the Hobart.’
Without a lot of luck in the early years, Boettcher seemed to be (at one time) in the running to be the Mayor of Eden (he stopped there so often in the early days his crew reckoned he must have owned the town).
After the Murray 43 Secret Men’s Business and the loud green crew shirts, along came the Riechel Pugh 49, Secret Men’s Business 2.0.
Not a lot of luck there as she was badly damaged in a major collision in the pre-start of Race 1 at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in 2008. On the way south the truck carrying the boat and mast was involved in an accident and the mast and rigging was written off.
Not discouraged, Boettcher commissioned the Reichel Pugh 49 footer Secret Men’s Business 3.0. But he was not happy with her speed at Hamilton Island in 2009.
Back into the Hart Marine yard she went and a new hull emerged, a little longer and a lot faster. Now 3.5, her speed was confirmed when she won the 2010 Audi Victoria Week IRC division. From there things just kept getting better.
The Adelaide veteran explained. ‘One of the real secrets for us in winning our highly competitive Hobart division, which contains a host of 50-65 footers, and the overall IRC handicap was the strength of the boat.
‘We’ve been working very hard over the last year bringing the boat right up to the pace, we had speed and we had a boat very much built for tough southern ocean conditions.
‘When we had heavy conditions on the second night (of the Hobart), we were able to make big gains because we were able to keep the pedal hard to the floor.
‘Our emphasis has always been on strong boats. Across the years we’ve done a lot of sea miles, campaigning from Adelaide to Hamilton Island and Hobart. That’s meant we start with a base of around 10,000 nautical miles on-water (minimum) a year, just doing regattas. That is a big effort, not only financially but also man power wise. And that is more important than anything so now it’s time I was a little easier on my great crew .
‘But the exciting thing is that there are lots of other challenges on the world scene.
‘So I am putting Secret Men’s Business 3.5 on the market. Yes there could be a new boat build in the wind … happy to do a back trade on a Farr 40 or a Sydney 38 so we have something to sail while things develop. I am happy to talk about that scenario.
‘But right now we are focussing on this season.
‘We very much enjoyed Audi Victoria Week. Geelong is always one of the better the events. It’s almost as good as Port Lincoln - Lincoln is the best regatta.
‘From Adelaide to Port Lincoln is about 190 nautical miles. So it is an overnight race and we get in at four in the morning and the girls are there with a couple of drinks for us - it is just a great regatta.
‘You pull the boat right up at the front of the tavern, which becomes the club. There’s crayfish given away each night and you walk about 20 yards to your accommodation. It is just a fantastic atmosphere’ smiled Boettcher.
‘Secret Men’s Business 3.5 currently holds the Adelaide to Port Lincoln race record; we took that from Grant Wharington’s Wild Thing a few years ago.
‘And this year we are going to have the TP52 Calm, the Red Boat, Rob Date’s RP52 Scarlet Runner and Shamrock (the rejuvenated SMB 2.0) racing against us.’
‘After that – well we shall see.’